Acclaimed singer/songwriter Judith Hill lit up the Sundance Film Festival last night with a stellar performance at a party celebrating the world premiere of filmmaker Spike Lee’s eagerly anticipated new drama, Red Hook Summer. Hill – whose soulful ballads comprise the film’s soundtrack – performed live before a star-studded audience at TAO Park City, taking the stage shortly after the premiere screening.
Hill’s role in Red Hook Summer came at the personal behest of Lee, who invited the Los Angeles-based musician/performer to contribute a suite of original songs to the film. The soundtrack features music penned and performed by Hill, including collaborations with such luminaries as Dave Stewart (Eurythmics, Mick Jagger, Joss Stone) and Track & Field Productions (Nelly Furtado, K’Naan). Both Red Hook Summer and its soundtrack companion will be released this summer – full details will be announced soon.
Meanwhile, Hill has also announced a major showcase performance, slated for Tuesday, February 7th at Los Angeles’ Key Club. For full details and additional live dates, please visit www.facebook.com/judithhillofficial.
Judith Hill has long been on a path towards capturing the depth and breadth of her artistic vision. Her remarkable journey has taken the gifted singer/songwriter/musician to stages all over the planet, both as solo performer as well as alongside such icons as the late, great Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder. Now Hill is poised to take her own well-deserved place in the spotlight.A richly emotive vocal stylist and virtuosic piano player, Hill has spent much of the past two years carefully crafting her own imaginative music and fashion-forward persona. The result is a truly one-of-a-kind new sound, equal parts classic funk, big beat electro, and intimate soul, all linked by Hill’s deeply personal yet wholly universal lyrical approach.
“I’m an organic soul artist with a passion to bring the world together,” Hill says. “The music, whether it’s the funk or the ballads, it’s all about that message. That’s the thing that resonates most for me, that message and the heart behind it.”
Having grown up in an intensely musical family, Hill began writing songs and playing music an impossibly early age. After earning a degree in music composition from Biola University, she set out to create her own inimitable sound. Hill sharpened her performance chops at open mic nights, where a musician friend informed her that Michael Jackson was looking for background singers and asking if he could submit her name for the gig. Hill agreed, of course, and to her surprise, found herself with the job. She put her own music on hold and began rehearsing with Jackson for the planned “This Is It” world tour. In addition to her role as background vocalist, she was chosen to duet with Michael on the classic Bad ballad, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” later to become the undisputed highlight of the posthumously released film, This Is It.
On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson passed away, leaving Hill and the “This Is It” troupe in a heartbroken state of shock. As the world mourned, Hill was asked to sing at Jackson’s public memorial. Watched by one billion fans around the world, the service’s emotional crescendo came from Hill’s powerfully poignant performance of “Heal The World,” a moment she declares “a milestone in my life. Just being there was overwhelming, but I felt that I had a responsibility to rise above myself and be an inspiring person, to represent Michael in the best way possible.”
Hill spent the next two years striving to perfect every aspect of her artistic persona, incorporating her lifelong zeal for fashion and theatre into her live act while simultaneously pushing her music forward by blending her extensive array of influences into her own unique sound. Funk, soul, gospel and jazz all come into play, with distinctive spice coming from an increasing interest in world music formed during global tours alongside Stevie Wonder or as spokesperson and star of Avon Cosmetics’ worldwide Avon Believe World Tour.
With the Red Hook Summer soundtrack concentrating on Hill’s more soulful songcraft, an additional collection is planned to fully reflect the many facets of her music. The as-yet-untitled album will cover her remarkable creative spectrum, from the driving “electro-funkadelic” anthem, “Switch” to the heartfelt “Beautiful Life.” Blessed with a grand ambition to go along with her boundless talent, Judith Hill is determined to display how every aspect of her artistry comes together to form a beautifully cohesive whole.
“It’s more than just being a musician,” Hill says. “From fashion, to the humanitarian side of me, to the composer in me. I want to be on that big stage, in front of an orchestra, conducting. I just want to show all sides of me and how it all comes together to become Judith Hill.”