‘Back In Love’ from the award winning Hilary Mwelwa (aka Hil St. Soul) is her first album in fourteen years and was released November 18 on the Shanachie Entertainment label. Constructed over a three-year period, and very much a labour of love, Hilary collaborated with producers Regi Myrix, Lorenzo Johnson and Prince Damon to release a series of singles that have now all found their way onto ‘Back In Love’. Take for example the easy grooving ‘One Life’ that has been described elsewhere as an instant classic or ‘In My Groove’ that has quickly become a personal favourite. Both were originally released in 2020 and a year later came the sumptuous ‘Blessed’ and a cool reworking of the Ohio Players hit ‘Heaven Must Be Like This’.
Much like the entire collection it is a song that fits sublimely into that warm place between neo and classic soul and later, as the release date for ‘Back In Love’ approached, ‘A Feeling So Beautiful’ became the latest of this raft of appetite whetting singles.
Other standouts include the mega soulful ‘Fingerprints’; the equally so ‘King’ and the aptly titled ‘Party On’. Elsewhere when Hilary eases down the temp the result is the magical ‘Sweet Heaven’ while completing the set are the insanely old school anthems ‘Amazing’ and ‘Love And Fire’.
Hilary Mwelwa was born in Lusaka Zambia and at the age of five relocated with her family to London, England. Growing up, hers was a home filled with the iconic sounds of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder to name but a few so it was no surprise that as a vocation she chose music. Hilary’s breakthrough came in 2000 when, partnered with Victor Redwood-Sawyer and recording under the name of Hil St. Soul, she announced her arrival with the album ‘Soul Organic’ which was followed four years later by ‘Copasetik & Cool’. Garnering a top 20 placing on the Urban Adult Contemporary Charts with the song ‘Pieces’ it paved the way for more of the silky same, first with the runaway hit CD ‘Soulidified’ that Blues & Soul described as being “as good as it gets” and then in 2008 with ‘Black Rose’ which included classics in the making such as ‘Wash Away’ and ‘Gravity’.
It also cemented what has evolved into a long-term relationship with the Shanachie label, an association that of course endures to this day.