First Listen: Tom Glide & Hil St. Soul – Soul Train (Ashley Beedle’s North Street ‘Stripped Back’ Remix) (TGEE Records)
“All aboard the Soul Train!” There we go along with Tom Glide as the driver. With singer Hilary Mwelwa serving as the master of ceremony in an absolute sultry way. And vet producer Ashley Beedle as the so to say rail traffic controller.
Hard to resist to such an invite, as a matter of fact. And more precisely when havin’ a listen to his North Street Stripped Back Mix. There, we’re left with a minimal approach which subtly highlights the beauty of the vocal performance. Just like a proper make up can do in regards to the facial features of a woman. This most likely makin’ this ‘Soul Train’ so cool to be travellin’ on…
Enough reasons to have us welcomin’ it in our Traxsource Top 10 this month…
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Contrary to what one might think at first sight, Hil St. Soul isn’t an individuality. But the name of a R&B/Neo Soul duo with singer Hilary Mwelwa acting as the front woman. Meanwhile producer Redwood Sawyerr obviously prefers remaining in the background.
Mwelwa and her family relocated from Lusaka, Zambia to London when she was 5 years old. With the young girl adopting her father’s love of music. Inbetween traditional Zambian music and American R&B/Soul icons, from Aretha Franklin to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. She started studying biochemistry at the University Of London. But her love of music led her to put school on hold and pursue her passion. Even though she had no formal training. Eventually recording her first demo back in 1995. This before returning to school and graduate by the end of the 90’s.
She soon after met Redwood Sawyerr, a producer, songwriter and co-founder of British Hip-Hop act Blak Twag. And together, they formed Hil St Soul. Releasing their debut-album – ‘Soul Organic’ – on Dome Records back in 1999.
Three extra albums saw the light in the 2000’s. From ‘Copasetik & Cool’ on Gut Records to ‘SOULidified’ and ‘Black Rose’ both on Shanachie Records. And although they failed to become massive hits, they fully displayed the undeniable talent of the twosome. Hilary eventually performing along with luminaries such as Angie Stone, D’Angelo and Macy Gray. But also landing her voice on ‘Getaway’ from the Steve Spacek‘s ‘Curvatia’ album back in 2010. And more recently bringing her contribution to Tom Glide‘s ‘Divas Got Soul album’. With both of them sharing the duties on ‘Soul Train’ with additional remixes courtesy of Ashley Beedle.