Jazz sensation embarks on emotional tour

14:48 16 February 2012

YolanDa Brown

YolanDa Brown

Archant

»The thing that strikes you most about YolanDa Brown is the way she’s so unassuming for a woman who has two MOBO awards, has played in front of presidents and worked as a TV presenter – all before the age of 30.

The saxophonist and singer is modest about her achievements, but warm, earthy and bubbly after achieving so much despite being a latecomer to jazz.

She only took up the saxophone aged 13, although previously played the piano, violin and drums before the age of seven.

Her interest in the saxophone started because she “wanted to play a wind instrument” and says she did not look back because it felt so natural. She sees the saxophone as an extension of herself.

“The sax is my voice. I can communicate my life with music,” she says.

YolanDa’s talent was spotted a few years later at an African-Caribbean society event in London where a representative of the High Commission decided to fly her to Jamaica to play for the president when she was 18.

‘Ambassador’

Playing sax remained a hobby and she decided to study business at university.

It was not until she was doing a PhD, aged 24, that she started working full-time as a musician. The following year in 2008 she won her first MOBO for Best Jazz and the rest is history.

Yolanda is touring to promote her debut album, April Showers, May Flowers.

She said: “The album is about going through hard times and growing. If you believe you can do it, you can get to the good times.

“I do find when I’m playing, it’s easy to be emotional. Some audience members say ‘I really did feel what you were saying’.”

When not performing, she’s a music ambassador for the Mayor of London’s Fund for Young Musicians and Yamaha, teaching children to play instruments.

She added: “Music is important in a child’s education.

“We are so caught up in league tables, we forget about the emotive, creative side.”

n YolanDa Brown is at Hammersmith Apollo on February 17. To book tickets, call 08448 444748.

Latest Stories

The twins, who spend most of their day latched onto dad, have been named Winnie and Piglet by zookeepers ahead of this weekend’s Winnie the bear celebration at the Little Creatures family festival.

These two new arrivals, born just in time for a weekend celebrating the bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh, have been given some very apt names.

Read more
15:14
Police were called to the house of Sam Taylor Wood, seen here with husband Aaron Taylor Johnson at the European premiere of 'Godzilla' in Leicester Square in May, after the machine gun was spotted through a window  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Sam Taylor-Johnson got a visit from the firearms squad last night after a spotter-by noticed a machine gun in her house and called the police.

Read more
Firearms officers arrested the suspect

Members of the public helped to thwart an attempted armed robbery in Whitechapel yesterday.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

Quizzes

Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more