UK based singer Hil St. Soul boasts an impressive discography with 5 hugely acclaimed Soul albums to her name, including her debut album ‘Soul Organic’ (Dome Records), ‘Copasetik & Cool’, ‘Soulidified’, ‘Black Rose (Shanachie)’ and ‘Release’ (Dome Records). Dipping her toe into the world of Soulful House for the first time with producer Brian Power, we grab a chat as they reveal the fruits of their collaboration ‘A New Day (The World Is Mine)’…
A huge welcome to DMCWORLD Hil St Soul, where on planet earth are you today?
Thank you! I’m in sunny north London.
You have such a cool name, what’s the inspiration behind it?
Thank you! Hil is an abbreviation of my first name which is Hilary. As an artist I’m heavily influenced by soul music. That is the basis and foundation of what I do and have done creatively. When I first started making music it was heavily influenced and creatively inspired by sounds that originated from the underground/streets. That is how the name Hil St Soul was born.
What is the best piece of new music you have heard recently?
I’m loving Chaka Khan’s “Like Sugar”, it’s so nostalgic and funky yet sounds so new and fresh, plus I love me some Chaka Khan!
Tell us bit about how you first got into singing and songwriting?
I got into music by default. My brother used to have these great house parties and i remember the first time i took the plunge. I grabbed the the mic and just started vibing. The DJ was impressed with my vocal prowess and said i should take up singing. i had no idea how to get into the industry so started going to auditions with various production companies and producers. That process wasn’t very fruitful. The turning point was when I was at university and i took a year out. I decided to utilize the time to explore the musical avenue and found a local studio on Holloway Road and did my first professional recording – an acapella of the Stevie Wonder / Aretha Franklin song “Until You Come Back”. The studio boss heard the track and introduced me to 2 in-house producers and we started recording songs together. That was the first song that was released in the US, the rest is history.
You were born in Zambia, do you ever go back to visit the motherland?
Yes I do. I try and go back to the motherland at least once a year.
Who did you listen to growing up and have they had a big impact on your own music today?
I grew up on a diet of the sweet sounds of soul music. My dad is a proper soul man and has a vast vinyl collection, so I remember hearing artists such as the Staple Singers, Michael & The Jackson 5, The Temptations, David Ruffin, Diana Ross, Millie Jackson, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Candy Staton, Donna Summer, EW&F, Bill Withers, Teddy P, The Commodores, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight, and the list goes on and on. They’ve definitely had an impact on my music, the foundation of what I do has always been soul music.
You’ve already released 5 albums during your career, which one is your favourite and have you any plans to make a new one soon?
I think the first album “Soul Organic” is my favorite just because that’s the one that launched my career. When we recorded that album I didn’t know what to expect, but the response was overwhelming. The recording process was so organic and the best experience because there were no expectations. Yes, I’m currently working on a new album which I’m hoping to release in the early part of 2019
How do you think you’ve grown as a musician since you first started out?
I think I’ve grown as a singer and songwriter in so many different ways. My voice has evolved and become stronger and has more character than when I first started. My songwriting has also evolved. I can’t play a musical instrument but I now understand that my voice is my instrument, so I love experimenting with it more now. I’m definitely a more confident performer on stage.
Moving on to new material, you’re releasing your new happy project with UK producer Brian Power, ‘A New Day (The World Is Mine)’ , what can you tell us about it?
This is the first time I’ve ventured into the soulful house world. The song talks is a spiritual pick me up about facing one day at a time. It talks about the importance of having a positve outlook on life, especially as we’re always surrounded by so much negativity.
How did you first meet up withBbrian and will you be working together again in the future?
I got introduced to Brian a few months back through my musical guardian angel Steve Ripley. Brian invited me down to the studio for a recording session. 4-5 hours later a ‘A New Day (The World Is Mine)’ was written and recorded we have since recorded another 2 songs so watch this space!
New Jersey’s Jihad Muhammad has also delivered a remix, what did he bring to the table?
I think he’s added a dffierent twist and brought a different energy to the track that doesn’t take away from the original. It’s a great package!
Who else would you most like to work with?
In the soulful house world I would love to work with Kenny Dope, DJ Spen and Louie Vega. That said, I’m very open to working with anyone that can bring an awesome energy to the table and bring out the best in me!
What aspect of your job do you love the most – writing or performing?
I love both, but performing is where I feel I can really express myself as an artist. Performing live really allows me to connect with my audience.
And do you have any words of wisdom for up coming singers and songwriters trying to break on to the scene?
Definitely. The industry can be very fickle. Be true to yourelf. Be patient, determined, focused and above all do it for the right reasons i.e love what you do.
According to Hil St Soul, what makes a good song?
Great production, hooks and lyrics with a splash of your personality.
Where can we catch you performing live soon?
I’ll be performing with Brian power and the soulHouse family at “On Blackheath Festival” on Saturday 8th September and headlining my own show at Nell’s Jazz & Blues on Friday 21st September. For ticket info you can visit http://www.hilstsoul.com.
What record makes you say ‘damn I wish I made that!’?
Too many to mention. I love so many different songs for different reasons, but if i had to pick one randomly on top of my head right now I’d say “Optimistic” by the Sounds Of Blackness. That’s just a classic, uplifting and timeless song and the vocals and lyrics are on point!
Finally, what else is coming up for you that you can tell us about?
Aside from more hits from Brian Power and the SoulHouse family, I’m working on a new Hil St Soul album. The last time I released an album was in 2009, so it’s long over due! I’m also working on some tour dates here and abroad.
‘A New Day (The World Is Mine)’ will be released on Traxsource promo August 10th / Full release August 31st 2018 on SoulHouse Music