Music icon Prince has been slapped with a lawsuit by producer Jolene Cherry, who claims his interference disrupted her and label Sony Music’s planned release of a debut album from singer Judith Hill.
Hill signed with Sony via Cherry’s imprint The Cherry Party following a 2013 run on NBC’s “The Voice,” working with the producer who is credited on
In the court documents obtained by TheWrap, Cherry says she caught wind of Hill and Prince holding recording sessions and warned against distracting from Cherry’s efforts and potentially breaching contract.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles County on Friday, goes on to allege that Hill asked directly for permission to record a joint album with Prince and was denied. The pair continued working together, however, resulting in last week’s digital release of the record “Back in Time” — which was offered as a free download, even carrying an introductory note from Prince.
“Judith Hill’s first album — ’Back in Time’ — is now out, but rather than cheering along with her, the people who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop her career and album and worked to position Hill for her first release (as well as those who co-wrote many of the songs) are sitting dumb-founded on the sidelines while Prince gives away their investment for free,” Cherry’s suit said.
Representatives for Prince and Hill have not yet returned TheWrap’s request for comment.
Cherry, whose company is no longer attached to Sony, is looking to recoup her financial investment and wants punitive damages from Prince for making it “economically unfeasible for them to ever release Hill’s first album.”
Cherry isn’t the only one pressing charges in this contentious case. Earlier this week, Hill filed suit in New York Superior Court against the producer claiming she tried to smear the artist in national press.
In Hill’s documents, she claims Cherry quickly lost the faith of Sony Music, calling her “incompetent, erratic, unstable and wholly unable to perform the obligations that Ms. Hill had been promised both orally and in writing.”
As the company’s film division, Sony Pictures Entertainment, was preparing to release what would become the controversial “The Interview,” Hill claims she was toying with the idea of a parody song for the
The lawsuit said Cherry took this knowledge and spun it as Hill writing a love song to dictator Kim Jong-un and planted it in the press once the movie came under fire from the North Korean government, and later hackers allegedly acting on its behalf.
Hill wants damages for defamation, fraud and breach of contract.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.