To say that Lauryn Hill has had an interesting career would be an understatement. It was only three years ago that the singer was sentenced to prison on tax evasion charges, followed by a string of issue-laden tour performances. However, her talent has never been in question, and she shows off her chops once more in a recent performance. Hill stopped by Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on Thursday, in what is only her second-ever appearance on the show, and delivered her spectacular version of Jazz singer Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” An eight-time Grammy Award winner, Lauryn Hill proved once more why the world holds her as an icon.
Hill is a heavy contributor to the accompanying tribute LP of the recent Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone. In addition to her voice talents, she was also an executive producer on the album titled Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone. The LP will feature several great artists doing covers of the late Nina Simone’s classic songs. In addition to “Feeling Good” Lauryn recorded a total of six of the songs on the LP: “Wild is the Wind,” “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” “African Mailman,” “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” and “I’ve Got Life,” which is actually a new take on Nina Simone’s single “Ain’t Got No, I Got Life.” Mary J. Blige, Usher, and Common are some of the additional artists on the album.
The performance was a show-stopping one and undeniably does justice to the late Nina Simone as Hill pours soul into her every note, definitely leaving everyone feeling good. The rendition starts on a familiar slow and sultry beat, but as the length of the video may tell you, Lauryn Hill’s version is a bit longer than Ms. Simone’s. Accompanied by a wonderfully full band consisting of three backup singers, horns section, and blues guitarist Eric Gales, Hill throws in an artful scat interlude and crescendos with her band to end on an emotionally charged note.
In their coverage of the “Feeling Good” performance Rolling Stone reported that Lauryn Hill has always held Nina Simone as an idol.
“Because I fed on this music, both hers and lovers like her, like my basic food, I believed I always had a right to have a voice,” Hill had previously stated regarding her work on the compilation album. “Her example is clearly a form of sustenance to a generation needing to find theirs. What a gift.”
Hill’s performance of “Feeling Good” is one that will undeniably be talked about for years to come.
[Photo Courtesy of Getty Images]