Hill, Lauryn

Hill, Lauryn
▪ 2000

      Having achieved fame as the primary vocalist of the Fugees, a popular hip-hop rap group, American singer-songwriter Lauryn Hill decided to venture out on her own and earned public and critical acclaim with her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998). Fueled by the release of the single “Doo Wop (That Thing),” the album went multiplatinum, and in 1999 Hill was nominated for 10 Grammy Awards. She won five, including those for best new artist and album of the year. Her five Grammys were the most ever awarded to a female artist.

      Hill was born on May 26, 1975, in South Orange, N.J., and attended high school with future bandmate Prakazrel (“Pras”) Michel. The two began performing under the name Tranzlator Crew and were joined shortly by Michel's cousin Wyclef Jean. As a teenager, Hill was also attracted to acting and had roles on the soap opera As the World Turns and alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. With the money she earned from her acting jobs, she helped finance her band, renamed the Fugees in 1993. The group was eventually signed to a division of Columbia Records, but its debut album, Blunted on Reality (1994), attracted less-than-spectacular reviews. Critics commented that Hill's talent overshadowed those of her partners and that she should strike out on her own. The group's second album, The Score (1996), which featured an impressive remake of Roberta Flack's 1973 hit “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” was better received and sold more than 17 million copies. The Score earned two Grammy Awards for the Fugees. With the success of the album, Hill abandoned her history studies at Columbia University, New York City, and the group's members decided to pursue their individual interests.

      In 1996 Hill established the Refugee Project, an organization designed to aid underprivileged and at-risk youths through positive social development, and the following year she and her fiancé, Rohan Marley (Bob Marley's son), had their first child. In early 1998 she began putting her solo album together, flying to Jamaica to write, record, and produce the work at the Bob Marley Museum Studio. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released that August, and in November she gave birth to her and Marley's second child.

      Hill's sound, often categorized as “neo-soul,” bridged hip-hop and mainstream popular music. Her album was also notable for its deeply personal lyrics, which addressed such serious themes as the meaning of self, family, and community. By the end of 1999 there was talk of a Fugees reunion as well as a return to acting for Hill, possibly in a movie role as Bob Marley's wife, Rita, and in a film for Madonna's production company.

Anthony L. Green

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Hill (surname) — Family name name = Hill imagesize= caption= pronunciation = meaning = a person who lived on a hill region = origin = English related names = Hyll footnotes = [ [http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names/names files.html 1990 Census Name Files ] ]… …   Wikipedia

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