CBS’ new concert special Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince is hosted by Maya Rudolph. People may not know that she is a massive Prince fan. In fact, she’s such a huge fan that she formed a Prince cover band called “Princess” with her friend Gretchen Lieberum and they performed for the CBS tribute concert. Here’s what you need to know about their band and their mutual love of Prince and his music.
Maya and Gretchen Are Friends From College
Rudolph and Lieberum have been friends for nearly 30 years. They met when they were both attending the University of California, Santa Cruz in the early 1990s, according to a profile on The Cut. The first band they co-founded was SuperSauce, “a nine-person group that performed original funk, disco, and soul songs.”
They may have started off playing parties, but the band later opened for No Doubt when the Gwen Stefani-led group played a concert in Santa Cruz. But the women especially bonded over their mutual love of Prince. They even had the same poster of him hanging on their wall as teenagers.
“I had the Parade poster on my wall with him, like, peeling his tank top off with his armpit hair, and my Jewish grandma was like, ‘He looks like a girl, honey,’” Rudolph told The Cut. “First it was just the music [I loved], and then I wanted to bone him hard.”
Lieberum, who is a professional jazz vocalist, added, “There’s definitely two camps: the people that want to bone him, and the people that are like, ‘What?!’”
In a 2016 interview, they both also told the Washington Post when they first became Prince fans. For Lieberum, it was when she was a kid and “When Doves Cry” came on the radio.
“My mom had gone grocery shopping and left me in the car — because it was the ’80s and moms did that then — and it came on the radio and I was mesmerized by it. I’d never heard anything like it. There’s not many songs where I can remember the first time I heard them, but that was one of them for sure. And then I got [Purple Rain] and became obsessed with the album, and the movie just destroyed my little brain,” said Lieberum.
Rudolph added that Prince’s music was in her house “pretty early on” because of one of her older cousins — and she didn’t realize what most of his lyrics meant until she got much older.
Princess Formed in 2011
In 2011, Rudolph and Lieberum formed Princess, which they call a “celebration” of Prince’s music. They told The Cut they would have stopped playing immediately if they heard Prince wasn’t in favor of their band, but he actually once saw them after a concert and told them he had their 2012 Tonight Show performance saved on his DVR.
Four years ago, the band appeared on The Tonight Show again to perform a tribute to Prince after his untimely death in April 2016. They sang an emotional version of “Sometimes It Snows in April” with D’Angelo, who broke down in the middle of the performance.
Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince airs Tuesday, April 21 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.