Prince Accused Of Poaching

A producer for singer Judith Hill accuses Prince of poaching her client and recording an album of songs that were to debut on the Cherry Party label – songs that were offered for free download in a “Note From Prince” mass emailed by Live Nation March 23.
2 U

The email, titled “A Note From Prince,” is written in The Purple One’s distinctive abbreviated style.

“Sorry 2 bother U. / Just wanted 2 send U this baby picture of Judith Hill Her 1st piano. / Loox like her parents, who r also musicians- had a plan. Well, that plan succeeded. / This is Judith Hill’s debut album Back In Time. / Please spend some time with this music and then share it with someone U love.”

Below the text was a download button, with instructions that it is “for promotional purposes only/Not for sale” and available only until March 28. But according to producer Jolene Cherry, Hill remains under contract to Cherry Party, originally a joint venture with Sony until the companies recently decided to “restructure,” with Sony relinquishing its Cherry Party rights.

According to court documents, Cherry Party then entered into a “long term exclusive distribution agreement” with Sony affiliate Red Distribution.

The complaint says Hill agreed to a four-record deal and signed a recording contract in 2013 after competing on “The Voice.” The suit names only Prince Rogers Nelson as a defendant, though there’s room to add 1-20 “John Does.”

A spokeswoman for Live Nation had not responded to an email seeking comment at press time. Hill has a distinguished career as a backup singer for Elton John, Josh Groban and most famously for Michael Jackson – she was to have been his duet partner on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” during MJ’s ill-fated O2 residency.

She was a fixture of the “This Is It” documentary and performed at the late superstar’s funeral. She was also a featured performer in the Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” in 2013.