Paisley Park Vault Unleashed: Why Two Prince Heiresses Are Angry

by Emily Marks

Sharon and Norrine Nelson are pissed and for interesting reasons. The two half-sisters of legendary pop singer Prince have recently started a dispute with the Paisley Park Estate’s administrators, Comerica Bank. The dispute surrounds the moving of the contents of Prince’s vault from Minneapolis to Iron Mountain Entertainment Services in Los Angeles. Aforementioned contents removed from the estate totals a whopping 30 unreleased albums and is estimated to be worth $200 million. The sisters claim that the music belongs in Paisley Park to be memorialized and treasured in its rightful home.

While it seems clear why the two, out of six, heirs are angry; Comerica has thrown a curveball in the mix by claiming the removal of the music from the estate was discussed with the heirs on four separate occasions, and any accusations stating otherwise are false. The dispute is expected to be messy if the Nelson sisters decide to go to court. The other heirs are aware and accepting of the transfer.

This problem is not the first to cause controversy (No, not the Prince song) between the heirs. All of them have been at odds with each other over the handling of the estate since Prince’s death in April of last year. Interestingly, the heirs are not the only ones causing problems over the estate.

Comerica Bank was the second administrator of Paisley Park after Bremer Trust and McMillan brokered a deal with Universal Music Group. This contract gave them the rights to Prince’s post-1995 music catalog, even though Warner Brothers owned the rights to everything pre-1995. Universal asked that their contract be rescinded after Comerica was put in charge. Comerica was unable to take any actions as Bremer Trust carried out the deal. This clash was during the epilogue of a yearlong battle over who the heirs of the Prince estate were, in the absence of a will. This battle involved 45 people claiming to be long lost or close relatives to the star.

Paisley Park

Throughout the history of Paisley Park’s post-Prince era, it seems there’s nothing but fighting over the fortune and archives of the elusive home. Even now, Norrine and Sharon are battling their siblings and half-siblings over the rightful location of the vault’s music as Prince’s clothing and belongings go on display in London on October 27th. This exhibit is titled ‘My Name is Prince’. Prince’s website alone advertises a brand-new edition of Purple Rain featuring 11 unreleased tracks; probably from the vault itself, as the website is run by Warner Brothers.

The year and a half since Prince’s death has been a long, bumpy road, in which his fortune has become a prize to be won, rather than the personal belongings of a widely loved musician. Maybe, in light of these events, the heirs should step back from the estate and remember whom it belonged to, their brother, others’ friend, and one of the world’s music heroes.