The enigmatic voice of 21-year-old HillaryJane has brought a fresh approach to the world of hip-hop. While being a relative newcomer, her smooth voice and inspired words have quickly garnered both public and critical acclaim. Her debut EP Stix and Stones hit the #3 spot on the iTunes top R&B Albums chart, and her songs reached #2 on Radio U’s Most Wanted, #8 on Amazon’s Top Free Songs Chart and the #9 Spot on the DJBooth.net R&B Charts. Now, HillaryJane is taking the songs in a new direction with the new acoustic EP, Stix and Stones Unplugged, releasing December 30th on the Infiltrate Music label.
A natural, gifted musician, HillaryJane created the original EP by writing the songs first on the guitar, and then handing them over to the album’s producers in studio to build and define the arrangements. On this follow up EP, the songs travel back to their roots and receive new life, essentially in the style they were conceived.
Also included in the project is HillaryJane’s creative cover of the Dove Award Winning Song of the Year “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”.
To create Stix and Stones Unplugged, HillaryJane worked alongside the elite musicians and producers from JahRock’n Studios (Andy Mineo, MC Jin, Derek Minor), taking a team approach to arrangements and alterations. This ‘live-in-studio’ approach helped give a new dimension to the young performer’s songs, while maintaining her strong hip-hop base.
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Anthems of a World Changer| Posted December 08, 2014
After landing the number three spot in the iTunes R&B genre with Stix and Stones, HillaryJane releases an acoustic EP with songs from previous projects. This seven-track EP combines her effortless vocals with lyrics that deeply connect with every listener. Her singer/songwriter style will resonate strongly with listeners of Demi Lovato, Rachael Lampa and Tori Kelly.
The opening track, "Chimney," is a sassy, unapologetic claim about surrendering to the King. It’s easy to feel pumped-up while listening to this song, especially when she starts to rap. Through the lyrics, she calls out those who chastise her decision to follow Christ by proclaiming "You ain't got nothing / But cheap bets fast threats / Deep debts and regrets."
This EP makes it clear that HillaryJane has decided to follow Jesus and wants her life and love to reflect that. "Celebrity" asks "What are we gonna do with all this money / Not a thing." This song explains that there’s no point to all the material things if Jesus isn’t a part of the picture. While this song is one of the more bubbly tracks on the album, it carries some deep thought.
The heartfelt ballad, "We Fight," depicts an argument that seems to be about a decision to follow Jesus. "Oh the remarks / to enforce your addictions / And the hard part / you can't refuse the commission." The pure emotion reflected from her impressive vocals makes it impossible not to see her genuine desire to lead others to Christ.
Every song on this EP was relatable, but the song I was most impressed with was "Stix and Stones." The music allows it to be catchy enough that listeners will be humming the melodies all day, while the lyrics are encouraging and uplifting. My favorite lines are, "Sticks and stones may break our bones but words cannot define us / Lethal words make people hurt but they cannot define us." This song reflects a "love God, love people" attitude while stressing the importance of anchoring our identity in Christ.
She closes the EP with a cover of the chart topping "Oceans." With just an acoustic guitar, she is able to showcase the beauty of her vocals. She recreates the song in a beautiful way that always puts chills down my spine. Out of all the tracks, this exudes the most confidence in a wonderfully humble way.
Listening to this EP was like getting to know HillaryJane on a deeper level. I felt as if I was reading out of her journal and taking a glimpse of her heart. Her vocals were so extraordinary that I didn’t want to stop listening, while the lyrics hit so close to home that I felt like she understood me. Just by listening to Stix and Stones: Unplugged, I was inspired by her heart to stand firm in Christ under all circumstances. HillaryJane has so much to offer the world, and I couldn’t be more excited for future projects.
Song to Download Now:
"Shotgun" (Get it on iTunes here.)