YolanDa Brown: Let The Tempest Blow

JS recognises YolanDa Brown as an individual with many outstanding qualities. A musician, broadcaster, philanthropist, educator and writer with multiple awards to her name. She is actively involved in health, education and politics; lobbying parliament on behalf of young people. She is an Ambassador and Chair to several charities. A first-class graduate with two Masters Degrees, YolanDa is also the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of East London. Placing her PhD on hold after four years, to focus on music and touring, she also found the time to learn Spanish.
Mar 2018

Since her first album April Showers May Flowers (2012), YolanDa has been a sought-after artist; her versatility attracts a list of collaborators and invitations from media and academia. The self-taught multi instrumentalist received her first instrument at the age of thirteen, a gift from her parents. YolanDa experimented with a plethora of instruments before settling on the one instrument that truly channeled her musical essence - the Saxophone.

“It’s the idea of being able to express yourself.  The song might not be the same every single time and I don’t know if British culture is ready for that uncertainty of what may happen on the stage, they like to know it’s going to happen this way and that’s it.”

I think that politicians, musicians and educators alike are realising the importance of music education.

Her passions do not only reside in playing instruments but ensuring that young people benefit from them too.

"I do a lot of music education I go in and do workshops and talks and lobbying parliament for music education and I am aware that the music schemes are not what they used to be.  However, it’s not sort of dead yet.  I think it is possible for improvisation and the idea of creating real music is about and the access to musical instruments is coming round again."

YolanDa is resolute in ensuring that these schemes continue to exist and allow young people to access musical instruments and benefit from the joys that they can bring in their many forms.

"I think that politicians, musicians and educators alike are realising the importance of music education. The emotional sense as well as the technical sense.  So I don’t think it’s at a dire point yet, however, if we continue on the current path it would be very difficult to find emotion from young people."

"I find the idea of being able to put through what you’re feeling into music very important. So it’s my fight as well.  I’m there working with lots of bodies and my own foundation to ensure that music education is accessible for young musicians. Expressing music by beating a drum, singing and learning an instrument”.

Julie Valentine and YolanDa Brown

In a career spanning less than a decade, YolanDa’s achievements are nothing short of impressive. Her media prowess has seen her present the BBC Proms,  the MOBO Awards,  appear on several television shows and be commissioned by British Airways to present radio shows;  exposure which, if nothing else, puts a spotlight on causes that she cares about.

"My foundation is called Yolanda Browns Foundation.  I have a music award at the moment that works with young people who are going into a career in music but also providing musical instruments for young musicians that don’t have access"

Yolanda is currently touring and promoting her 2017 Love Politics War Album in Australia. She returns to the UK in April for some respite before jetting off to the United States and just in case you wondered what she did for downtime, she drops the reed for speed. Indeed you are likely to find her driving fast cars at a racing track. Oh, and did we mention that she’s a wife and mother? Is there anything this superwoman can’t do?