In less than two weeks, one of the most influential music artists of the past two decades will make her stop at Union Park, Chicago headlining the Pitchfork Music Festival. On Sunday, July 22nd, the multi-Grammy award winning artist Lauren Hill will perform her The Miseducation of Lauren Hill 20th Anniversary Tour closing out a weekend of some of the newest and best musical acts in the business.
Lauren Hill burst onto the scene in the early 90’s acting in a supporting lead role in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Hill was already in the band that would be later re-named The Fugees’ with Pras Michel and Wyclef Jean at this time but it would be in that movie that Hill would show off her singing skills in two major scenes in the movie. The success of the movie would go on to get her the attention she wanted and needed to be a musical superstar.
In 1994, The Fugees’ released their debut album “Blunted on Reality,” but it would be their sophomore album, The Score in 1996 that went #1 on The Billboard 200 and would go on to win Best Rap Album of the Year and Best R&B Performance by a Duo for the hit song “Killing Me Softly.” Hill also started the Refugee Project that year which was a non-profit organization to help troubled urban youth.
The very next year, Hill split from The Fugees’ to record her solo project, The Miseducation of Lauren Hill and in 1998 that album was released and was nominated for 10 Grammy awards in addition to her song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” from the Conspiracy Theory soundtrack was also nominated. Hill won five of the 10 nominations for Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Performance, Best R&B Song and Best R&B Album. “This album chronicled an intimate piece of my young existence,” said Hill at a press junket for her tour. “It was the summation of most, if not all, of my most hopeful and positive emotions experienced to that date.”
After taking a few years off, Hill resurfaced on MTV’s Unplugged series with her MTV’s Unplugged 2.0 and has made appearances on Dave Chappelle’s Block Party as well as had a song featured on the soundtrack of Surf’s Up. Along with a remixed version of The Miseducation album along with performing at numerous fests, Hill has managed to keep herself relevant over the years.
I would be remiss if I left out that some of that relevance has not been positive. Hill has had her share of legal issues and public meltdowns over the course of her twenty years of stardom, but that is what makes her performance so special at the Pitchfork Festival. Despite all her ups and downs in life, her fans still support her. The Miseducation of Lauren Hill album was so special and so influential that we would expect someone that wrote so real and raw be exactly that. From songs on her album like ‘To Zion,’ where Hill talked about the many people that pressured her to abort her baby that she ended up keeping, to the love ballads, “It Hurts So Bad,” and “I Used to Love Him,” Hill showed that she was not afraid to talk about her personal life and share them in the lyrics she put out.
For those that know Hill’s music, know that this Pitchfork Music Fest concert is a once in a lifetime kind of event, similar to Jimi Hendrix playing at Woodstock or Michael Jackson at the Super Bowl. For those that don’t know her, her words will definitely hit you in the feels no matter what age, race or gender you are because she is a timeless artist. And if after this concert, she decides to take off another twenty years before coming back out to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of her award winning album, this writer along with many other music aficionados will be right there to see her again.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the Pitchfork Music Festival visit, www.pitchforkmusicfestival.com
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