Yola, who could also be referred to as "The Voice," has dropped the title track off her new album, Stand For Myself. "This is who I've always been in music and in life," she says of the release. "There was a little hiatus where I got brainwashed out of my own majesty, but a bitch is back."
The powerful single, co-written with singers/ songwriters Dan Auerbach and Natalie Hemby, gives Yola all the space she needs — and deserves — to speak her mind. "The song is about a celebration of being awake from the nightmare supremacist paradigm," she says. "Truly alive, awake and eyes finally wide open and trained on your path to self actualization."
Yola has already had an incredible career, though she's only getting started. Initially a feature vocalist for various bands, as well as a singer in the group Phantom Limb, Yola stepped away to begin making music for herself. Now five years into her solo career, she has four Grammy nominations under her belt — and Kacey Musgraves is also notably a big fan.
This journey is what makes "Stand For Myself" so profound, with an accompanying video that matches its energy by showcasing the confidence that led Yola to becoming one of England's most respected singers. In it, she emerges in a wash of technicolor neon lights, inspired by all the iconic artists she grew up watching. "Missy Elliott's videos were always aesthetically superior to me," she says, describing the "Stand For Myself" set as "the antechamber to freedom."
Yola continues, "The feeling of escaping something truly oppressive and heading towards an unknown with a sense of hope and choice you haven't felt in a long time. We all have the capacity to go through this process in our own minds, I kinda look like a superhero at times, but I'm not. I'm just a person trying to be free."
The process behind creating "Stand For Myself" was arduous for Yola, who adds that "making this video was heavy. There was a storm pounding the warehouse the whole day and howling wind. Maybe because this song is so focused on personality revelations and the setting was so stark as well, I felt an intense gravity to the shoot."
When Yola finally got on the motorcycle to "figuratively escape the false world depicted in the last video ['Diamond Studded Shoes']," she says she "felt a supreme sense of power and self-love wash over me, because I'd already done this and that's why I'm here now making this video. It was the spiral within a spiral, where the end was, in fact, the beginning."
"Stand For Myself" is set to appear on her forthcoming new album of the same name that drops on July 30. The LP, which was produced by Auerbach, will also include her previously released soulful single "Diamond Studded Shoes" and be the follow-up to the critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated 2019 album, Walk Through Fire.
Go behind the scenes of Yola's "Stand For Myself" music video, above, and stream her new single, below.
Photo courtesy of Yola/ Video editing by Ademola Ogunnaike