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Hil St Soul readies new album Black Rose

Hil St Soul readies new album Black Rose

Singer Hilary Mwelwa of Hil St. Soul (pronounced Hill Street Soul) is not your average R&B diva. She holds a degree in biological sciences, hails from Zambia, grew up in London and admits to having a teenage fascination with the music of Annie Lennox and Blondie. In fact Hilary is anything but average. One listen to her bluesy honey-toned alto, poignant self- penned lyrics and soul-drenched vocal approach and it is obvious that this R&B diva is truly something special. Hil St. Soul’s two previous Shanachie Entertainment releases – 2004’s Copasetik & Cool and 2006’s SOULidified – both landed top 20 hits on the Urban AC charts and further established the R&B/soul duo (Hilary Mwelwa and Victor Redwood Sawyerr, founder of the UK hip hop group Blak Twang) as one of the most honest and refreshing R&B acts to emerge in years. USA Today calls Hil St. Soul’s vocals “Always enticing” while The Associated Press declares “Hil St. Soul has an organic soulful sound that is all their own.” The duo has hit a stride that seems to be unstoppable. Hilary Mwelwa shares, “First and foremost Victor and I are good friends which has allowed us to maintain a great working relationship. We just seem to click creatively and find it easy to feed ideas off one another. It also helps that we have the same creative vision and goals.”

On April 29, 2008, Shanachie Entertainment will release Hil St. Soul’s highly anticipated Black Rose. “Hil St. Soul has a unique niche on the R&B/soul scene; in an era of cookie cutter production, they sound like no other artist,” states Shanachie Entertainment General Manager Randall Grass. “Their uniqueness comes from their special blend of soul, hip hop and acoustic elements. At the center of their sound is the voice of Hilary Mwelwa who is one of a small number of true singers on the R&B scene today who has emerged in the last decade, with the capability to mesmerize an audience with the sheer quality of her singing whether backed by a full band or just an acoustic guitar.”

Hil St. Soul’s Black Rose is a follow-up to the group’s last critically acclaimed CD, SOULifidied which The Baltimore Sun praised for its “delicious creamy vibe,” and Blues and Soul Magazine heralded the CD as ‘the best urban album of the year’ and declared “SOULidified is as good as it gets.” The album enjoyed great success at radio earning a Top 20 Urban AC hit with its first single “Goodbye,” whose video also was in rotation on VH1 Soul and BETJ. The second single, “Hey Boy,” (also a Top 20 hit) became a semi-theme song on Michael Baisden’s highly popular syndicated radio show when Hil St. Soul reworked “Hey Boy” to become “Bad Boy,” in honor of Baisden aka “The Bad Boy of Radio.” Hil St. Soul’s American debut, Copasetik & Cool (2004), also garnered a Top 20 slot on the Urban AC Charts with the song “Pieces.” People Magazine said of Copasetik & Cool, “Mwelwa’s gospel charged vocals fire up tracks like the down-home ditty “I’ve Got Me,” which highlights the positive attitude of the lyrics.”

Hilary reflects “Black Rose differs from other recordings in that there is a natural growth and progression in terms of the songwriting, production and subject matter. I’ve grown and evolved as a person since my last CD and I share some of what I have learned and experienced on this album.” Black Rose showcases Hilary Mwelwa’s trademark soul stirring, ultra smooth and hypnotic vocals along with her poetic and self-empowering lyrics and Victor Redwood Sawyerr’s tight head-nodding tracks and infectious grooves

It is no wonder why Vibe Magazine has said Hilary’s “rich, velvety voice warms the inside like a spot of tea” and why The Boston Globe describes her voice as “a beguiling set of pipes with a whiff of Whitney here, a scoop of Chaka there…” Black Rose features such highlights as the sensuous jam “Gravity” about the allure of falling in love and “Smile, “an uplifting anthem that is perfect for today’s fast paced and troubling times that encourages one to find happiness own personal oasis while “Ghetto,” a funky syncopated number that reminds one to remember who you are and where you come from. An ethereal song about how the world has changed. Hilary quotes from Stevie Wonder’s ‘Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday” asking the question “What happened to the world we knew?” Hilary explains, “‘Sweetest day’ is really about remembering and romanticizing about my childhood when everything seemed much calmer and rosier. I feel the world these days seems a lot colder and I wouldn’t want to be a child growing up in this day and age.” Of special note is the bluesy and previously never before recorded India.Arie track called “Life.”

Born in Lusaka, Zambia, Hilary Mwelwa relocated to London with her family at age five. As a child she adopted her father’s love of music, as their home was immersed with the sounds of traditional Zambian music along with such American R &B/soul icons as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. As a graduate of London’s Westminster University, Hilary had early ambitions to go into the science field and earned a degree in biological sciences. She shares, “While I was in school studying sciences, I started to explore my musical interests and I decided that I wanted to pursue music more seriously. I took a year off from school and during this time I recorded my first demo. I have never had formal music training but I was brought up on a diet of soul, R&B, Gospel and pop music from an early age.” Luckily for us Hilary Mwelwa’s path has led her to follow her heart and her music. Hil St. Soul’s recording debut, Soul Organic, came out in 2000 on Dome Records and featured a cover of the Aretha Franklin classic “Until You Come Back To Me.”

With the release of Black Rose Hil St. Soul is on their way to gaining the widespread attention they deserve as serious contenders on the R&B scene. Hilary confides, “I hope that when people get to hear Black Rose they will find themselves immersed in my world. At the end of the day the experiences I write and sing about are universal. I ultimately hope that my music can uplift people and make them feel like they have gotten to know a little bit more about me as a person.”

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