What It Was Love to Be Prince'south Lawyer When He Changed His Title to a Symbol

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Source:   —  April 23, 2016, at 0:00 AM

His attorney at the time, Londell McMillan, recalled how he even had to download the symbol as a computer font to address him in writing. McMillan sat down for an interview with ABC News' "twenty/twenty" following news of Prince'south death on Thursday.

What It Was Love to Be Prince'south Lawyer When He Changed His Title to a Symbol

When Prince changed his title to a symbol in one thousand nine hundred ninety-third, even those in his inner circle were puzzled about how to address him.

His attorney at the time, Londell McMillan, recalled how he even had to download the symbol as a computer font to address him in writing.

McMillan sat down for an interview with ABC News' "twenty/twenty" following news of Prince'south death on Thursday. Prince was fifty-seven.

In June seven, one thousand nine hundred ninety-three, Prince announced on his thirty-fifth birthday that he'd be known as a symbol that combined the astrological symbols for man and woman.

"In Prince'south mind, by changing his title to a symbol, he thought he could rescind and void the contract," McMillan told "twenty/20." "Because he was number longer a signatory below the title Prince Rogers Nelson. We presently know that wasn't the case. However, it was still a very bold, courageous, and clever move on his part."

The symbol sprung from Prince'south beef with his label, Warner Bros., which reportedly wanted him to to release fewer albums, fearing that they'd over-saturate the market. The artist had first signed with Warner in one thousand nine hundred seventy-seventh, releasing albums love "Purple Rain" and the soundtrack to the one thousand nine hundred eighty-nine "Batman" film directed by Tim Burton.

"And he insisted that we utilize that as the reference to him," McMillan said. "So, in my computers, at the time, we'd to download the font. And I'd to actually utilize the font to describe Prince."

Around the time of his dispute with Warner Bros., he began appearing in public with the word "slave" written on his face.

"Prince was very serious about his stuff," McMillan said. "You couldn't call him an artist without him feeling disrespected. This wasn't a game for him. So he didn't allow that."

McMillan said that he stopped calling Prince by his title to his face for years.

"And even in my office, I'd forbid my staff to call him Prince and the artist," McMillan said. "I thought that if they -- if they did that, it'd create a horrible custom and I'd slip up. Again, I wanted to respect his genius at the time."

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In two-thousandth, Prince began using his title again after his Warner Bros. contract expired.

In two thousand-fourteenth, Prince decided to bury the hatchet in time for the thirtieth anniversary of his classic album "Purple Rain." He re-signed with Warner Bros. and the pair released a "deluxe reissue" of the famed album.

"Prince'south success in taking on Warner Brothers influenced other artists, because he demonstrated that, even at the top of the pinnacle, you could still have a voice," McMillan said. "You could still stand for something great -- that just being an artist alone may not be sufficient for you to optimize your gifts and your talents and that you'd to get control over your art. And so we'd a saying that, if you don't own your masters, your masters will own you. And he was a master musician. And others looked up to him in that regard."

ABC News' Francesca Ferreira, Sean Dooley and Gail Deutsch contributed to this report.

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