*I couldn’t believe it! When I first heard the track I thought: This is the forgotten sound that Detroiters have been inquiring about! When they say “where is Motown music” they’re referring to a style (genre) of music with southern grit and northern pizzazz that became the hallmark of Motown and all the other local imprints like Golden World, Invictus, Westbound and more. It’s like all that soul stew has been simmering in a slow cooker; or like a preserved keg of wine; not to be released before its time. And now it’s being served up in grand fashion!
I truly believe, Detroit-born and bred soul crooner Paul Hill is more than just a soul singer, he is a movement unto himself. His upward trajectory in the medium has been shaped by a number of significant influences. His love for true soul music was cultivated by his late mother Carolyn A. Hill. Since the age of seven the soul of Detroit’s original Motown sound has inspired his unmistakable style.
He was fed a full course of classic R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Funk. Listening to diverse crooners – from Al Green to Frank Sinatra, to Marvin Gaye – he had many influences and added flair to his music by merging their styles with icons like Stevie Wonder, Parliament-Funkadelic and The Beatles. Hill is a music connoisseur with a knack for bridging the old and the new. He is one with true musical soul and spirit.
Having a mentor like the legendary P-Funk master George Clinton, makes total sense that Hill would one day become a card-carrying member of the P-Funk All Stars. He has been featured on various P-Funk All Stars releases: “How Late Do You Have 2BB4UR Absent;” “Gangsters of Love;” “Family Series;” and “Baby Makers Volume 1.” Says Clinton, “The originality that Paul displays is part of the next generation of funk and soul music.”
As a solo performer and with P-Funk as well, Hill has traveled the globe sharing the stage with other musical talents such as Beyoncé, John Legend, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, R Kelly, Snoop Dogg, Prince, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sly Stone, Grace Jones, Whitney Houston, James Brown and Alexander O’Neal. Hill mentored and helped to catapult the careers of the Grammy winning production team, The Funktwons (Tim & Bob) by bringing them to super producer Dallas Austin’s company. He has also produced acts on Michael Bivins’ (New Edition) BIV10 label.
When Motown legends like the Four Tops, Freda Payne, Mary Wilson (The Supremes) Sylvia Moy (Motown hit songwriter) and The Dramatics were ready to release new projects, Hill was sought out as the one person they knew would create a fresh new sound for them while allowing them to stay true to their roots.
While Hill’s accomplishments are many (see his website) – helping the careers of acts like Destiny’s Child and Boys II Men; appearances on David Letterman and Jay Leno – the list continued in the early 2000’s when he released his own 6 song EP that displayed his production, writing and vocal skills. The indie release featured the tracks “Issues,” and the sensual “Need Me Some U” which was well received and later revived with a remix by Detroit’s Moodymann. This got the attention of Gilles Peterson who added it to the compilation “Bubblers 10” on his Brownswood imprint.
Hill’s new release on his WE/DELIC label, “E’Pee Albumedition,” is a collection of new songs which take on lives of their own with each listen. The storyteller takes you around the world and back again through the mind. Not only that, he goes all the way “Swagadelic” by including a comic book “Gotta E’Pee” that lets you in on how the sessions actually went, with the participants involved (including Eddie Holland of the famed Holland/Dozier/Holland songwriting team) and introducing the SWAG-MAN character.
With clever lyrics, metaphors, puns, and the “unmixtapeable” cool that is Paul Hill – “E’Pee Albumedition” is a REAL deal! Says Holland: “[Paul is] a great singer-songwriter, a real throwback. He understands and respects the craft of songwriting.”
One critique says this fabulous 9-song album is “a masterwork wrapped in cinematic sound-scaping, sensual lyrical poetry, and spread across a canvas of mystical funk.” The first and lead-off single “Ur Thoughts” (which I love) even features an impeccable cameo of George Clinton and is a “rhythmic, rolling, bluesy ditty that evokes late nights at a 1930s/1940s era juke joint patronized by a highly style-infused Harlem Renaissance-inspired clientele.”
Tracks like “4Life,” and “Sexy Voice” are as refreshing as the first hint of spring after a blistering winter.
With “E’Pee Albumedition,” Hill has managed to present a release that will be seen as a landmark point of reference in the ever-changing world of adult contemporary R&B/Funk. “Ur Thoughts” is being featured on Music Choice and is in rotation on various radio stations sweeping across the nation. Not making any comparisons, but Paul Hill is on par with the likes of Pharrell Williams – whose hit song “Happy” intersects Curtis Mayfield with Motown – and Bruno Mars.