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Prince faces lawsuit for surprise Judith Hill release

Judith Hill: Back In Time
Controversy over Back In Time

A surprise email landed in the inboxes of the fans who bought tickets for Prince and 3rdEyeGirl's four shows The Louisville Palace earlier in the month. The email, sent to Live Nation's address list, contained a note written by Prince which said: "Just wanted 2 send U this baby picture of Judith Hill with her 1st piano. Loox like her parents, who R also musicians- had a plan. Well, that plan succeeded." and concluded with a link to download her entire 11-track debut album Back In Time, of which was produced by Prince and also performs on it.

The download remained available until 25 March, however on the 28th Hill's producer, Jolene Cherry (better known as the discoverer of Lady Gaga), hit Prince with a lawsuit for allegedly poaching her star. Judith Hill was a contestant on The Voice in 2013 and had signed a contract with Cherry to work on her debut album. Several months ago Cherry had refused Hill's request to work with Prince; he is ever keen to nurture young talent and had worked at the same time also with Rita Ora, recording a new track, Champaign Kisses, for her upcoming album. Hill, in 2009 was chosen to perform with Michael Jackson for his movie 'This Is It' and more recently toured with John Legend, maintains there was no such agreement with Cherry and has filed a countersuit. Cherry claims the album is no longer commercially feasible since it was offered as a free download and is seeking damages to recover her investment in the development of Hill's career. Prince had held a listening party for the album at Paisley Park the night before making it available for download.

US Hit And Run Tour to begin with 2 shows on 14 March

Prince 2015 tour
Prince Tour 2015

Prince and 3rdEyeGirl are to begin their 2015 tour of the US on Saturday 14 March, starting off at The Louisville Palace, Louisville, Kentucky (3rd Eye's drummer, Hannah Welton's hometown). In what is an extension of the acclaimed Hit And Run Tour which in 2014 focused on the UK, the dates and venues of the 2015 tour of the US will likewise be announced at short notice.

To mark the tour's opening shows WFPK Radio Louisville will on 12 March premiere a new song sung by Prince and Hannah Welton, named What If? - a cover of Nichole Noreman's hit single of 2005 - which, and another new song The X's Face (a production collaboration with Joshua Welton) are available free to who purchased concert tickets.

The concerts will be fully ticketed a few days in advance of each event - tickets for the 8pm 14 March concert went on sale on 9 March at 10am and sold out almost immediately, a second show, also on the 14th was quickly added and sold out also. In consequence two more shows, this time on Sunday the 15th were announced and sold out also. All tickets will be sold through Live Nation. More dates as and when they are announced will be listed on our dedicated tour page.

Prince at Grammys in first time for decade

Prince Autism Rocks, Koko
Agent Orange: umimpressed

To the delight of Hollywood's packed Staples Center auditorium attending the 57th ceremony of the Grammy awards, swaggering on stage to Funknroll, Prince, brandishing his trademark cane entered stage left and clad in what was a very outlandish orange suit. Prince was greeted with a standing ovation to present the award of album of the year. Prior to revealing the nominees his opening speech made reference to Black Lives Matter a movement which surfaced in the wake of the high profile deaths of two young black men in Ferguson, Missouri and in Staten Island, New York. "Albums - remember those? Albums, like books and Black Lives, they still matter" said Prince.

Prince then announced Beck the winner for Morning Phase, a result which left many insiders surprised, believing Beyoncé more deserving to claim the prize. Beyoncé’s friend Kanye West followed Beck on to the stage in protest, later arguing that the Grammys were disrespectful towards 'real artists', saying "Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé." But despite the Grammys promise of "something very, very special in the works!" Prince did not perform, however the 'very special' might well have been Prince’s vivid orange, light shimmering jumpsuit, which fashion watchers likened to Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba was the talking point of the evening. The Grammys have been accused of rewarding style over substance in their winners of 2015 and Prince's expression when presenting the award for best album revealed his thoughts on the quaility of the evening's nominees and the depth of contemporary music.

Prince plays surprise charity gig in London's Koko

Prince Autism Rocks, Koko
Prince at Koko, February 2nd

Last night Prince played a secret gig at Koko, Camden in London for a special show in benefit of the charity Autism Rocks. Prince previously played at the venue during his Hit And Run tour of London in February 2014 and for the charity on 20 May 2014, however last night's show was strictly limited to just 1,000 invitees asked for donations of £75 to attend. Those who attended - including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Noel Gallagher - were originally contacted on 19 January and asked to keep the show secret. Prince was supported by 3rdEyeGirl as well as Joshua Welton and Liv Warfield, and the set list, running for 2 hours 10 minutes was similar to those played during the Hit And Run Tour of 2014, save for the inclusion of new songs The Breakdown, U Know and The Gold Standard.

Prince plays another gig for Autusm Rocks at the Madinat Jumeirah resort in Dubai on the 4th. The surprise appearances come less than a week before Prince's next appearance, this time at the Grammy Awards on 8 February. It would be Prince's first appearance at the Grammy's since his career re-launching performance in 2004 during which he duetted with Beyoncé.

Prince surprises at Golden Globes

Prince presents at Golden Globes 2015
Prince presents at Golden Globes

Prince made a surprise appearance on Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the ceremony of the 72nd Golden Globes, held in Hollywood. Presenting the award for Best Original Song the auditorium erupted with applause and whistles as Prince arrived on stage with a silver diamond-studded walking cane to announced the nominees. Prince, who in 2007 was himself a Golden Globe winner for The Song Of The Heart for the movie Happy Feet, presented the award, "But, of course..." to John Legend and Common for the song Glory from the film Selma. Prince's appearance at the ceremony became the 'top moment' of the of the night on social media, which during the telecast of the event saw 2.6 million Twitter posts and 17 million interactions of Facebook relating to the ceremony.

Leak hints pending release of Purple Rain Deluxe

Today's leak of the full 14 minute version of Computer Blue (a.k.a the long version), one of several extended versions from the Purple Rain era to have popped up on the internet over recent weeks, has added fuel to the speculation that the production of Purple Rain Deluxe is very much in the works. Furthermore, the increasing frequency of the leaks hints that a double disk set (one the re-mastered copy of the original album, with a second disk comprised of extended versions) might be imminent. The deluxe edition of Purple Rain, which was to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1984 album, was announced in a joint statement with Prince and Warner Bros. Records in 18 April 2014. The release would mark the first re-mastering of any of Prince's music from his Warner-era career and is anticipated to be the first of several reissues of albums made during his tenure with the label in the 1980s. The release of Purple Rain Deluxe, if it is to happen, will be more closer to the 31st anniversary than the 30th, but as all fans have come to know, with every Prince release - a common trait, seen with the much stalled release of The Gold Experience, Ultimate and more recently, Plectrumelectrum - it is always better to have some albums released late than never at all.

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