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Clara Hill

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A onetime member of Berlin's Sonar Kollektiv roster, electro-soul vocalist Clara Hill has dabbled in the various genres of Germany's urban dance scene since the early '90s. Falling in love with the Fender Rhodes electric piano at age 17, she formed the local acid jazz duo Superjuice (though the duo later worked together as Hill & Funès), and the two gained a following in Berlin's many dance clubs. At one of their shows, Hill met DJ Alexander Barck of Germany's famed jazz-house ensemble Jazzanova. In 1998, Barck pressed her talents upon fellow Jazzanova producers Stefan Leisering and Axel Reinemer, who were taken aback by Hill's soothing vocals. Leisering decided to produce one of her first professional songs, "No Use," which would end up on Jazzanova's landmark In Between album four years later. Before Jazzanova set up their Sonar Kollektiv record label, Hill had put together another group in 1997, the hip-hop jazz band Stereoton. The band cut some of the label's first tracks, like "Kick Me Off," which appeared on some early compilations around the turn of the century. It was clear that the experience with Jazzanova was helping her evolve into a singer who could stand on her own. Thus, in early 2004, Sonar Kollektiv suitably released her first solo album, Restless Times. Hill's reflective song lyrics were featured over the dreamy, soul-inducing deep house produced by Leisering and Reinemer (known together as Extended Spirit) as well as her old friend Funès. The album caught the attention of some of the genre's most reputable artists, including Vikter Duplaix, Atjazz, and King Britt. They each contributed to the making of her 2006 follow-up, All I Can Provide. She took a slight turn toward acoustic material with 2007's Sideways, credited to Clara Hill's Folkwaves. In 2013, she released her downcast fourth album, Walk the Distance, featuring collaborations with Schneider TM, Hanno Leichtmann, and Kalle Kalima. It was issued by the Tapete label. ~ Cyril Cordor

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