Rising soulstress HILLARI talks the creative process & inspiration behind her emotive debut release ‘Desperate Soul’ + more


What or who inspired you to begin a career in music?

I was always surrounded and influenced by music since I was a baby. My mom consistently placed headphones on her tummy when she was pregnant with me. Then, growing up I sang at church and learned the piano and guitar. Studying and looking up to artists such as Daniel Caesar, H.E.R, SiR, Erykyah Badu and D’Angelo inspired me to approach music on a deeper level. I did not take music seriously until a year ago when I realised that I offered something special and unique, especially coming from a Scandinavian music market.

I never intended to be an artist, I was originally studying business at school. However, working on music from pure passion in my free time, it just came naturally that I wanted to pursue a music career. But I never knew how to. In late 2021, God led me to the right people, at the right time and at the right place – my name and music got recognition in Scandinavian territory. The joy and satisfaction it gave me; the musical process, seeing people cry at my shows, singing to my lyrics to my originals even before my debut release inspired me to do this as a career.

Your amazing debut single, ‘Desperate Soul’ is out now. Can you please describe the creative process and inspiration behind the release?

This original is produced by one of Norway’s most acclaimed producers, Morten Gillebo aka Mogilla. When working together, we often start off by jamming. There was no specific inspiration for this. We simply let the music lead us, because it might take us to places where we did not know even existed. Morten played the keyboard, and I loved how unique the chord progressions were. The soulful chord progression made me feel something, so I started recording on my voice memos. Musically, everything just fell into place in the most natural way. It felt so right. The voice memo was 14 minutes and 16 seconds. It was just him playing the keyboard, and me freestyling and structuring the melodies.

I went home, and wrote the lyrics. At that time, I was experiencing growth in the midst of uncertainty. Everybody knows that growth comes with a struggle, and it often comes with unpleasant emotions. So I decided to write about it.

Around October 2022, I posted a snippet of the demo version of ‘Desperate Soul’ on TikTok. It got more than half a million views, and people loved what they heard. This inspired me to finish the demo, so I went back to the studio with Morten. We tracked down some angelic harmonies, and soulful chord progressions towards the end, and before we even knew it; the single was ready to launch.

What differs you and your sound from other artists in the music industry?

The factor that differs me and my sound from other mainstream artists is my approach to music itself.

“FOR THE SOUL” is my slogan for my artistry, meaning that I make music that is from the soul, and for the soul. Inviting people in the space of introspection – because we are souls experiencing life in human flesh. Before I released my debut single, people messaged me of how my snippets on TikTok made them tear up, and feel something new. People in the music industry have told me that my music made them feel something they cannot quite put a finger on. I get so thankful and humbled every time I receive that. But I take no credit for that.

Because when I’m in a creative process of making music, I make it my goal to let God use me as a vessel. I let music lead me freely. I know that when music is touched by The Higher Power, it makes people feel something different. That’s what makes me as an artist stand out. It’s not who I am, but who I have beside me.

Musical-wise, it might be the rawness and the soulfulness that makes me stand out from the crowd. I love using organic instruments in my original’s production.


In your own opinion, what is the most meaningful song you wrote? What makes you say that one?

The most meaningful song that I wrote must be ‘Desperate Soul’. It’s about the struggle of letting go of what we think we know, our desires and the comfort that we are holding on to as humans. In this context, a desperate soul is a human soul trying to accept and surrender to transformation, growth and God’s will; in the midst of uncertainty.

It is the song that is the most close to my heart, because me and my team have seen how much it has moved people. The main message of this song is to strip down our ego, control, and pride to fully accept the seasons that we are in. To fully accept that this is who I am right now, and this is the very version of myself that God wants to work with. This is the version of myself that I need to take care of.

For those of you who are reading this, stay a little while on my journey – your opinion might differ after hearing more tracks from me! New music is on its way in these upcoming months!

Throughout your musical career, have you experienced any ‘wow’ moments?

Playing about 16 shows within 4 months in late 2022 in Norway and in Canada before releasing anything out is for sure a milestone for me. Watching the audience singing to my lyrics, and shedding a tear at my shows is mind blowing to me.

I had 3 sync placements on a Norwegian series called ‘Gangs of Oslo’ that will premiere on Netflix in these upcoming months. I also got the chance to be featured on the track ‘Innicity Blues’ with Norway’s well-known artists. This was a part of the series ‘FLUS’ that aired on the Norwegian National broadcasting channel “NRK”. And my first placement is with Tink, on her newest track ‘Streets Ain’t For Me’. In addition to that, seeing D’Mile, the 3-time Grammy winner producer that I looked up to following me and recognising my talent was also a ‘wow’ moment for me.

When I started traveling to Toronto for studio sessions and a concert, and balancing school was a ‘wow’ factor for me. It reminded me that I was already fulfilling my dream at such a young age. I was feeling so blessed and humbled at that very moment.

All these blessings happened before I even released any music.


Supporting Pip Millett

What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?

I would tell them two things: to never settle down for less, and work in stealth and surprise people.

What does the foreseeable future hold for you as an artist?

Stay a little while in my journey, and you’ll see for yourself the blessings that are ahead of us.

Anything else you would like to add?

If you want to experience music in a refreshing way, take a listen to my first debut single ‘Desperate Soul’. More music is coming in these upcoming months, and an EP is on its way.

‘Desperate Soul’ is available now via all major platforms. Experience the lyrics here.

Connect with HILLARI

TikTok | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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