Lauryn Hill (born 25.5.1975)
Lauryn Hill is an American singer and songwriter who initially rose to fame as a member of the group The Fugees.
Lauryn Hill: Childhood
Lauryn Hill was born and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, in the USA. Her mother, Valerie, was an English teacher and her father Mal was a computer programmer.
Music was always present in Lauryn's home. Her sister played a number of instruments, her mother played piano and her father sang at weddings.
Aged 13, Lauryn appeared on It's Showtime at the Apollo, performing her version of Smokey Robinson's 'Who's Lovin' You?' She was rewarded with a standing ovation, although she did not win the show.
Lauryn Hill: Getting Noticed
Although the Sister Act films were centered around the role played by Whoopi Goldberg, Lauryn Hill's performance in Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit earned her a great deal of attention. In the film, she sang the songs 'His Eye Is On the Sparrow' (with Tanya Blount) and 'Joyful, Joyful.' She also appeared as Kira Johnson in the soap opera As The World Turns.
Lauryn Hill: Musical Career
The Refugee Camp (later known simply as The Fugees) was formed in high school when Prakazrel Michel (Pras) asked Lauryn to join a group that he was forming. She met Pras' cousin, Wyclef Jean and she was given the nickname L Boogie.
The band's debut album Blunted on Reality featured the singles Boof Baf', 'Vocab' and 'Nappy Heads', which reached number 49 in the US charts. The album sold over 2 million copies across the globe.
Second album, The Score, was a Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum album and spawned the singles 'Ready or Not' and 'Fu-Gee-La' as well as their covers of Bob Marley's 'No Woman No Cry' and 'Killing Me Softly', previously performed by Roberta Flack.
Lauryn's debut solo album was The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It sold over 420,000 copies in its first week and went straight to the top of the Billboard R&B Album chart. The single 'Doo Wop (That Thing) was a number one hit in the US in 1998. 'Everything Is Everything' and 'To Zion' were also successful singles from the album. Lauryn received 10 nominations in the 1999 Grammy Awards, winning Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album and Album of the Year (beating Madonna's Ray of Light).
In 2001, Lauryn recorded a number of new songs for an MTV Unplugged album. Playing to an intimate audience, the set mainly consisted of guitar and vocals. The track 'Mystery of Iniquity' earned Hill a Grammy nomination, despite no promotion or radio play. The track was later used by Kanye West in his song 'All Falls Down'. Following the success of these two albums, Lauryn retreated from public life, being increasingly dissatisfied with the music industry.
In 2004, The Fugees were reunited, performing for Dave Chapelle's Block Party in Brooklyn. The event, and the lead-up to it, was filmed by Michel Gondry, and released in cinemas in 2006. At the end of 2005, the band embarked on a European tour and in February 2006, performed a 'Reunion Concert' in Hollywood. According to Pras, the reunion tours ground to a halt, due to Lauryn Hill having "some things she needs to deal with."
Lauryn Hill: Controversies
In 2003, Lauryn performed at a Christmas benefit concert at the Vatican. She offended many in attendance by using her platform to criticise the molestation of boys by Catholic priests in the US. Her speech was removed from the television broadcast and no full transcript has been released.
There have been unconfirmed rumours that Lauryn Hill made a statement that she would "rather have (her) children starve than have white people buy (her) records." The quote was publicly denied by MTV and Lauryn herself rang in to the Howard Stern show to disassociate herself from the statement.
Lauryn Hill: Family
Lauryn has been in a relationship with Bob Marley's son, Rohan, since 1996. They have four children together, Zion David Hill-Marley (b.1997), Selah Louise Marley (b.1998), Joshua Marley (b.2002) and John Marley (b.2007).