Gillian Hills, comes full circle with compelling new LP, LILI and podcast: A Life in Art, Film + Music
Gillian Hills, acclaimed British actress, singer/songwriter, and graphic artist, comes full circle with compelling new LP, LILI and podcast: A Life in Art, Film + Music
LONDON, March 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —
… At fifteen she was the original “Beat Girl” who went on to have a remarkable life, combining her progressive vision of art, music, acting, and international culture. Now, in her later years, Hills continues her innovative, unconventional journey through a truly artistic life with the release of Lili, her first album since she broke onto the scene as the first Yé-Yé French pop star in the 1960s.
Lili is an autobiographical testament to her years as a naïve young girl and later, as an influential teenage celebrity at 14. Hills collaborated with acclaimed musician, composer and producer Peter-John Vettese. Together they created an album of recordings that are at the same time secretive, seductive and exhilarating. Lili is an autobiographical account of her life from the ages of 11 to 19.
Stream Lili here: GILLIAN HILLS ALBUM: LILI
To coincide with the release of Lili, Hills has issued her own four-part podcast entitled: Gillian Hills- A Life in Art, Film & Music. The extensive audio documentary features intimate and revealing interviews between Hills and the film critic and broadcaster, Anna Smith. GILLIAN HILLS PODCAST: A LIFE IN ART, FILM & MUSIC
She has also released a new music video. “Mary’s Soldiers” is an anti-war song that Hills wrote and performed with Olivier Mellano in London, at St. Giles-in-the-Fields Church. The performance was filmed but never shown… until now. Recent events in Ukraine moved Gillian deeply and encouraged her to put the video on YouTube. GILLIAN HILL’S “Mary’s Soldiers”
Born in Cairo during the end of the Second World War, Hills is the daughter of British author, teacher, traveler and adventurer Denis Hills, and the grand-daughter of the Polish poet Boleslaw Leśmian. Discovered in 1959 at 14 while living in France, a photograph of herself was sent to film director Roger Vadim, known then for And God Created Woman. He chose her to play Cecile de Volanges for his film Les Liaisons Dangereuses. So much scandal ensued due to Hills’ young age that Vadim had to let her go. Still wanting to include her, he wrote her a small part.
At the age of 15 she was cast as the rebellious teenager Jennifer in the 1960 UK film Beat Girl alongside Christopher Lee and Oliver Reed. The British Film institute (BFI) has recently remastered the film from the original negative and released it on DVD.
Beat Girl features John Barry’s remarkable first Soundtrack. By the time she was 16, she started recording songs and soon become the first YéYé star in her adopted country, France A new wave of young singers had begun…
In 1965 she decided to return to England to focus on her acting career, appearing in iconic films such as Antonioni’s Blow Up, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and John Osbourne’s Inadmissible Evidence, directed by Emmy award winner Anthony Page. She would later live in New York as an in-demand illustrator. All her life, Hills has moved forward through her continual need to explore her artistic dreams.
She returned to the recording studio in earnest in 2013 which resulted in Lili. While making the album, recordings she made as a teenager in France re-surfaced in two landmark television series. “Zou Bisou Bisou” was chosen for the premiere of the fifth season of the American hit TV series Mad Men in 2012, and in 2020, “Tut Tut Tut Tut” was featured in the Emmy award winning Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit.
Lili is unusual in that all the arrangements were built around Hills’ acapella voice recorded in Peter’s studio after she sang her melody and lyrics. Before recording, Vettese had the foresight to ask Hills what each song was about. “This allows him to think about where his arrangement would go. When I sing the song, I re-live everything simply because all of it is true.”
Hills connected with Vettese in Havana, Cuba, where she had traveled in mid 2012. “I met Peter in Havana where he had come to work with Zucchero, whom my husband manages. Here I met all these amazing Cuban musicians, and suddenly I longed to be in the studio, to observe the arrangements, how they evolved. I was homesick.
“I used to have breakfast every morning with Peter Vettese and that helped. After about two weeks of this, Peter said ‘You know when this is all finished you should come to my studio and let’s see what we can do together.’
The record opens with “Nefertiti,” positioning Hills’ ethereal voice against keyboards, strings and rhythmic drums. “Blue Dress,” tells her story of unrequited first love and ends with “There was a girl wearing sundrops, curled up in its sparkle, loving love his love, even if it was borrowed.”
While LiLi remains a highly personal artistic statement for Gillian Hills, its subject matter and celebration of the human spirit is clearly universal. From the melancholy of loneliness to the joy of discovering true love, Lili is destined to connect and touch all those who come to embrace it.
SOURCE – Pilato Entertainment Marketing & Media LLC