June 28, 2010
Emerson Brown, NPR




Grammy Award-winning artist Lauryn Hill breaks a long silence in an exclusive interview as part of the NPR series “50 Great Voices.” In conversation with NPR's Zoe Chace, Hill discusses her absence from the music scene and her recent return to performing. The story airs today, Monday, June 28, during All Things Considered and is also available online at NPR.org: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128149135

The year-long “50 Great Voices” series set out at the beginning of 2010 to explore the talent and impact of artists who have left indelible impressions on music. As the series reaches its halfway point, the latest installment not only focuses on one of the most popular and missed voices in hip hop, but also chronicles her anticipated return. Hill arrived on the rap scene in the mid-90s as part of the popular group the Fugees, and gained both commercial and critical acclaim with her debut solo recording The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. After the success of the album, however, she largely dropped out of public life and never released a proper follow-up record.

Asked about why she stopped putting out music in recent years, Hill states, "There were a number of different reasons. But partly, the support system that I needed was not necessarily in place. There were things about myself -- personal growth things -- that I needed to go through and experience in order for me to feel like it was worth it."

Hill also alludes to what people may hear from her now, "I think that one of the things I'm trying to do is just open up my range and really sing more. I think that with the Fugees initially and then even with the Miseducation, there was still very sort of hip-hop oriented singing...in the context of hip hop singing over beats. But singing -- people have never really heard me sing. I think if I do record, next time, perhaps, there will be an expanded context. People can hear -- a bit more."

Addressing the reasons she is starting to perform more, Hill says "I think its just time and I'm starting to get excited again."

Extended interview clips can be found online at www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128149135 All excerpts from the transcript must be credited to NPR News.

"50 Great Voices" is an NPR series highlighting 50 artists, from around the world and across time, chosen by audiences and a panel of experts. The final list ranges from internationally renowned stars to lesser-known, but equally influential performers. Each Monday, a new “Great Voice” is revealed on either All Things Considered or Morning Edition, two of NPR’s newsmagazines, in reports that present inspiring tributes to the life and legacy of each artist and shed light on the aspects that make them singular talents. The interviews and radio segments are available on the NPR Music website: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122287224