If you saw the Michael Jackson memorial and the rendition of “Heal the World” and “We Are the World”, no doubt you saw a breakout performance by an unknown Asian singer. The mystery singer was Judith Hill, a Pasadena, California-based vocalist who was recruited to be one of the backup singers for Jackson’s This Is It! concerts at London’s O2 Arena. According to her bio:
Judith was born in Los Angeles and raised in a family of musicians. Her mother is an immigrant from Japan who met her father in a funk band in the 1970s. She laughs about her bi-racial experience, “I was a skinny mixed kid with a lot of hair that I didn’t know what to do with (and still don’t know what to do with it). And my mom could not help me with it!” She lived in a Christian home and embraced Jesus Christ at an early age. She comments, “I had a pretty good life in my childhood. Me and God were friends since the beginning. That helped a lot. But, it didn’t save me from walking a path of pain and asking the deep questions of life. I was a philosopher as a kid, and in school you could find me in the library.” She admits that she never “fit in”. Depending on the social circle, she was labeled “too quiet”, “too loud”, “too black”, “to asian”, or too something. Judith expresses, “I was a traveler, kind of a drifter. But, looking back I see how all of those experiences, friends, and cultures made me who I am today.”
She will likely play a role in AEG’s tribute concerts in the months to come. You can find her Myspace page here.
You can see a couple of her performances here:
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When the final Michael Jackson “This Is It” rehearsal videos was released, people were talking about the female guitarist featured alongside Jackson. Her name is Orianthi Panagaris, and she’s barely 24 years old. She was born in Adelaide, South Australia. Orianthi started playing guitar at age six.
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