Hilary Mwlewa dons her Hil St. Soul alias to return with Back In Love after stepping away for a decade. The Zambian-born chanteuse reintroduces her contemporary meets classic style with a crew of storied producers including Prince Damon, Regi Myrix and Lorenzo Johnson, who have collectively worked with some of the most recognized R&B denizens of the past two decades including Ledisi, Calvin Richardson, Noel Gourdin and Dwele. Their three-year period of creativity dipped in nostalgia with a swaggy cover of the Ohio Players’ “Heaven Must Be Like This.” But Mwlewas’ original composition “One Life” was the watershed moment for the album. She says, “The evolution of Back In Love was a very organic process. I recorded new songs over a period of time and before I knew it I had a collection of songs. My collaboration with Regi Myrix on ‘One Life’ was a defining moment when it hit the airwaves as it reconnected me with my audience. The love I got for that track kickstarted everything.”
Mwelwas’ candied tone is still intact with undertones of sultriness whether she is singing about the earthy side of love on “In My Groove” or making a case for a romantic weekend via “One Life.” Gourdin joins her on their “Blessed” duet and their vocals convey an affectionate celebration of togetherness. The wait for Back In Love reveals time well spent as Mwlewa has the same high energy on all of the songs. The fiery “Sweet Heaven” is near the end of the album and she turns up the intensity by giving her romantic testimonial with only an acoustic guitar to accompany her in the song.
Back In Love was a journey that took Mwelwa away from her London residence and back home to her native Zambia and an exploration of house music before the new songs would form. The fans who started the ride with her from the beginning will be relieved to hear her new music and there will be plenty of un-initiated R&B lovers who will pledge some part of BIL to their playlists.