Kendra Foster is one of those singer’s with a distinctly, raw and beautiful voice. The first time you hear her vocals, you will never confuse them with another artist.
The Grammy award-winner is confident in her craft, from being mentored by George Clinton and working closely with D’Angelou for his third studio album Black Messiah. But beyond the co-signs and accolades, the talent is still a student of music, humbled to sit at the feet of greatness like Ms. Lauryn Hill.
In honor of the iconic artist’s birthday, Foster penned a heartfelt letter for ESSENCE about Lauryn Hill’s work through the years and how it impacted her growth and community.
To Queen Lauryn Hill,
I had the Fugees’ first album, the revolutionary reppin-for-the-people, Blunted on Reality on cassette tape. With this album, it was revealed early that L. Boogie was a DOPE emcee, but she hardly sang on that release at all.
When I saw Sister Act 2 (before The Score was released) and she sang “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”, I was like, “GREEAAT DAY!!”. Her voice sounded so transcendental, like from infinity!
I was a musical child, growing up in the church, with music-loving parents, and a mama who sings like an angel. I had heard many amazing singers and the greats we all know from record to radio, but I had never heard a voice like hers. A voice, texture, and resonance that I couldn’t directly, obviously trace to any person or folk combined that I’d heard before.
And for me, a girl discovering that her own voice was shaping into raspy, not knowing how to let it come through, she was “giving me life” as well as encouragement and assurance.
The legendary “The Score” album was released and gave us more of Queen Hill’s EVERYTHINGNESS as she became the voice of their timeless hits from the grand slam album, making us yearn for more!
She is one of the DOPEST emcees in her own right, AND one of the GREATEST singers of all time… at the same damn time! Who does that? No. For real, how many have honestly been both—man or woman?
Naturally, we ALL EAGERLY received the ever-profound and life-changing, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
The songs reached back through the chord of our ancestors and connected generations to the youth in a new, beautiful kind of way.
Lauryn Hill is truly one of the ones. Essential and epic. A timeless great sent from the Divine.