Yola – Concert Preview

Yola at The Atlantis

By Tifa Nguyen

“That’s the thing that feels satisfying to me, is to be able to be that vulnerable, out loud as a black woman.” (Yola Carter ; NPR)

Country-Soul music has been rocking in for the year, and it’s about high time. At the forefront of this scene filled with homogeneous smooth R&B inspirations and swaying ¾ time signatures is English singer-songwriter, musician, and actress Yola (also known as Yola Carter).  

Although Yola’s music is commonly labeled as Country, Soul, R&B, Americana, and more, there really are no labels that can define her music. These words only serve as directional guidance to listeners as to what her songs could possibly be defined as; if the world were a place where things can easily be sorted into boxes, the only term that could even remotely encapsulate her work is “genre-fluid”. 

Yola’s beautifully rich voice accompanies her musical artistry within her songs, which has in turn garnered her fans from all circles of vastly differing music scenes. Since she was young, she always aspired to become a singer, which led to her being a multi-Grammy nominated artist in 2020 with her debut album Walk Through Fire. In the year after, Yola released her greatly anticipated second album titled Stand for Myself, a work filled with the “genre-fluidity” philosophy featuring a mix of elements from pop, soul, country, and a plethora of other genres. It was later nominated for a Grammy.  

I first found myself listening to Yola in my freshman year of high school right before the pandemic shutdown. I found out about her due to her Grammy nomination and decided to check her out despite her music being out of the norm for what I listened to in my daily rotation (which was literally just the Baby Driver soundtrack and trending Tiktok songs that were making their way around my chronically online social media circles. Being a high schooler in 2020 was rough). I was completely blown away the second I heard the guitar in the first few seconds of “I Don’t Wanna Lie” and I was hooked. I remember trying to put my classmates on to Yola but they just kind of scoffed at me— most likely because it was a pretentious Catholic high school in the DMV area but honestly their loss.  

 Earlier this year, Yola officially announced a new EP titled My Way which she described as, “a utopia of Black creativity, freedom, and power.” The highly anticipated work is set to be released on May 24th, and in commemoration of this she announced a six-stop tour— two of which are coming up and will be held at The Atlantis in DC on April 15th and 16th. The first night was originally sold out, so a second night was added.  

 The 4 W’s 

  • Who: Yola  
  • What: Damn Good Music. 
  • Where: The Atlantis | 2047 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 
  • When: April 15th and 16th | Doors open at 6:30 PM 
  • Why: If you go, you’re automatically really super cool in my book 😀 

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