During the summer there is nothing like going to concerts and music festivals with friends, meeting new people and having summer adventures. Plus the summer festivals are the breeding grounds for creativity and reinforcing open-mindedness, these events add something special to your summer. However the best part for music lovers, is the possibility of seeing your favorite artists in the span of 3-4 months. Especially, when the people on your musical bucket list are in your area, depending on what kind of music you are into or a person who creates music that you connect with.
Me personally the featured artist on my musical bucket include Jill Scott, Common, Yasin Bey ( Mos Def), Andre 3000, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill to name a few. I obviously have a love and respect for neo-soul, R&B, and Hip Hop genres. Even though some artists aren’t on my list doesn’t mean I wouldn’t mind seeing them like Beyonce or Kanye West ( as long as it doesn’t come out of my wallet) their the “icons” of this era. Honestly I love music enough to see most artists of today, the 90’s, and the stars from before then.
Anywho, Looking at my musical bucket list, I can successfully cross of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill off my list. I recently saw Lauryn Hill while I was in Boston at the House of Blues , which is a very popular, well-known venue for music and other large gatherings. My friend and I made a very spontaneous concert-going decision, because after I brought my ticket I was broke, but one of my personal philosophies is: I rather live life right now, than focus on the money I don’t have at the moment. Plus I weighed the pros and cons and thought to myself why miss an opportunity to see this legend while visiting my best friend and to regain inspiration, but my exceptions for the concert didn’t match the reality of it.
If you are not familiar with Lauryn Hill, here is an article that gives a general Bio of her life. The reason I love her so much as an artist is because she is true to her art and to herself. Even though she has been out of the public eye for a while and hasn’t produce anything new, her fan base is still large and anticipating. My appreciation for her is summed up in a statement she said in one of her tumblr post that partly explains why she has been away for over a decade , as it suggests that she is creating something great.
“I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings… have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so.”
With all that said, I previously stated that the expectations for the concert didn’t match the reality because she performed songs from her solo debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in a new/interesting way. If you have heard some or all of this album you know it is a very emotional and powerful that is supported by her lyrical superiority especially in her songs: Lost Ones, Ex-Factor, and Doo Wop.
So to prepare myself for the concert I made sure that all my emotions were in order, I even prepared myself for a tear or two. The young woman who was standing behind me even said ” I’m ready to cry”. Me in this person were in the same boat so to speak. After waiting a couple hours for Ms. Hill to hit the stage. When she finally starts her performance I’m in shock and awe because:
- It’s LAURYN HILL!!! In the same room as this legendary artist who is related to the Marley’s! ( insert high-pitched scream here)
- the music was not at all what I was expecting, granted I enjoyed the concert and all that. I was expecting some real tear-jerking moments and was denied that pleasure.
- Most of the songs were remixed to a upbeat hip-hip/ reggae sound, not including when she did her unplugged, which was smart on her part to make the concert more live. Yet, it really through me and my friend off . ( I have some video clips I’d post,but I was singing along and I sound HORRIBLE).
- With the remixed songs it was hard to hear which song was which, my friend couldn’t even tell if “her” song was sung.
After the initial shock and some time thinking to myself, I came to the realization that: yes Lauryn Hill has returned, but did she really? Is the Ms. Hill of today the same as the one yesterday… Of course not! I’m sure 10 plus years out the game spurred change, but how has that and will that impact her music that we are now accustomed too?
Everyone loves her, but which one do we love?
Generally , ” we” as the audience give a lot of credit to celebrities regardless of time or the situation. It seems we don’t hold them accountable. In the case of Ms. Hill, even though she is a legend in the music world and well known for her part in upholding the Marley legacy, we negate the reality that it is time for her to produce something new and amazing. Not just the remixes of the songs we once loved. Even though I have read things in regarding her hiatus and her return and I believe she will produce something phenomenal when she releases new material, I am just weary that there will be a disconnect from the Lauryn Hill of then and now. That the music she gives us will not reach the bar that she set so high for herself.
what are your thoughts?