SIGN O' THE TIMES
I'd never heard the story of what the song was about before (you can read that here at The Guardian) but right at the end of the piece, there's a quote from his sound engineer, Susan Rogers, who says this about him:
"He realised he had to socially handicap himself to be the artist he wanted to be, and that to do that without being an asshole he had to be a complete enigma"
While I don't have the inclination to be anything like a total enigma, this rang with me. Any creative field at its core has to be about doing whatever you want to do (or not as the case may be) and at the extreme end of that is accepting responsibility for failure as well as success... but you can only do that inside your own head. The only way to be authentically creative is to ignore both praise and criticism and keep working. Your only role in the grand stage-play that is your life is to produce the work regardless.
And if there comes a day when The Angels are too busy looking after some other shit to fill your being with inspiration, so be that too.
I guess the hard part of being fiercely independent is making the money part work for you... then again, as Prince said of the whole affair regarding the dirty stuff:
"Money?! It’s not about money!"
Because when it does start to become about money, you're screwed. You're better off working in a petrol station and writing/recording/drawing whatever the hell you like than you are being at the beck and call of a 'company' whose very existence relies on whether you're commercially viable or not.
You can learn a lot from Prince - particularly about how to write good songs.