Australian audiences are eagerly counting down the weeks as they await the impending return of one of hip hop and soul’s most iconic names – the masterful Ms. Lauryn Hill.
Four years since her last jaunt to Australia, the musical pioneer will return to the country for a pair of headline shows in Melbourne and Sydney, alongside an appearance at Gold Coast’s Promiseland 2023.
How did Ms. Lauryn Hill become one of the most revered and impactful artists of all time?
Having begun her foray into the world of music as a teenager, it wasn’t until 1991 that she crossed paths with classmate Pras Michel to form a group named Tranzlator Crew. Being joined by Michel’s cousin Wyclef Jean soon after, the group’s activities were somewhat put on hold while she entered the world of acting, going on to appear alongside Whoopi Goldberg in 1993’s Sister Act 2.
However, it was in 1994 that Translator Crew renamed themselves as the Fugees, with the genre-blending outfit making a name for themselves thanks to their fusion of soul, hip hop, and rock. Their debut album, Blunted On Reality, was released that year and spawned a handful of singles, but the album went largely unnoticed upon its arrival.
Two years later, it was 1996’s The Score that made the Fugees a household name.
In addition to singles such as “Ready or Not”, “Fu-Gee-La”, and their global number one-placing cover of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly”, The Score was the best-selling hip hop album upon its release, with widespread critical acclaim and sales records seeing it considered one of the greatest albums of all time.
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However, just one year later, the Fugees were no more: Wyclef Jean, Pras Michel, and Ms. Lauryn Hill all announced they’d be pursuing solo careers.
Hill was the second artist to release a solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill arriving in 1998 as her debut and – to date – only full-length studio record.
But what an album it was. Upon its release, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill was met with vast critical and commercial acclaim. Singles such as “Everything Is Everything”, “Ex-Factor”, and the timeless “Doo Wop (That Thing)” charted globally, with the latter topping the US charts, while the album itself could barely be found outside of the top ten around the world, including hitting number two in the US and number two in Australia.
By the end of the year, the record was considered one of the best of the year, the decade, and all time, with Hill receiving a record ten nominations at the 1999 Grammy Awards. On the night, she took home five honours, including Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for “Doo Wop (That Thing)”, Best R&B Album, and Album Of The Year, with the record being the first hip hop record to receive the latter award.
As the years went by, Ms. Lauryn Hill has been a staple of live stages, and has sporadically reunited with the Fugees, but one constant is the seismic impact her sole solo album has had on music and culture. The likes of Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Drake, Zendaya, J. Cole, and Nicki Minaj all cite the record as a major influence, while talent manager Nick Shymansky explained his search for a Hill-like artist led to him discovering the late Amy Winehouse.
With the record being rightly regarded as one of the greatest of all time, it’s hardly any surprise that, 25 years after its release, Hill’s upcoming Australian shows are being eagerly anticipated by her countless Australian fans as some of the biggest of the year.
“The Miseducation album has been a consistently special artwork that has allowed me to tour for 25 years, sharing the message and energy with its loyal appreciators,” Hill explained. “I’m not even sure if it feels like 25 years have gone by to me.
“The music itself was born to be anachronistic, at the same time reclaiming precious jewels from the past, and infusing them with the potency and energy of the present, in order to enrich it and the future,” she added. “Revisiting the album live has renewed my love and appreciation for the music and the period in which it was born, when hip hop was ripe with potential and uncomplicated enthusiasm.”
Ms. Lauryn Hill 2023 Australian Headline Shows
With special guest Koffee
Ticket information available via tegdainty.com
Tuesday, October 3rd
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday, October 5th
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney, NSW