Mystery Singer at Michael Jackson Memorial Revealed
07/09/2009 AT 04:20 PM EDT
Born in Los Angeles – her mother was a Japanese immigrant and her father a member of a '70s funk band – Hill, who had planned on singing backup for Jackson's scheduled This Is It! tour at London's O2 Arena this month, was surrounded by musicians since childhood. Initially she resisted singing professionally, despite constant praise for her talents. It wasn't until she discovered Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald that she realized "it was something I had to be a part of."
"What word best describes Judith Hill's music?" reads her Web site bio. "Innovation."
As evidenced by her magnificent performance Tuesday, this is only the beginning.
– Allie Gross