April Hill Interview by Tom Paul

April Hill has a new CD out called Love 360 Degrees which has garnered quite a bit of attention recently at radio as well as great reviews by Billboard Magazine calling the CD "a hidden soul gem". April has been promoting the record recently in NYC opening for Roy Ayers at SOB's along with some spot dates in the area which garnered quite a buzz in the Indie Soul community.

April Hill has a new CD out called Love 360 Degrees which has garnered quite a bit of attention recently at radio as well as great reviews by Billboard Magazine calling the CD "a hidden soul gem". April has been promoting the record recently in NYC opening for Roy Ayers at SOB's along with some spot dates in the area which garnered quite a buzz in the Indie Soul community.

April this recently performed in her home town of Atlanta for the first time and again the fans couldn't help but embrace her music. She brought her soulful sound mixed with some jazz and her lyrical flow of poetry to the M BAR LISTENING PARTY along with a Tribute show called 500 Songs for Kids http://www.songsforkidsfoundation.org/ which features 500 different artists performing the songs held at Smith's Olde Bar along with Heston and other Indie artists in the Atlanta area.

April has another show coming up on May 24th at Sugar Hill's (Underground Atlanta) Harmony In Life Event.

Please check her myspace and website links for more info on this new and beautifully talented artist at http://www.myspace.com/aprilhillmusic1 or http://www.aprilhill.com/  

Check the eflyer below regarding what radio stations are playing her first single "I Wanna Be Free" in both Washington, DC and Atlanta. There is also a list of all the stores where April's CD is available.

TP: You've have a great CD on your hands, can you talk about who assisted in writing and producing this CD?

AH: Thank you.  I was lucky to work with 2 talented producers Marlon Saunders and Shawn Lucas.

TP: You've surrounded yourself with some top notch musicians on stage and on the CD, can you tell us who you've been working with?

AH: I have worked with a lot.  Oliver Rockberger, Adrian Harpham, Joe Scott, Dave Inness, Matthias Bubblath, Carl Carter, Mark Gross, Biti Strauchn, Arif St. Michael, Nadine Ford, Trisha Angus. Just to name a few J

TP: How did you come up with the title "Love 360 Degrees"?

AH: It's funny because the title originally belonged to Marlon for his next album.  After listening to the finished product of my album, I felt the title and the songs fit perfectly.  So, I technically stole it.

TP: What inspires these great lyrical stories?

AH: Life inspires my stories.   A combination of my experiences and the experiences of people I know.

TP: How do you go about the steps from writing lyrics to getting the song recorded?

AH: I get the track, and let it lead me.  The music combined with what I'm feeling/going through at the time creates the song.  I then demo the song.  Finally, I go into the studio with Shawn and Marlon and with the help of background vocalists and musicians we record the song. 

TP: You were originally performing as a Spoken Word artist, can you talk about how you have to cut the corner between poetry and lyricism in songwriting?

AH: I thought it would be easy, but I found it a little challenging at first, because my poetry flow does not take into account bridges and hooks and that sort of stuff.  Marlon was helpful in showing me how to break up my poetry.  I still, however,  write my songs a poems first.

TP: Are there Poets that you have read that have had a serious impact on your lyricism?

AH: To be honest not really.  I have always been more inspired by the unknowns, who I just happened to catch at The Nuyorican Café or at some other open mic nights.  I always leave wishing more of my friends could have heard what I just heard. 

TP: You've had some great shows in New York City recently, can you talk about them?

AH: Recently, I opened up for Roy Ayers. It was an honor and a very exciting night. I also had a chance to perform at Frank's Lounge not to long ago in Brooklyn, which is where a lot of great talents perform. Traveling to Europe to perform was a dream come true.

 TP: What was it like to tour the UK late last year?

AH: I LOVE EUROPE, ESPECIALLY THE UK!!!! THEY HAVE AN ENERGY AT SHOWS THAT JUST MOTIVATES YOU AND LIFTS YOU. THE ENERGY IS SO POSITIVE. THE PEOPLE THERE WERE LESS RESERVED AND JUST READY TO HAVE A GOOD TIME. I AM GOING BACK IN THE LATE FALL EARLY WINTER.

TP: You recently performed your first shows in your hometown of Atlanta, please tell us about these special shows and the causes they represented?

AH: I performed in 500 songs for Kids, which is a wonderful organization that uses music to help children with life threatening illnesses or children who have lost loved ones.  It was great to be apart of it.  Many of my friends in Atlanta have not had a chance to see me perform.  So, I am so happy I had the opportunity to perform in front of my loved ones at Café Circa.

TP: How has your Howard University degree in International business/finance helped you with your music business skills?

AH: I would say it has helped in terms of professionalism, strategic planning, and budgeting.  

TP: Do you play any other instruments besides singing?

AH: I am learning piano, and I played the sax for years. I am picking it back up after a bit of a break from it.

TP: You have a very unique voice that sounds like a voice from a Jazz singer from the past, who are some of your influences vocally?

AH: Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Abbey Lincoln, Mary Stallings, Billie Holiday, Etta James, and many, many more.

TP: You've covered some great songs on your CD "Love 360 Degrees", tell us what made you want to cover both Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" and Bill Withers "Hope He'll Be Happier" which I know best from Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall album(essential for any Soul music connoisseur).

AH: I was bored one day, and I was browsing iTunes for other Bill Withers songs other than "Just the Two of Us" and "Lean on Me." When I heard "Hope He'll be Happier," I just cried and cried. The song just moved me. I have always been a Marvin Gaye fan, and "I Want You" is one of my favorites.

TP:  You recently released your first single "I Wanna Be Free" on radio around the country, can you tell us which station have embraced your single?

AH: WHUR, WCLK, WMGL, KOXL, WMPZ, KOKY, WLXC, MUSIC CHOICE, WTUG, WXST, KMEZ, WWMG and its growing. Indies, like myself, always appreciate folks calling into the stations to request their music. Thank you to all of those who have done or plan to do that for me.

TP: Are you handling your own business arrangement on your own? Or do you have some outside assistance?

AH: I have a great team (My Parents!!!, Fiona Bloom, Kevin Harewood, Michael Dumas, Chioma Nelson, Barry Heyman, Soul Brother Records, and of course Marlon and Shawn).  They all have been a great help to me.

TP: Are you working on any other outside projects right now?

AH: I am writing in Atlanta with some folks. Who knows, the songs may be on the next album.

TP: When is your next show in Atlanta?

AH: Late June.  Please check my myspace for specifics www.myspace.com/aprilhillmusic1

TP: Do you have any other shows coming up to tell your fans about? 

AH: I will be performing in DC in the near future.  Please stay tuned for a show near you. ;)

WHERE TO BUY "LOVE 360"?

http://www.aprilhill.com/CD Baby, http://www.itunes.com/ , http://www.dustygroove.com/ , http://www.soulbrother.com/

Atlanta-Earwax, Moods Music, Soul of Sisa, Sound Shop, Vibes Music and More

Chicago-Dusty Groove

Detroit-Pearl's Music

DC-Kemp Mill Records

Harrisburg-Mr. Mike's

Philadelphia-Sound of Market Street

Springfield, Mass-Reflections Emporium

London-Soul Brother Records

 
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Featured Album - The Soul Rebels - "Poetry In Motion"
Album of the Month - Plunky & Oneness - "Afroclectic"
Choice Cut - Chris Jasper - "For The Love of You"

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