Before we talk about that though, let’s discuss the talents of the incredible vocalist in question, Judith Hill. Many may already know her from her appearance on The Voice, plus she was also due to have the supreme distinction of being Michael Jackson’s duet partner for ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ during his ill-fated ‘This Is It’ London O2 residency in 2009. Hill’s credentials extend even further having sang backing vocals on albums by Dave Stewart, Elton John, Josh Groban and Evelyn “Champagne” King, amongst many others. This is already a mind-blowing résumé but fast-forward a few years and Prince – after having heard of her desire to work with him – calls her up and the rest is, as they say, history.
Recorded over the course of less than 3 weeks, and produced by the Purple Majesty himself, the album was distributed via a free download through Hill’s WeTransfer account. An accompanying note by Prince read:
"Sorry 2 bother U. Just wanted 2 send U this baby picture of Judith Hill with Her 1st piano. Loox like her parents, who r also musicians- had a plan. Well, that plan succeeded. This is Judith Hill’s debut album BACK IN TIME. Please spend some time with this music and then share it with someone U love."The download link remained active for a few days and has since been closed.
I don’t know if the album is actually due to receive an official release but someone, somewhere has done something wrong if it isn’t. ‘Back in Time’ is good. I mean, reeeaaaally good. It’s Prince’s funkiest music for quite some time and is the type of funk usually reserved for his famed aftershows. It’s gritty, it’s horn-heavy, it’s a standout of the year. The whole album can be streamed via SoundCloud here and I live in eternal hope that an official CD release will follow on shortly as this is too good.