This Soulful and Stylish Vocalist Knows That Backup Singers Have Voices, Too

Judith Hill’s elimination from this season's The Voice isn’t stopping her from stepping forward and claiming the spotlight. A former backup singer for music legends Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and, most famously, the late King of Pop Michael Jackson (you know, no biggie), Hill had the opportunity to observe and learn from the best performers in the biz. Now, she’s appearing in the documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom, in theaters now, which tells the story of the people on the mics who stand behind the stars.

Twenty Feet From Stardom shifts the spotlight to the people whose voices you hear, but don’t always recognize. Featuring Hill, Darlene Love (who worked with Phil Spector and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) and Merry Clayton (who sang with Elvis…Elvis!), the film will give viewers a whole new appreciation for what it takes to make music.

As a backup singer, Hill had to wear whatever the singer’s show called for. “When I was singing with Michael,” says Hill about one of her favorite outfits, “they made this beautiful sequined dress that I loved. [But] during the Michel Polnareff French tour, we had to perform in ‘magic dresses.’ The dress had this horrible brown mesh that allowed the dress to go from black to silver, but the fabric was all bunched at the top.”

Hill’s Voice elimination was one of those reality-show-singing-competition cases where America got it wrong. When she and fellow Team Adam Levine member Sarah Simmons got the boot, the Maroon 5 frontman was overheard saying, “I hate this country,” which sparked a whole lot of controversy. But it wasn’t all bad—although she gained some recognition for singing at MJ’s funeral, it's The Voice that really helped launch Hill as an artist. Now the one in the spotlight, Hill can up her fashion and style game however she chooses. “Being front and center has allowed me to come out with more dramatic fashion pieces,” says Hill. “I love very structured, geometric cuts.” If you really want to shine in the spotlight, Hill suggests “anything with a unique cut. Also, something that shows off your figure.”

When she’s not onstage, Hill likes to accessorize her everyday look with trinkets she finds at vintage shops and boutiques in Los Angeles. She describes her look as “elegant but edgy." We can't wait to see what Hill has in store for us when her debut album drops next year.

Click through the slideshow for Hill's summer shopping list.

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