A Letter to Lauryn Hill [Post London Performance Sept 2014]
Dear Lauryn Hill,
[Disclaimer to 3rd party readers: Let me use this opportunity to declare that this is not a typical rant article anchored with one of the worst possible action photos of the artist to suggest or portray them in a negative light. This is a letter written in love to an artist who has removed transparency which once was. This rare openness, this rare humanisation, this rare honestly, this rare vulnerability of someone deemed as a celebrity, is what drew many to Ms Hill who (from what I can see) has unfortunately and uncannily become the one who is UNPLUGGED from all of this.]
Being someone who grew up listening to and admiring your audible authenticity, I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to see you perform live in my city, and witness the undiluted, unmatchable artistry of yours, but in the midst of the enjoyment of actually being there I couldn’t help the intermittent feeling of disappointment creep in during your set.
Your song selection was on point however ALL of the performances were at least 10 – 30% faster then the original recording, giving us the impression that you just want to get this night over and done with and on to the next. I love to hear you over reggae but you have the luxury of singing these hits to this rhythm or double time and you chose to do the latter during the entirety of your set. If there are legal obligations not allowing to you perform your original material to the same instrumentals or at the same tempo, then on behalf of all of your supporters we can accept and understand if this is the case but because we are left in the dark about this we enter your show with a great level of expectancy to which is not met. This leaves a negative impression on us which then leads to negative reviews which then in turn results in bad publicity on a mass scale which is detrimental to the strong legacy you have built over years.
I will use some of your lyrics in regards to your timing. “You CAN get the MONEY, you CAN get the POWER” but you shouldn’t let your audience have to keep their “eye on the FINAL HOUR” of the day Ms Hill. If the majority of your audience are queuing up from 5pm for a show is set to start at 7PM and you make an appearance after 10pm… how is this acceptable Ms Hill?
I totally understand that headline acts should come on later on in a concert setting but it would be nice to give an opportunity for a few local warm up acts to perform their heart out, but I’m guessing the correct staging and carpet took priority.
Connecting with your devoted London audience takes more then simply saying “Brixton!” in a [ – insert city name here – ] fashion. Being a pioneer of an international culture which promotes the importance of “ROOTS” please understand that as your fans, we are essentially your genuine support system so talk to us sistrin! Let us know what is happening with you or what you are going through so we can gain a sense of understanding after all, “Miscommunication leads to complication”.
“It could all be so simple…” – If you are concerned about the media packaging an interview in a certain light I can understand but there are tools available where you can talk directly to your audience with no filter and an even more simpler way is to even give a minute or two at your show talking to the people who are literally there for you.
Last nights sold out show was reminiscent of an opening scene in Sister Act, where Delores’s ill tempo’d “Heatwave” performance was clearly hurried with a forced smile to get of the stage. It was like listening to ‘Miss Education…’ with your finger pressed on fast forward.
“When it’s all done, what did you really gain from?” – The QUALITY and QUANTITY was there but it whizzed by so fast we simply could not take anything in. I was satisfied with the atmosphere of euphoria but left feeling empty, nothing was gained, and I didn’t expect to feel after seeing my favourite artist.
I personally would rather a LONGER set with LESS tribute songs at a tempo where we can truly enjoy you and your talented band. It seemed very rushed. I was looking forward to you performing my favourite track, ‘Ex Factor’ praying that it would be close to the original version but unfortunately this too was transformed into yet another uncomplimentary high energy performance lacking any emotion. Your delivery when talking and rapping was so fast that we had to strain to hear anything you were saying, and as a result any weight you had in your lyrics became be as light as a feather supporting any and every thing that flew over our heads.
In closing Miss Hill, we haven’t met in person but If I did have the pleasure in meet you, the first thing I would do is, not ask you for an autograph or selfie but to simply give you a hug ask you something that maybe not many have asked you in a long time… “Are you ok?… no Seriously… Are you ok?”
I doubt this will ever cross your path, but on the off chance it does, please do consider the highlighted aspects of your performances, so that the remaining folk who recognise good music can enjoy you and yours, more than we did last night.