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    Prince Has More Than 2,000 Unreleased Songs In A Vault Under His Studio

    That's more than an album a year, for the next 100 years.

    A new BBC documentary claims that Prince has recorded at least 2,000 songs that have never been heard by the general public.

    Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

    They're believed to be stored in a vault under Paisley Park Studios, his recording complex. The claim is made in Hunting For Prince's Vault, a documentary airing on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday morning.

    The documentary is presented by BBC journalist and lifelong Prince fan Mobeen Azhar.

    Mobeen Azhar / BBC

    Azhar wanted to investigate the legend that Prince has enough unreleased music to put out an album a year for the next century.

    Mobeen Azhar / BBC

    In the course of the documentary, he interviews a number of Prince's collaborators, including Hans Martin-Buff and Susan Rogers, his sound engineers for many years. He also speaks to Prince's drummer, Michael Bland (pictured above).

    All testify to His Purple Majesty's incredible productivity, which he has likened to a "curse". Azhar claims Prince records something every day.

    Rogers tells Azhar that some of these songs will never be heard. She mentions one "beautiful" song:

    The background vocal arrangements, the expression of it was just gorgeous. Of course he played all the instruments. We finished recording the song and then Prince said to me, "Erase it."' He said it very calmly. I could feel the fan in me screaming "No!"

    I said, "Think about it. Wait til tomorrow at least." He reached over and hit Record. He erased it. It was gone.

    Another of Prince's collaborators, composer Brent Fischer, told Azhar that "over 70% of the music we've worked on...has yet to be released".

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    And yet in spite of this, Prince has still released roughly an album a year throughout his career.

    Some music has, of course, made it out of the vault, featuring on a host of bootleg albums. Prince's former manager suggested to Azhar that some of the leaks may even have been deliberate.

    Azhar told BuzzFeed News:

    The thing that really strikes me is the number (at least 2,000 tracks) but also that many Prince associates told us that Prince thinks about the future a lot. He believes "future generations" will listen to his new releases. So the question as I see it, is not "When will the vault open?" but more "Will we be alive long enough to hear it?"

    Those in the UK can listen to Hunting for Prince's Vault on BBC Radio 4 at 10.30am on Saturday 21 March – or on the iPlayer. There's also a longer version on BBC World Service from 8.05pm, which will be available on the World Service website.

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