It has been two months to the day since the world lost one of its premiere artists in Prince Rogers Nelson. Prince was another in a long line of terrible deaths in 2016 that have left us all feeling a bit more empty on the inside. In the weeks and months that have followed there has been speculation as to exactly what and why led to Prince’s death, everything from accusations to think pieces and everything in between. Prince was the kind of guy that elicited that kind of emotion in people. He was also the sort of guy that was looking to change, protege Judith Hill says. In a new piece in The New York Times, Hill opens up about the two years that she spent with Prince and how she was with him in his final days.
Hill went on that herself and other friends of Prince were looking into an addiction therapist for him, an idea that he came around on during his last days. He had even begun the process by undergoing medical tests with a local doctor — a doctor that arrived with the results moments after Prince’s demise.
“He did it because he was concerned, and he wanted to do the right thing for his own body,” Ms. Hill said. “And that’s the part that breaks my heart, because he was trying. He was trying.”
How much was she around him? It was her quick reaction that may have saved Prince during that emergency landing a few days prior to his death. She was actually sitting there, eating dinner and conversing with him when he passed out. He was just there, talking, then a strange look came over his face and he passed out. He finally came to when being transported to the hospital, but it was enough to scare her.
Did it come as a shock, though? Many have wondered if the people around him recognized his problems. By the sounds of it, she never saw any troubling signs.
“I only know what everyone knows about his pain — I read about it,” she said. In person, “he was quick on his feet. Never said anything, that this is hurting, never a sign of struggle. That’s why it’s all very shocking.”
Singer Judith Hill was one of Prince’s later “projects,” with her debut album, Back in Time, recorded and produced by Prince at Paisley Park. Hill was first discovered by Michael Jackson, selected as a singer on a tour that would never be thanks to his untimely death before she moved on to participate in The Voice and saw some success. Prince saw a video of her where she said that she’d like to work with Prince and the rest was history.
Part of what made Prince so special was that he also helped to elevate other musicians along the way. Sure, his methods were a bit unorthodox at the time and he was known to be controlling. Morris Day could probably attest to some of the horrors that he went through as a Prince protege, but he kinda chilled out in his later years and was more focused on just making cool music with cool people. The stuff that he did with 3rdEyeGirl is proof alone of that.
She went on to talk about how important he was to her and how she was leaning on him for all sorts of help, from navigating the recording industry to creative functions. When press if her relationship with Prince was a romantic one, the answer that she gave echoed that of previous female collaborators, from Wendy and Lisa to Donna, Hanna and Ida of 3rdEyeGirl; that it was an intense relationship based on creating art.
Hill is one of the last performers that was given that “Midas Touch” from Prince, but she seems to truly appreciate it. Her accounts of his last few days help to shed some light on how Prince and his friends operated; that yes, he was difficult, but he wasn’t afraid to listen to the people around him. For those of us that have delved deep into his past, that seems like a welcome change and makes it all just a little bit more heartbreaking. This was a man who was truly brilliant and special, who had his faults, but was looking to change and get better.
(Via The New York Times)