The artists and musical acts Prince listened to during his formative years influenced him and inspired him to write his songs, according to PrinceVault.com. Joni Mitchell, James Brown, Sly Stone and Miles Davis are a few such artists who impacted Prince's musical development.
Both of Prince's parents were musicians and likely inspired him as well. His father was a pianist and a composer, and his mother was a jazz singer. During his career, various personal and public events inspired Prince to write certain songs.
An argument with Susannah Melvoin, a former girlfriend and member of his band, The Revolution, inspired "When Doves Cry." A throwback photo of Prince and Apollonia Kotero riding a bike inspired "This Could Be Us," a single on the 2014 album "Art Official Age."
More recently, the Baltimore riots surrounding the death of Freddie Gray inspired the song "Baltimore," which Prince included on his 39th studio album, "HITnRUN Phase Two."