Born and raised in New York's East Village, Camellia Hartman's musical upbringing was speckled with a wide array of cultural influences. After studying the Suzuki method on violin, bass and guitar at rock 'n roll day camp, trombone in middle school band, and her high school a cappella group Sweet 'n Low, Camellia began writing her own music as a teenager, often collaborating with older siblings Odetta and Leon. Camellia has since contributed vocals and strings to groups such as How Sad, Diamond Doves, Great Caesar, Youth Posse and most recently founded the string ensemble, The Aster Quartet, backing up artists such as Vera Sola and Eric Slick.
Her latest single on Dala Records, Breathin’ Hard (Over You), took the world by storm and had DJs across the globe begging for more of that “Motown Sound.” Written, produced and engineered by Dala Records founder Billy Aukstik and recorded on a 16-track tape machine at Hive Mind Recording, Return the Favor exudes the warmth and grit of a classic Motown production and showcases Camellia’s playful yet passionate vocals alongside the Northern Soul heartbeat of The Soulful Saints. Featuring members of Charles Bradley’s Extraordinaires, The Dap-Kings and Antibalas, The Soulful Saints serve as a perfect complement to Camellia’s vocal performance on this steady shuffle. Add in a stellar baritone sax solo by Saint Freddy DeBoe and this track has all the makings of classic Motown hit while still packing a fresh and modern punch.