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The e-mail invitation was vague but intriguing: spend Saturday night at Prince’s mansion in Beverly Hills for “a journey through the galaxy” and a live performance by the man himself.

As the first to arrive, I’m greeted by Scott Addison Clay, the bearded young developer behind Prince’s new Website, lotusflow3r.com. He wears a tweed jacket and sits behind a widescreen computer monitor to show off a bit of the new site, launched just minutes earlier. Leaning against a nearby couch is a sparkling metal cane, with Prince’s “love symbol” etched into the handle.

Clay notes that 10 years before, Prince helped revolutionize the relationship between music and the Internet by being the first major artist to debut music exclusively on the Web. And lotusflow3r.com is where Prince will release three new albums in 2009, including MPLSound, Lotus Flow3r and the unveiling of his newest female protégé Bria Valente.

Then there is a voice behind us: “Can I use my computer?” It’s Prince, smiling in a blue shirt decorated with a stylized drawing of his own image, and shoes with heels that blink colored lights. “It’s OK, I just want to check my e-mail.”

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