From backing ‘King of Pop’ to spotlight


Small Raskind

Judith Hill will be performing alongside Josh Groban this Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Amway Center in support of the “In The Round” tour.

When you’re brought up surrounded by music everything else automatically  becomes second nature.

Born to a music-minded household 29-year-old Judith Hill looks to continue her wild adventure, already have made a name for herself both as a backing artist for the late great Michael Jackson as well as a solo artist, signing a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment.

“I like to create musical moments,” said Hill in a recent interview. “I like to play with things musically and transform things. That’s always been apart of who I am and what I like to do.”

Hill is the daughter to two-full-time musicians and learned the basics early on in life. Her father is a pioneering bassist and have worked along side artist Billy Preston, while her mother is a classic piano instructor.

It wasn’t until Hill began studying as a composer that she realized she wanted to make a living out of music.

“College was really my time when I fell in love with it all and realized there’s so much to music and theirs so much to learn,” she says.

Hill graduated from Biola University with a  degree in music composition. During her time at university  college she wrote her first symphony as well as pieces for piano, vocal groups, chamber ensembles and string quartets.

“My best years have been my time in college, I wish I had another four years. I would tell everybody to soak up those years and don’t take them for granted,” she added.

“Schooling will go miles once you graduate and began doing music professionally.”

After singing as a backing vocalist in Paris for a year following graduation, Hill returned to the states and began working on her own music.

While performing at different clubs in the Los Angeles area,  Hill was told about an audition that Jackson was hosting and decided to try out. She was later selected and practiced for months with the “King of Pop” up until his death on June 25, 2009.

“It was so magical, he is just so incredible to work with. Performing alongside him was like a front row seat to greatness,” said Hill, who is largely know as Jackson’s duet partner in “This Is It.”

“Watching him work with the band, the lighting, the singers and the directors to create this amazing show was like the best schooling. It was really an unforgettable experience.”

Hill’s time as a background singer has been brought to mainstream media as she was featured in Morgan Neville’s  2013 documentary “20 Feet from Stardom.”

Neville followed Hill around for a couple years and then disappeared so that he could work on the editing.

“I felt really honored that he wanted to share my story but I didn’t really know  what he was putting together.”

The film first premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival before making it’s way to theaters, and follows the behind the scenes of backup singers.

“It blew my mind when I saw the final product he put together. It ended up being this beautiful masterpiece.”

Hill was also a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” and made it to the Top 8 before being eliminated.

Despite things not going as planned, Hill managed to turn her time on the show into a positive experience.

“Every week you get an opportunity to really kind of figure things out and by the end of the show you know yourself really well. You know what people gravitate to and you know what to write for yourself based on the type of songs you sing.

“It’s a really great learning experience and it really builds up a lot of fans because a ton of people watch the show.

Hill is set to release her debut album “Desperation” in the first quarter of next year. The album will feature a “blend of different flavors,” with production work from a vast amount of people including Pro-J, who has worked with artist Robin Thicke, Usher and Christina Aguilera.

You can catch Hill live in concert currently supporting Josh Groban’s “In the Round” tour on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Amway Center.

For everything Judith Hill, you can visit her official website or follow her on Twitter.

(Taken from Nov. 6 issue, page 9)