Judith Hill: “Music is the language that I speak”

25. April 2019
Kertu Kärk

On the evening of 23rd of April the Vaba Lava concert hall turned into the temple where everybody worshipped soul music and Judith Hill was the high priestess. Before the show filled with sparkling energy, powerful emotions and great music we had a chance to talk to the talented and beautiful soul queen Judith Hill.


So how are you feeling? What it is like to be here in Tallinn?
I feel wonderful. It’s a really beautiful day and I am really excited to be performing here at the festival. We had a chance to walk around old town and it was just so beautiful, so stunning, so much history.


You have had an incredible chance to work with legends like Michael Jackson, Prince. How has it shaped you as an artist?
Every experience of my life has shaped me and grown me. I am inspired by every person in the sanctuary of their stage and I am blessed to be inspired by so many great people. I’ve taken up so many beautiful jams just working with so many different people. Now I am really excited of doing my own thing here and touring around the world with my band.


Do you have a special message for your audience? Are there any thoughts that you want to deliver to them? What do you want them to feel at the concert?
I just want them to feel love and to be able to tap in to that invisible energy, that infinite beauty that we are as people. A lot of my music is about people coming together and celebrating diversity and unity. So, I just want people to feel inspired tonight, empowered to go out there and do whatever they are called to do and to also feel the love of all people coming together.


You said that you are inspired by people, but is there anything else? What else is inspiring you, what is your passion?
I get excited when I listen to old blues, old jazz. I love listening to the great singers like Howlin’ Wolf, Aretha Franklin, names like that. Music is the language that I speak and so I have sometimes been like kind of an outcast my whole life, but music is a thing that connects me. So, I am inspired every time that I get on that stage and am able to connect with people around the world.


I love writing because it is a different process. Sometimes I start with the melody, sometimes I start with the lyric. Every song is different, it’s a process.


You grew up in a really musical family and you wrote your first song at a very early age?
Yeah, I wrote my first song when I was four and I grew up in a really musical family both of my parents being musicians, so I was surrounded by it from day one.
My first song was a gospel song called God is made, so it was about God making creation. I wrote with my mom, I was at the piano. A lot of times I start with the melody first and that song I started with the melody, I’m always humming melodies in my head.


You sing really different kind of music: jazz, pop, hip-hop R’n’B. Which is your favorite?
I’m a classic soul artist so everything I do is filtered in a soulful way. So, whether I am influenced by some hip-hop or some rock or jazz, it’s always soulful to me. Pure soul is what I live for.


What kind of feedback do you expect from your audience? Do you want them to dance and sing along and come to you after your performance?
I want them to be free tonight. I want them just to let loose. They can get up in the aisles and dance if they want or they could sit in their chair. Whatever gives them joy and freedom tonight, because that’s what this night is all about.


Jazzkaar is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. Do you have any special wishes for the festival?
I love to celebrate the 30th anniversary with Jazzkaar, thank you for all your beautiful work bringing talented musicians from around the world. I am just honored to be here today, thank you for having me on this special day!