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Carson Daly remembers Prince's influence at MTV: 'Everybody wanted to be like him'

TODAY's Carson Daly, the host of "The Voice" and the former host of MTV's "Total Request Live," spoke about Prince's profound impact.
/ Source: TODAY

As the world mourns the loss of music legend Prince, TODAY's Carson Daly remembered the stunning breadth of genres and artists that Prince influenced during his unforgettable career.

"You can't say this about a lot of people — he touched everybody,'' Daly said on TODAY Friday. "I think that's what the last 24 hours has really been about. His reach was so far, so wide, and he'll just be so sorely missed."

Daly hosted MTV's popular "Total Request Live" from 1998 to 2002, which featured a range of artists who owed a musical debt to Prince and even received a visit from the man himself.

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"I almost think it's safe to say everybody who came through (was influenced by Prince),'' Daly said. "Every artist that came through on my watch — highly influenced by Prince. He took jazz, funk, soul, rock 'n' roll. Everybody wanted to be like Prince."

Prince's versatility as a musician, writer, producer and more set him apart from fellow 1980s icons like Michael Jackson and Madonna, Daly said. Prince's $100 million record deal with Warner Bros. in the 1980s was also bigger than any other artist at the time.

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"You start with his musical output,'' Daly said. "Prince was somebody who did it all himself. In the '80s you wouldn't see this, but he wrote the records, he played every instrument on the records. He was a one-man show."

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He also wrote and produced hit songs for everyone from The Bangles to Alicia Keys.

"It was important for him to produce music for himself, and for others,'' Daly said. "He was going to do it on his own terms. He was fearless. My theory is the fact that he stayed in the Twin Cities (in Minnesota) enabled a backdrop for him to kind of stay at arm's length from L.A. and New York to be able to do things his own way."

There are also rumors that the prolific artist, who produced 39 albums during his career, still has a massive amount of unreleased music.

"I think when they go in there, and the estate sifts through — he had a studio in the house — I think they will unearth a treasure trove of Prince music, which will ultimately be the legacy that we'll have in years to come,'' Daly said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.