”I would have never released it”: Richard Wilkins shares the one interview he’s kept a secret

”I would have never released it”: Richard Wilkins shares the one interview he’s kept a secret

The tape is over 20 years old.

From The Rolling Stones to Madonna, Australian television star Richard Wilkins is no stranger to music royalty.

In his almost 40 years in television, Wilkins has conducted countless ground-breaking interviews however, he has kept one interview tape secret for 20 years.

Venturing backstage on the Australian leg of the 2003 New Power Generation tour, Wilkens was crammed into a small room at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena alongside ten others.

It was in that room that Wilkins would be granted the rare opportunity to conduct a sit-down interview with music icon Prince.

“He didn’t do very many interviews at all. But [Australian music producer] Paul Dainty was bringing them out very short notice and I kept asking him. Paul said, ‘He hasn’t said no, but he does want to be interviewed with all his band,’” Wilkins told 9Honey.

Surrounded by his band, the typically media-shy artist struggled to engage in the early stages of the interview.

“I was asking Prince a couple of questions and getting one-word answers”, reflected Wilkins.

With the back and forth proving to be of no avail, Prince requested that Wilkins pause the interview.

It was from this point that Wilkins would unexpectedly uncover a treasure trove of insight into the Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

Entering Prince’s main dressing room which was “the size of a tennis court and all dressed up”, Wilkins had an hour-long candid conversation with the singer.

“He told me about how he’d been abused, he reckoned, by record labels and some of the problems he had had over the years and the trials and tribulations of being Prince”, Wilkins added.

As both Wilkins and Prince opened up, Wilkins had to remind the singer of the original objective of his visit, prompting them to recommence the formal interview.

“He said, ‘Oh, do I have to? and I said ‘Yeah’, so we went back out there and finished it”, recounted Wilkins.

It was only once they had begun to exit the room that Wilkins realised the gravity of the conversation he had just had, recalling “As I walked out of the room, the sound recordist looked at me with eyes bulging out of his head and of course, I had a microphone on and he captured the whole thing.”

When questioned further about the tape, Wilkins confirmed that he did still have it in possession, but had no intention of ever sharing its contents with the world.

“I would have never released it, because he said some extraordinary things.”

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