Mystery Singer at Michael Jackson Memorial Revealed

Mystery Singer at Michael Jackson Memorial Revealed
Judith Hill
Kevork Djansezian/Getty

07/09/2009 AT 04:20 PM EDT

Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Mariah Carey are just a few of the stars who headlined Tuesday's Michael Jackson Memorial. But the mystery woman who led the late pop star's family and others in a sing-a-long of Jackson's "Heal the World" was Judith Hill, a resident of Pasadena, Calif., reports Rolling Stone.

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

From Our Partners