Judith Hill talks about her rise as a backup singer for artists like Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, as an artist featured in the film 20 feet from stardom to her time as a finalist on The Voice to striking out on her own as an Indie Artists and the release of her newest album.
I’m excited to have our guest, Judith Hill, on today. I have followed her for quite a bit and I think she has a cool and interesting career story that I want to share with you. I especially loved watching her in the film “20 Feet From Stardom”.
Judith was born in North Hollywood. Both her parents are in a band so she grew surrounded by music. She studied classical music and got a degree in music composition. After college, she travelled around the world as a backup singer for artists. She joined The Voice as a contestant and went to create her album. She has been touring with her band since until the pandemic happened. After that, she has found ways to connect with her fans through live streaming in social media.
She has been singing professionally since she was a kid and that is why she chose to study music composition in college so she can create her own music. She did a lot of gigs in high school but not so much in college. Afterwards she auditioned for back up singer for a French artist and she got in. Having lived in France for a year, that gig exposed her to life outside America and allowed her to do soul-searching and discovering herself. When she came back after that, she started writing her songs. She did back up singing for high profile people like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder but it was mostly for short periods. Then she auditioned for The Voice.
The Voice opened up a lot of doors for Judith. She got a lot more gigs after that and her fee raised exponentially. And even after awhile, fans are still coming in because of that show. The key to that is she made sure to keep her relationship with her fans through newsletters and social media. Sync licensing royalties have also helped her a lot during the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, 60-70% of her income came from touring and 20% came from sync. During the pandemic, she got more from sync and requests and projects for branding companies, etc. Judith also saw more people streaming her people. Doing covers also brought more traffic to her music through Spotify.
Judith’s advice for new artists to get their feet off the ground is to figure out what you really want to focus on. For Judith, it was performing so she focused on that. Getting some really good booking agencies will also make sure you stay on stages. So you have to have passion but also be open to other avenues such as sync licensing. Keep building relationships to stay in people’s ears and minds. Learn constantly since there is new information coming out everyday.
Judith also encountered times that she wanted to give up. What she personally does is to remind herself that she didn’t get into music for commerce. She wanted music because of storytelling. If you focus on your higher calling, that will fuel your passion more.
Definitely check out the film 20 Feet From Stardom on Netflix.
This episode was first aired on Episode #16 of The Profitable Musician Show.
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