Willie Hill is a veteran musician who spent a number of years playing with touring R&B and soul acts before starting his own recording studio and record label in Durham, NC. Hill is a native of Durham and attended North Carolina Central University (located in Durham), where he played trumpet in the University’s marching band. He began playing guitar as a teenager and soon gravitated to bass guitar, a move which landed him his first band gig, at age 15.
By the age of 19, Hill was playing bass with the Communicators and had written a hit single, “One Chance,” which was recorded by the group in 1974 and is featured on the 1999 album Lost Soul Oldies, Vol. 5. Hill played with the Modulations in the mid-’70s, but left to play bass for Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts in 1977. After playing with Clark on and off for eight years, Hill left the Hot Nuts and, in 1987, opened a recording studio, Inspire Productions, in Durham.
He has since engineered for Lois Dawson, Shirley Caesar, the NCCU Jazz Ensemble, Mickey Mills and Steel, Shabba Ranks, Norman Conners, Stanley Baird, and Gerald Hinton, as well as doing industrial work for IBM, BET, and Duke University. Hill also started his own record label, Joy Records, in 1984. The label has been a vehicle for Hill’s music and he has released four albums since 1996, including Some Love & Peace, which appeared in 2000.