Hil St. Soul + Special Guest Noel Gourdin live in London
Hil St. Soul is the moniker used by singer Hilary Mwelwa. She originally began the group with songwriter/producer Victor Redwood Sawyer, a creative partnership that birthed four albums. Hil St Soul’s debut received critical reviews on both sides of the Atlantic with their amalgamation of jazz and neo-soul fronted by Mwelwa’s engaging voice.
Mwelwa was born in Lusaka, Zambia, Hilary Mwelwa, but relocated with her family to London at age five. Her home was filled with a varied mix of music, ranging from traditional Zambian music to the American R&B of Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. While she loved music, Mwelwa attended London’s Westminster University and earned a degree in biological sciences. However a demo she cut during a break in school became the source of a new career choice for her. It led to the recording, of 2000’s Soul Organic. The disc took Europe by storm and crossed the Atlantic on the strength of a smooth cover of Franklin’s “Until You Come Back to Me.”
Copasetik and Cool followed in 2002, SOULidified in 2006 and Black Rose in 2008.
Thirteen years since her last album, Hil St Soul returns with Back in Love. “I know people are going to think, ‘Oh, Hils is in love,’” she laughs about the title. “But actually, it’s really talking about falling back in love with making music.” She describes how the album pushes her to new heights artistically. “I’m more self-assured, just because I know what I’m doing when I go in the studio,” she says about her vocals.
The album contains two sizzling duets with Noel Gourdin and a stunning cover of the Ohio players classic – Heaven Must be like this amongst many more. Several commentators have the album amongst their best for 2022.