Welcome to The Real Juggle Podcast!
Aug. 18, 2022

Doug E Fresh! shares his JUGGLE with Jackie P Taylor


Jackie P Taylor talks to Doug E Fresh.  Following his own self-care--a five mile run, Doug makes the time to chat with Jackie about juggling life while taking care  of self.

You know him as an amazing entertainer...a legend!  Did you know he was also primary caretaker for his aging mom WHILE on a world tour?  Did you know he is the father of young men IN ADDITION to being an entrepreneur and philanthropist? 

Doug shares with us how he got himself through one of the lowest points in his life and how he measures the 'greatest good' to make important decisions.

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Transcript

Jackie P Taylor:

This week, folks, I have the honor and the privilege of interviewing Doug E. Fresh. Like I said, I can't even say that without doing a little dance or a little jig. But this weekend week, we have the honor and privilege. Thank you so much, Dougie, for joining us.

 

Doug E Fresh:

It is my privilege, it's an honor to do this with you. And like I said, it's good to put the faith and the spirit together.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

It's nice everything happens in due time and happens the way it's supposed to happen. So I'm going to take advantage of this time that we have with you. As you know, when we start out our podcast, we talk about your juggle. And so I want to ask you, so you can share with us, what is your juggle?

 

Doug E Fresh:

Well, my juggle, after you cleared that up for me, is in a lot of ways, creating a flow between everything that I know I'm supposed to do and the things that I want to do for other people, right, for other people. A lot of the times. But I said something which is called, I usually do is best for the greatest good. And that normally means that the priority will be that whatever it is will be the number one thing. For example. What I was about to say. If my son's birthday was today and I needed to do a show on the same day. And the show was going to give me the ability to buy him a birthday present. Buy him clothes. Go and pay the rent. Deal with the lights. Deal with all of this. It might be a disappointment to him. But I. Um. Will go and do that show. The reason why is because I know that money is necessary. Now, if I'm financially well off and I gave a commitment to someone saying that I'm going to do that show, I would still do it because my word means a lot to me. Now, if I didn't have a show that day and I was not financially stable, I would still be with him. If I was financially stable, I would still be with him because I made that commitment. Now, the last example is, say somebody, uh, called me for a show and I said that I was going to be with him for his birthday. I would not do that show and be with him on his birthday because I gave my word. Now, to me, my word means a lot. Now, I might discuss it with them and say, hey, if I do this show, I can do this, and I'll buy you that. I think it'll be better for you, blah, blah, blah. And I let him sit there and reason it out in his head because it might be something special for him. I gave you all these different scenarios to make a point that the balance is trying to be struck between something that you have to do and something that you want to do. So there's always going to be this total war between two things. When my mother was sick and I had to do shows, I made sure that I took care of my mother because that was the priority. My mother had Alzheimer's, so I had to make sure she was good. But I didn't have no financial situation where when I had to take caregivers and stuff like that, I had to pay, uh, for that, I had to pay for the kids.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

I realized that you have to literally juggle your parents. So why don't we back up a little bit and share a little bit? Folks don't know that they see you. They see you dancing, they see you performing, making people happy.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Um.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Talk a little bit around that time period when you were caring for your mom.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Well, when I was caring for my mother, I was on tour, so I had to buy a custom van to take my mother with me, because I know it was important for somebody to be there for her, because when the person I've also don't really know what they're doing. They think they're doing the right thing, but they may not be. So I thought it was important for me to keep her with me and keep a team around me so that I could make her feel like she was doing the right thing while I was protecting her and while I was making sure that I was still able to stick to my commitment, one day I was performing that in an arena, sold out 10,000 people. My mother walked on stage and nobody could get her off. So I had to perform through the whole show with my mother on the stage and act like this was a part of the show and nobody knew. It wasn't in the way that I dealt with my mother, but my mother was just in a space where she didn't know and she was connected to me. And I knew that it was important for me to create the balance. So when we talk about juggle again, it's about balance. You know what I mean? It's about balance. And it's about taking a minute and taking a breath and really think about what is best for the greatest good. Let me tell you the last thing that's interesting. Yesterday, somebody stole my bike, right?

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Just yesterday, somebody wow.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Crazy. I'm at Harlem Hospital. I'm going in there to go and get a PCR test, because I just did the Essence Festival. 80,000 people, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people. So I said, Let me get a PCR test, make sure everything is good, right? So I went to go do it. Long story short, I leave the bike right by the front door. One of the people who run Harlem Hospital came down to see me. He said, hey, is your bike good there? I said, yeah, I left it there. Before. I said, I'll be right back.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

So you didn't lock it up and left it right in front of the hospital?

 

Doug E Fresh:

I left it there, but I had a lock on it. But my lock is in my other house in Florida. Being in the Key is so now what happened? I came out, bike was gone. I walked outside. I said, Yo, somebody rode the bike down the street over here. So I go take off, right? Getting ready to find the student took the bite. So in my mind, while I'm going to do this, I'm deciding how I'm going to deal with the situation when I see him. Uh, right. So what I did, uh, was I was looking, I couldn't find them. So we went the, uh, video cameras, seeing who he is, and they're going to see, uh, if they can find him or if he's around the area. Right. And I thought about it later, and I said that me running after him was an emotional reaction. It wasn't a wise decision. And then as I walked down the block, I stopped because I said, I might have to hurt this dude, but he may have something to hurt me. Or is any of this worth the bike situation?

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Yeah.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Right. So now look at this now. So now I got to say, what is best for the greatest good? Is it better for me to let the bike go, or is it better for me to chase this guy and try to find the bike and me not knowing what it is? Now, um, I take care of a lot of people, hundreds of people. So people eat through me. So something happened to me. I twist my ankle. Anything that stopped, maybe 15 shows, which affects probably 30 families. Right. And now this bike this bike wasn't even really so significant to the degree that I have some emotional attachment. So I'm sharing this story to make the point that sometimes you have to take a deep breath, and before you react emotionally, you have to think about it. So when I thought about it, I said, I got to take full responsibility that my bike got taken. Number one, I left it there. Number two, I thought this guy was going to look after it. Number three. I left the key in Florida. Number four, I could have bought a new lock and put a new lock on the bike while I was riding around. Number five is that I could have paid somebody $5 or $10, just stand there and watch the bike. So I started going through all of these different perspectives on what I could have done. And when I thought about it, it made me sit back and say, okay, hey, I'm really not mad about this thing because I am the reason that this situation happened. So when you learn how to take responsibility for your actions, a lot of things go away because you're not blaming nobody. You're not the victim. And when you're the victim, you cannot change nothing. Victims don't do nothing but cry and sit on the side and wait for the hero to come along. The person who's taking responsibility is having the ability to respond.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

So you thought about that after, though. So you already had run after the guy, and then you kind of stopped in your tracks kind of thing.

 

Doug E Fresh:

I stopped in my tracks, and I thought about it, and I had to evaluate it. But all of us at different moments in our lives, get caught up in an emotional decision. You may say something to your mother, and you shouldn't have. We might do something to your kids and you shouldn't have. And then when you sit back and reflect, you say, okay, well, what could I have done that would have been that's for the greatest good? Should I have done this or done that? So if you take that time, if you take that breath, that breath of just going, let me think about this, and instead of letting me emotion take you over, because emotions is nothing but energy and motion. You see what I'm saying? You have nothing, um, but regret. Yeah, you have nothing but regret. Now, I'm not saying that you're sitting there and pondering and wasting time. I'm saying that you sit there, you think it through, you make a decision, and you made the best decision under the circumstances that you were dealing with.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Based on what you knew at the time. So when you think about the time because there are a number of people with this sandwich generation who are not only taking care of their children, but also taking care of their parents at different varied degrees of life, health. And so one of the most important things is building a support system. And I think you could be a really good example, because, number one, super visible, right? So what you're going through is visible to a larger group of people. But how did you set yourself up? In addition to folks that you hired? What about soliciting other family members? How did you manage that?

 

Doug E Fresh:

Well, you know, some family members, they are on like, I look at I say this too. I say everybody is in the process. Whether they want to be or not, you are in the process, okay? You're going to either take that class again, or you're going to pass that class with flying colors, or you're going to get left back or whatever the case may be. But you're in the process. So with family members, some of them may not be where I'm at in the process. Um, I may not be where some of them were. Some of them are where they may be in the process. So what I do is I allow everybody to go through their process. So instead of me judging them, I have patience with them. And, um, if I feel that they're not capable of moving at the speed that I need them to move, I go head on and I create other people. I create other situations where I can get the assistance that I need. Now, you would like to say, oh, that's my brother, that's my cousin, that's this, that's, that. But their abilities may not live up to them just being a family member. And once again, if you put them in the position to do something and you know that they're not prepared, it's an emotional decision. It's not what's best for the greatest good. It's not what would be best for everyone. You just made an emotional decision. So what I do is I deal with, um, people according to their abilities and then I watch them grow and I give them opportunity to grow. So, for example, I wanted my sons to be a part of my restaurant business, but that wasn't something that they were feeling at the time. They enjoyed eating there, they enjoyed having a good time there. But at that time, they weren't really in that mindset of wanting to deal with a restaurant. They were more career driven in another area. So I could sit back and talk about them and be mad and blame them and oh man, we could have had it. No, I can't do that. Because in the process, they was not there for a reason. And their journey may be different than mine. So the way I handle family is I allow my family's journey to be their journey and I don't sit up there and judge them. A lot of my brothers and sisters couldn't handle my mother. My mother was a lot to handle, and a lot of them didn't want to deal with that. They could not deal with the fact that my mother didn't even know who they were and my mother didn't know who I was. I could deal with it. So I was ahead of them in the process. But in another area, they may be ahead of me.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

And that so many arguments because just having that mind shift to say, listen, maybe this isn't their time or maybe this isn't their area of expertise. And allowing yourself to switch gears and say, I'm just going to focus on solution mode. I'm not going to try to make you somewhere you're not or do something you can't do. Do you know the amount of arguments and discord in families because you're trying to push somebody into a situation that you're just not equipped for, and then.

 

Doug E Fresh:

You'Re mad about it because they don't live up to what you want them to be. See? And that, in a way, is somewhat selfish because you're not allowing the person to be who they are and go through the process. Some people's process is different than your process. So for me, I allow people to go through their process. Now, there are times when I may have to disconnect. And it might seem harsh, but it's not harsh. Because at that moment, I got to do what's best for the greatest good. One day, there was a guy who was driving me to a show. He was falling asleep behind the wheel. A driver picking me up from the airport, taking me to FAM you to perform any style. I said, yo, and I was falling asleep in the back, thinking I was a passenger.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

You thought you were great, right?

 

Doug E Fresh:

And my instincts made me pop up. I say, yo, yo, yo, yo, pull over. He pulled over. He went in the store, got a Red Bull. He said, yo, man, dan, I was crazy, man. He said, well, man, I think I got it now. I'm ready. I said, Nah, bro. I said, you're not driving. He said, what do you mean? I said you're not driving. I said, Because you almost took me and you out of here. Yeah. He said, no, I got it now. I said no, you don't. I said I got it. He said, what you mean you won't drive? I said, I'm driving. I said, and if I don't drive, I'm going to call your school and I'm telling them to have somebody come and pick me up because I don't trust, uh, your driving. And he looked at me and was like, wow. And I said move over. And he said, When I get to the school, I'll let you jump back in the driver's seat and then you can rock it out from there. And he was sitting there and he was like, yo, nobody ever did anything like that to me. I did that to him because you were not capable of delivering. And for me to let you drive me and you would have killed both of us, and I would have been the fool that let you drive knowing you're tired. I wasn't tired. I was wide awake. After that happened.

 

After that, I was going to say your adrenaline starts going, man, look, I was so weak. I like this at that point. When we got to the school, I let him drive and he said, no, thank you, man. Thank you. He said I needed that. He said, I've been going hard. He said, I've been going crazy trying to do my schoolwork, trying to put on this event. They got me picking you up. They got me this, they got that. I said, bro, you can't do it all. And the rest is number one on your list that you need to get because you can't drive somebody and you're exhausted. I said, you would show him grace.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

And you showed him grace and you showed him like I'm sure that was the biggest the same way you were jolted I'm sure you doing that jolted him. So hopefully you saved your life from pushing himself for something else. So you are doing a lot of amazing things. And so while I have you. I just want to hear more about it firsthand. I see you traveling. I see your business enterprises. You're always big enough. Harlem. I saw your rooftop thing on IG. So talk to us a little bit about all the great things you're working on.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Well, I mean, the number one thing that I'm working on every day is myself. I think self awareness, self development, and self improvement is the number one thing, uh, on the list. I don't care how much you got. I don't care how many buildings you got. I don't care how rich you are. If you are financially rich and spiritually bankrupt, there's a problem. So to me, I work on balance again, to juggle again. So what I do is I spend a lot of time making sure I'm taking care of myself before I talk to you. I just ran 5 miles. I'll go and do ride my bike. I used to ride my bike until they took it out. Um, I will ride my bike through, um, Central Park, through Harlem, go take walks. I spent a lot of time just really studying and just learning physical and mental and emotional and spiritual, because that, to me, Jackie, at the end of the day, is really where the happiness lies. Because I have buildings in New York City. I have buildings in Florida. I have a farm in Costa Rica. I have all these things. But if inside my mind I'm not right, nothing's going to be right. And you've seen it. You've seen it. You witnessed it in so many ways with the different artists, the meltdowns, the breakthrough, the breakdowns that they go through, the psychological trauma, the unfortunate circumstances of our boy, um, R. Kelly, um, and a lot of what he went through emotionally, psychologically, the abuse he went through as a kid, or the Will Smith situation that occurred that shook the world, because here it is. This guy who everybody looks at on a particular day in a particular way just has something going on.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

And like you said, it was an emotional response. Your analogy earlier, perfect response, example.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Those are both my brothers, man. Love them to death. They are beautiful people, beautiful spirits. But they have issues, too.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Do, uh, we forgive each other because, to your point, when we do give ourselves a chance to step back and think things through, the outside world doesn't give us a chance to recover the way you just explained, they don't give us a chance to be forgiven. Do you feel as black men or just as people in general, that the world allows us to mess up?

 

Doug E Fresh:

I think that the world is definitely hard on us because in a lot of ways, they live through us. And when they see us, they see us as people who can't make a mistake, who don't do nothing wrong and all these different things, and it's not real. And that's why to me. You can't get caught up in what people think about you. You have to be more concerned about how you feel about yourself and where are you in the process? Because you might be a jealous guy, and you're in the process of working on your jealousy. You might be a woman that you can't control your temper, and you're working on controlling your temper now that you're aware of it. You're working on it, but before, you wasn't even aware of it. So when people are looking at you and they judging you, they don't know that you're far ahead in the process, because five years ago, you weren't even aware that you had a tempo. But now you see it, you're working on it, and you're going through the process. So I think that we've got to be more caring and more forgiving for each other, but not forgiven in a way where we're just forgiving the person and they're not taking no responsibility or doing nothing about it. Right. I think that when you do something, you have to do something about that thing that you did. Right.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Once you know about it, do better.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Right? Yeah. Like, you can't steal something from me and just say sorry and walk away. And life is just moving on. Now. You have to do some kind of what we call reconciliation. You have to do something. You have to see that there's a problem and fix it. So I do a lot of work in that area. I work with an organization, a foundation I created with a doctor named Elijah Williams for hip Hop Public health. Okay. Where we use hip hop to push health, and we use health to push hip hop from the perspective that helping people with strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, making different artists more aware of getting check ups, going to see about your prostate, going to get into colonoscopy. If you haven't noticed it, a lot of artists have been passing away way too soon with preventable issues that if.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

They had just gotten it checked out. So give an example if you're open of a time that was, like, a difficult, um, time for you, because we see you on the come up, like you're able to share your workout routine, how you deal with stress, your focus on wellness. But when was the time that you're willing to share that you were in a rut? And how did you get out of it to get to this point, getting out of that rut to a steady state?

 

Doug E Fresh:

Well, um, first thing that popped in my mind was one day me and Slick ripped separated, and we went our separate ways, and I had a show downtown in Harlem. Not in Harlem, but downtown. And when I had the show, it didn't go as good as I wanted it to go. To everybody else, they would have said it was a good show. I'm known for a great show not a good show. So good was definitely way below the number that I was looking for. So what I did is I was in a rut, and I started walking home. I told my guys with me, I said, Y'all can keep the money. They looked at me like, you crazy. I said, yeah, I don't feel that I want the money, because I don't feel like I deserve it, because I can't believe what was happening. So I walked all the way from downtown, around 14th street, all the way back up to 155th street to a place called The Rooftop. And then I was walking. And when I was walking, I was in this place where I was like, how did I let this happen? What's going on? What is this? And as I walked and as I started to kind of communicate with myself, I started to see that at that moment, I got scared. And I got scared because I thought people wasn't going to accept what I was doing without them seeing everything that they got before, because our success was so massive that it made it together. So at that point, then I said, what happened? I freeze up. To me, like I wasn't my same level of super confident. So by the time I got uptown to The Rooftop, I told the guy, Gusto, I said, hey, man, I want to perform. And I'm still the hottest guy in New York at the time. He's like, you want to perform? He said, what do you want me to do? He said, Yo, click it there. He got the stage set up. I got on. He was like, you do want anything? I said, I don't want nothing. Then I went to another spot, and I got on, um, for free. And then I wound up at this little after hour joint, and I got on. And then after it was over, uh, I said, okay, I got it now. And I got out of that rut, right? And I pulled myself out of it because I didn't like where I was at, and I had to figure it out. And sometimes it takes a minute to figure it out. Sometimes you got to read a book. Sometimes you got to talk to somebody. Sometimes you got to walk and talk to yourself. And you'll be amazed at what kind of answers you come up with. You understand? I'm telling you some real conversation. You can take a walk and just start kicking the conversation to yourself. And out of nowhere, you can't be like, wow, I didn't even look at this.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

That's why I don't watch TV. I don't really watch a lot of television. I'm deliberate. I'll watch it. Literally, I could be in the car and not turn the radio on for hours. I could be in the house, and unless it's, like, ambient, like, in the background. But you are absolutely right that time with yourself, I have so much. I'm thinking about so much going on in my mind, and it's so cathartic and therapeutic now. The only thing I can't believe is that you walk from 14th street to Harlem, and nobody stopped you, and you were able to talk to yourself all the way down.

 

Doug E Fresh:

You get good at this. So if you see there's a crowd on one side of the street and move to the other side, I see that. And then you stay all close by the side of the park, and you.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Just keep walking incognito.

 

Doug E Fresh:

There you go. All the time. That was a place for me. And this is another thing I think is important. Sometimes people make crazy decisions in confusion and confusion. Sometimes is because you got so many things going on, and you're trying to do too many things. If you do one thing, finish it, then move to the next thing. One thing, finish it, move to the next thing. That is how you control confusion. But if you're trying to do this run over here, you run over there. No, what happens is you burn yourself out, and you make yourself even more confused, and you hurt yourself in the process. So in order to control confusion, you have to take one thing, deal with that, and go to the next thing. Deal with it, close it out as much as you can. Close out, then go to the next thing, close it out next thing. But if you're trying to run over here, run over there, run there no chaos.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

But one of the things that we wrap that I got out of that anecdote that you shared about walking and then going into each, giving them a free show, is you also got out of your rut by blessing other people, because like you said, you're the hottest thing out. And all of a sudden, it was like, what look like it's thrown into my lap. But Dougie Freshwater and does a show, so I'm just saying, what I got is that you were being a blessing to other people, and you ended up.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Kind of and they were being a blessing to me, because as hard as I was, I still know I needed something inside. Say that again. As hot as I was, I still knew that I needed something inside. There was something missing. So that's what you see with artists all the time. That's what you see with so many people, but most people don't have the ability to find out how to fix that. And sometimes fixing it is really the answer is really in you. If you just take your time, be a little patient with yourself, don't expect to know everything instantly, or be able to do everything instantly. If you do, you're playing yourself, because that's not how life is. You know what I mean? And then when you make a mistake, you got to learn how to forgive yourself, definitely. And I tell people. This all the time. I say, you know, the pencil is one of the greatest creations ever made, because whoever made it put an eraser at the top of it. Because they knew you were going to make a mistake. They knew it. So then you erase it, brush it, and you write again.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

That's the best way. I can't think of a better way to wrap the conversation. Thank you so much for busting out these nuggets of wisdom for everybody. Just, um, share a couple of things, and then we'll introduce it in. What should folks be looking out for? I mean, other than these amazing shows.

 

Doug E Fresh:

That you have going on? Well, I'm out to heal the world, so meaning we've been through such trauma with COLVID. It's still going on, but we're still trying to find that silver lining. So, like, the other night, I performed for 80,000 people at Essence Festival 2000 at another place, another 2000. Some place sells, 1000 someplace sells. And then at the last one, it was maybe 31 people. And the promoter was out in the boondocks. And I went out there and I, uh, performed for the 31. And it was an intimate performance. But to me, it was the most important performance. Because even though you're performing for 80,000 people, and it's a nice thing to say, I think the 31 appreciated it just as much and probably even more. So it's not always about the size of things. You know what I mean? It's about the quality. And these words I say a lot, too. It's not about the big things that people say. It's about the little things that people do. You know what I'm saying? People say a lot of big things. Oh, I got this. But the little things the little things of just being kind to a person, sharing your spirit with a person when nobody thought you would. So those things, to me, carry more value than the big things. So for me, I'm going to do as much performing as I can. I got more music coming out. I'm enjoying a lot of the creative things I'm doing.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Um, what's going on in Costa Rica?

 

Doug E Fresh:

Costa Rica is a farm. I got 70 acres, and I'm doing it with a collective group. And what we're doing is we're out there making sure that we're doing things on a much more natural level. I'm setting it up. So I'm going to have people fly out there, see the beauty of Costa Rica, the rainforest, eat stuff on a natural, um, level, drink stuff on a natural level. Kind of heal yourself. So that's what Costa Rica is going to be a place where a lot of people I'm planning on taking people out there. Maybe you may want to come.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

I was going to say, I'm starting to feel like here the real juggle retreats.

 

Doug E Fresh:

Wellness retreat.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

We got to keep juggling. So I just have one last thing. You know, I can wrap, right? I'm just saying. Listen, when I became a partner with Ernst Young global firm, they had this event, and this is 2017 18, and they say, come up and do your acceptance speech. And so I literally wrapped my entire acceptance speech. First of all, there aren't a lot of black partners. And then for me to get up there and rhyme. But anyway, I just wanted to say that they were like, oh, my God, you killed it. But I'm just saying that because I have a lot of friends who are like, no, you didn't talk to Dougie Fresh and tell him that you can wrap. So I just had to do it for the record.

 

Doug E Fresh:

And now I know you didn't mean rock packages.

 

Jackie P Taylor:

I'm going to let you get away with that because I'm originally from Brooklyn. So the fact that you started telling me that you put a bike and you didn't lock it up, I'm like, right, I lost or not alone all your Florida time.

 

Doug E Fresh:

I think so. And you know what? I started to get a little too relaxed. And that was the other lesson. It said, you got a little relaxed, Dougie. You know what I mean? But I thought that the dude who run the hall of hospital was watching my bike. So that's another mistake I made. So I won't do that no longer. Okay?

 

Jackie P Taylor:

Because you know what? There was a beautiful lesson out of it. Listen, I'm going to thank you, Fresh, for joining me for this week's show. This is so much fun. We could talk forever. And for the rest of you guys listening to this, there's more information in the bio, in the description. In the meantime, in between time, be kind, be a blessing, and be yourself.

Doug E Fresh Profile Photo

Doug E Fresh

The World’s Greatest Entertainer

Doug E. Fresh’s peers have dubbed him “The World’s Greatest Entertainer.” Chuck D, co-founder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted group Public Enemy, coined the moniker after touring with Fresh and marveling at his unrivaled ability to electrify any crowd, of any age, race or gender, night after night. Prince was such a fan of his boundless live performance skills that he insisted Fresh tour with him for several years in that late 90s, ultimately asking him to perform with him at the White House during the Obama Administration.