SiriusXM is launching several new artist channels today — including Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, the Rolling Stones and others — but there’s little question that the most interesting one is a Prince channel that the artist himself curated back in 2005, but never aired until today. You can listen to it for free, starting at 7 p.m. ET, on channel 30 and SiriusXM’s streaming app.
The show, which is more than two hours long, is a previously unaired demo of a conceptual radio show created by Prince in 2005 for a Sirius Satellite Radio channel. It dates from the era of his 2006 “3121” album — which many fans feel was by far the strongest release of his final decade — and features songs from that album as well as rarities from across his career like the 1986 song “Dream Factory” and a live version of “Beautiful Strange” with a blazing guitar solo from the artist.
But the show primarily features songs by other artists selected by both Prince and his friend and host DJ Rashida, ranging from Parliament-Funkadelic and Sly & the Family Stone to Joni Mitchell, jazz great Ahmad Jamal and the Jimi Hendrix deep cut “Hey Baby” (one of the last songs he ever recorded), and there’s an inspired segue from Ann Peebles’ “Can’t Stand the Rain” into Bjork’s “I Miss You.”
While Prince speaks at a couple of points during the show, many people are likely to think that an often-hilarious character named Ezekiel who calls in several times during the show is Prince — it’s actually comedian Katt Williams.
The channel also features a “takeover” from Sheila E., special playlists from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and SiriusXM’s recent “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute To Prince Town Hall,” featuring Jimmy Jam, Sheila E. and H.E.R.
SiriusXM’s The Prince Channel can be heard on channel 30 on all SiriusXM radios and can be found on the SiriusXM app in the Hip-Hop/R&B category. Anyone who is not already a SiriusXM subscriber can download the SiriusXM app or go to SiriusXM.com/streamfree, and start listening free of charge, with no credit card or commitment required, through May 30.