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Prince sued in legal battle over 'The Voice' singer Judith Hill

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Samir Hussein/Redferns via Getty Images

Prince is being sued for allegedly working with singer Judith Hill to release her first album as a free digital download, interfering with a contract Hill had with producer Jolene Cherry and Sony.

After Hill appeared on The Voice in 2013, she signed an exclusive recording contract with Sony and Cherry, a producer known for discovering Lady Gaga, and began work on her first album.

In the suit obtained by EW, Cherry alleges that several months ago the producer heard rumors that Hill, in spite of their legal arrangement, was recording with Prince. Hill asked if she could collaborate on an album with Prince, but Sony and Cherry denied her request as they had spent a lot of time and money on her first album already. Hill and Prince were warned that continuing to work together would put her in breach of her contract.

“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,” the legal documents stated.

Cherry is now seeking damages to compensate them for their losses, as well as punitive damages “to hold Prince accountable for tortuously interfering in its agreement with Hill and recover damages stemming from the fact that he deliberately interfered with its relationship with Hill and made it economically unfeasible for them to ever release Hill’s first album.”

But Judith Hill’s lawyer, Peter Haviland, says that the lawsuit is “nothing but a publicity stunt.”

Judith Hill was and is absolutely free to perform her music as she has done. She sued in New York on March 25 to confirm that she was free and to stop Cherry from continuing to bother her. Now in response Cherry counter-sues, in Los Angeles—improperly—even though a case is already pending against Cherry in New York. The Los Angeles suit is nothing but a publicity stunt,” Haviland said in a statement to EW.  “Prince supports, promotes and gives opportunity to truly exceptional talent like Judith Hill.  It is a shame that Prince has been dragged into this insanity, but Judith Hill will not be deterred from performing her music by the likes of some Jolene Cherry.”