"I'm not afraid to be the person I am"
Lauryn Hill's success has been almost as fast as it has been dramatic. Five years ago her band the Fugees released an excellent album, Blunted on Reality, that didn't really catch the world's ear. Their next album, The Score, sold over 17m copies, making it the biggest-selling rap album of all time, and her solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was last year's most high-profile album, collecting rave reviews and awards like bugs on a windshield.
Now everyone wants a piece of Lauryn. When she isn't being a mother, activist or charity worker, she is touring with a 15-piece band, sponsored by Levi's (who have designed her stage clothes) and Emporio Armani scents and recording new songs in a mobile studio on the road. A film career is well under way too (she's reported to be in discussions with Joel Schumacher over a role in a Supremes biopic). She has no one but herself to blame for an agenda that makes Maggie Thatcher – in her prime – look like an idle layabout.
"Awards are like whipped cream, man," she says of her most recent Grammy success (ten nominations, 5 awards). "It's incredible, but it doesn't change the essence of who I am. I'm still not convinced that I'm a success. I'm still like one day something might happen, and I'll have to get another career. I kinda fell into this business, because I loved it, did it, but always stayed in school, always had other jobs, made sure that the bills were paid and the grades were good, just in case it didn't work out."