Do you recognize this little prince? CBS Minnesota reveals 1970 interview with music icon aged 11

Deep within the video archives of CBS Minnesota lay footage that would prove iconic — once it was unearthed 52 years after it was shot. WCCO covered the Minnesota Public School teachers’ strike in 1970, and a reporter interviewed children while teachers picketed. One of these kids might look familiar to you — because they’ve grown into a music legend.

WCCO Executive Producer Matt Liddy found out about the restored footage and decided to show it. “I grew up in Minneapolis, so all I was interested in was looking at cool old buildings from where I grew up. Did I recognize my old school? Did I recognize any sights?” said Liddy.

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The boy in the 1970 archive footage appeared to be 10 years old and appeared to be none other than Prince Nelson. WCCO launched an investigation to find out.

WCCO


What he saw was a little Prince Rogers Nelson. “I immediately went to the editorial office and started showing it to people and saying, ‘I’m not going to tell you who I think this is, but who do you think this is?’ And every single person [said] ‘Prince,'” said Liddy.

After the audio was fixed, the WCCO team was able to hear the boy speak after being asked about the teachers’ strike. “I think they should get a better education too because, um, and I think they should get some more money because they work, they work overtime for us and all that stuff,” he said.

Appearing to be 10 years old, he appeared to be none other than the famous musician who later became known by just his first name. But the reporter did not ask the boy his name on camera. “We didn’t get him to say, ‘I’m Prince Nelson,'” Liddy said.

WCCO began investigating. They found Prince’s fifth grade photo on the internet. He looked similar to the boy in the video, but the news crew brought in professional historian and archaeologist Kristen Zschomler, who is also a fan of the music icon.

“They called him Skipper,” she said. “I have written a large document detailing his historic journey from the Northside of Minneapolis to Paisley Park and into the world.” Zsschomler’s document is more than 100 pages long.

While videos of Prince as a teenager are hard to find, Zschomler said that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. As she watched the old WCCO video, she gasped.

“I think he is, definitely. Oh my God. Yes, I think that’s definitely Prince,” said Zschomler. “This definitely looks like Lincoln Junior High School, where he would have gone to school in April 1970.”

Zschomler had a picture of sixth grade Prince that matched the boy in the video.

While she said that the boy’s “mannerisms and his eyes and everything” looked like the artist we know as Prince, an old childhood friend was called in to corroborate.

“We go way back as a kindergarten at John Hay Elementary in north Minneapolis,” said Terrance Jackson, Prince’s former neighbor and bandmate. He glanced at the old recordings.

“Oh my god, this is Kitchen,” Jackson exclaimed, recognizing Ronnie Kitchen, another boy interviewed in 1970. “This is Prince! Stand up right there with the hat, right? This is Skipper! Oh my God!”

WCCO says Jackson was dizzy from laughing, then cried. “I’m blown away. I’m totally blown away,” he said.

His wife Rhoda, who grew up with them, also recognized the 11-year-old boy as a prince. “It’s just amazing to see him, so small, so young, and to hear his voice,” Rhoda said.

Jackson said at that age Prince “was already phenomenal at playing the guitar and keys.” “This is Prince, aka Skipper to the Northside,” Jackson said.

Prince wrote and recorded hits like “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” and has been nominated for 38 Grammys – winning seven. Even as his fame skyrocketed, Prince remained loyal to the Twin Cities and created a compound, Paisley Park, that served as his home and studio in Minnesota.

prince died in Paisley Park 2016 at the age of 57.

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