Behind the Scenes with Jason Tenner from Purple Reign

Purple Reign: The Prince Tribute Show! comes to Worcester on Saturday, May 18. We spoke with the show’s lead singer, Jason Tenner. Read on for highlights from the interview or listen to the full interview below. Don’t forget to tune in to WCRN Radio 830 AM Saturdays at 1 pm for more behind-the-scenes interviews.

Lisa: Prince was one of my all-time favorite artists, and you must feel the same way.

Jason: I didn’t start out as a Prince fan. I didn’t know much about him. I had seen the film “Purple Rain.” In 1996, I went out dressed as Prince for Halloween. I went to a party in Las Vegas. I was already in a band, was already a working musician. A guy said, “You look a lot like Prince. You should add some Prince songs to the show.” We did. Those became some of the most popular songs. From that point I really dug into the catalogue and started becoming a fan. He’s one of my all-time favorite artists.

Lisa: He’s such an interesting character. What did you discover about him?

Jason: Just how prolific he was. He had played everything on those earlier albums and produced them at such an early age. That really inspired me. As an artist, he is really a one-man show.

Lisa: And very edgy. He was the “naughty” artist to listen to. What are your top three songs to listen to and perform?

Jason: To listen to, “Crystal Ball.” It’s way out and musically, really cool. I like the entire “Gold Experience” album. To perform, anything I get to play, especially guitar.

Lisa: How did you start in the music industry?

Jason: When I was a kid, I wanted to be on stage. I started pretending to play guitar for my neighbor when I was about 12. I was in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir when I was in Indiana. When I was 11, I sang for “The Nutcracker” at Butler University. I got vocal training there. I was a high soprano. I did the Sugarplum Fairy song. My voice started to change. I wanted to be a rock star.

Lisa: Somebody told me that everyone becomes a rock star for the girls.

Jason: When you’re a kid, for sure, that’s the motivation. I just love music. It feels great to be up on stage and put forth what we’ve worked so hard on for so long.

Lisa: Purple Reign is the world’s number one Prince Tribute Show. You’ve been wowing Las Vegas audiences for over 20 years. What are the differences between playing Las Vegas and touring the country?

Jason: In Vegas we keep the show short and we truncate most of the songs. We tend to be a little more risqué with the costumes. We definitely keep it an 18+ show. In the concert shows, we play the full length version of the songs, sometimes extended versions. We take more time with the crowd. There are much larger audiences on the road. It’s more of a concert.

Lisa: The show is recommended for ages 13 and over. Not as naughty as Vegas.

Jason: We clean up our choreography. Definitely PG-13! Come on out and let’s go crazy!