Hil St. Soul Biography

A biography of the acclaimed British duo

Singer-songwriter Hilary Mwelwa of Hil St. Soul
Singer-songwriter Hilary Mwelwa of Hil St. Soul. Google Images/rhythmflow.net

Hil St. Soul (pronounced Hil Street Soul) is a R&B/soul group that originated the United Kingdom, comprised of singer-songwriter Hilary Mwelwa and producer Victor Redwood Sawyerr. Contrary to popular belief, Hil St. Soul is actually a duo: Redwood Sawyerr prefers the background, while Mwelwa acts as the front woman.

Mwelwa and her family moved from Lusaka, Zambia, to London when she was just five years old.

As a child she adopted her father's love of music, and the family's home was filled with traditional Zambian music as well as American R&B/soul icons like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Mwelwa was studying biochemistry at the University of London, but her love of music drove her to put school on hold and pursue her passion, despite the fact that she had no formal training.

Emergence

In her year off from school, Mwelwa recorded her first demo in 1995: an a cappella cut of the Stevie Wonder, Clarence Paul and Morris Broadnax song "Until You Come Back to Me." She returned to school and graduated in the late '90s, but her sights were still firmly set on a career in music.

She met Redwood Sawyerr, a producer, songwriter and cofounder of the U.K. hip-hop group Blak Twang. They formed Hil St. Soul and released Soul Organic in 1999. It contains a cut of Mwelwa's original demo, "Until You Come Back to Me," as well as an acoustic version of the song.

 With one very solid album under their belt, Hil St. Soul had built a name for themselves in the U.K., but they hadn't yet reached the States.

Stateside Attention

Hil St. Soul released Copasetik & Cool in 2004 and finally started receiving attention in the United States. The album was critically lauded, but it wasn't a major commercial hit, a trend that has persisted with each of their subsequent albums.

2006's SOULidified and 2008's Black Rose may not have been massively successful hits, but the critical acclaim each received demonstrates Hil St. Soul's impressive breadth of talent.

Mwelwa is an extremely versatile singer, and is able to perform classic soul, smooth jazz, gospel and uptempo funk with ease. She has performed alongside the likes of Kelis, Angie Stone, D'Angelo and Macy Gray. Mwelwa is also quite an accomplished songwriter, having penned songs for R&B acts Incognito and Maysa Leak. Unfortunately Hil St. Soul hasn't issued any new music since 2008, but fans and critics are patiently waiting for the return of their subtle, soulful sound.

 

Popular Songs:

  • "Until You Come Back to Me" Download/Purchase
  • "For the Love of You" Download/Purchase
  • "Hey Boy" Download/Purchase
  • "Baby Come Over" Download/Purchase
  • "Goodbye" Download/Purchase
  • "Until You Come Back to Me (Acoustic Version)" Download/Purchase
  • "Pieces" Download/Purchase

 

Discography:

  • Soul Organic (1999)
  • Copasetik & Cool (2002)
  • SOULidified (2006)
  • Black Rose (2008)