Hil St. Soul's "Back In Love"

When a singer covers a song already definitively recorded by the likes of The Isley Brothers and Whitney Houston, there is skepticism; surely it could only fail to match the heights of hit renditions by two legendary artists.

Hil St. Soul's "Back In Love"

But UK-based singer Hil St. Soul’s rendition of “For The Love of You” became a Top 20 urban ac radio hit on the strength of tonal beauty and evocative phrasing—the mark of a great singer. That hit and follow-up original singles won Hil St. Soul a devoted cult following with her deft melding of classic soul and contemporary production.

With a luminous single, “A Feeling So Beautiful,” leading the way, Hil St. Soul now returns with “Back In Love,” her first album in a decade, released November 18th on Shanachie Entertainment. The new album may be Hil St. Soul’s best yet and resonates at a time when neo-soul is resurgent with a new generation of artists ranging from H.E.R. and SZA to Lucky Daye, Anderson .Paak and SIR.


Considering the rapturous response to her first four albums, the natural question is what took Hil St. Soul so long to deliver the fifth? Hilary Mwelwa (pronounced Mwel-wah), the woman who is Hil St. Soul, says it was all about the right inspiration. “I took a break from recording as I was searching for some greater musical inspiration,,” she confides. “I spent a year in my homeland (Zambia) collaborating with talented local musicians and curating some live shows. When I returned to the UK I got a call from Steve Ripley of Soulfood Music UK and he said the manager for Noel Gourdin was re-mixing a song for the UK market and they were looking for a UK songstress to feature. The end result was a duet called “No Worries.” That was the catalyst that got me back to recording again. Over a period of time I delved into a different creative side of music by doing some soulful house projects. That opened up my creative juices and resulted in several featured collaborations that allowed me to express myself in a different way.”

Over a period of nearly three years Hilary collaborated with producers Regi Myrix (Noel Gourdin, Lina) and Lorenzo Johnson (Ledisi, Calvin Richardson) as well as Prince Damon (Dwele) and released several singles, including the instant classic “One Life.” "The evolution of Back In Love was a very organic process," Hilary relates, “I recorded new songs over a period of time and before I knew it I had a collection of songs. My collaboration with Regi Myrix on ‘One Life’ was a defining moment when it hit the airwaves as it reconnected me with my audience. The love I got for that track kickstarted everything.”


Back In Love is one of those increasingly rare creations these days, a true album with every track a strong contribution. All of the tracks are originals except “Heaven Must Be Like This,” a vibey reinvention of an Ohio Players ballad produced by Damons. With the rest of the tracks produced by Myrix or Johnson, the album has a unified sound that delivers Hil St. Soul’s trademark combination of classic soul singing with production that blends contemporary and retro elements.

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