Lauryn Hill has remained largely mum even as she made headlines for her financial woes in recent weeks, but on Thursday, Apr. 25, the former Fugees singer finally broke her silence — with some very big news for her fans.
"Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released," she wrote on her Tumblr on Thursday evening, addressing rumors that she may return to the studio. "And yes, I am working on new music."
Hill, 37, famously disappeared from the music scene shortly after the debut and success of her August 1998 solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which is still widely considered one of the best and most influential albums ever.
In her post, the hip-hop/R&B songstress admitted that she has been dealing with a lot of internal struggles in the interim, specifically the "old conflict between art and commerce," an issue that she's battled "behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye."
"I've remained silent, after an extensive healing process," Hill wrote. "This is about inequity, and the resulting disenfranchisement caused by it. I've been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings."
Earlier this month, Hill was called to court for a hearing about criminal charges she faces for failing to pay her taxes in 2005, 2006, and 2007. The "Doo Wop" singer left the Newark, N.J. court without any resolution on Monday, Apr. 22, however, as the trial was delayed to May 6.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo scolded the singer for failing to pay her restitution in time for her sentencing, as she'd agreed to in June 2012. "This is not someone who stands before the court penniless," Arleo said to Hill's attorney, Nathan Hochman. "Actions speak louder than words, and there has been no effort here to pay these taxes."
So far, Hill has reportedly only paid $50,000 of the total $554,000 she owes in retribution. The total amount she owes for taxes is still up for discussion.
In Thursday's blog post, the "Everything is Everything" singer slammed the nature of the music industry that got her into such dire straits in the first place, calling it a "complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements."
As Hill pointed out, Miseducation sold more than 50 million units worldwide, "earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me)." Hill is believed to have made an estimated $1.8 million during the three-year period that she failed to pay her taxes.
Hill previously attributed her abrupt disappearance in the early 2000s to threats that she and her family (Hill is mother to six children) were facing at the time. Now, however, the singer says she's ready to push past the obstacles and create music once more.
"I am one artist who finds value in openly discussing the dynamics within this industry that force artists to compromise or distort themselves and what they do, rather than allowing them to make the music that people need," she said of sticking by her beliefs. "There are volumes that could (and will) be said."
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