UK songstress, Yola makes her debut appearance at Bluesfest in 2020.
UK songstress Yola is being hailed as the queen of country soul and will hold court in Australia this Easter when she tours as part of Bluesfest.
With her debut album 'Walk Through Fire' (released February 2019), Yola has won the hearts, not to mention ears, of listeners and critics around the world.
From getting to sing with her idol Dolly Parton to supporting Brandi Carlile, Yola says this past year has exceeded all expectations. “If I said that I expected any of the things, even one of the things that have happened this [past] year, people would have said I was insane, that I was expecting too much,” Yola says.
“All of these things, people would have gone 'hold your horses',” she laughs, “and understandably because these things aren't normal for a debut [album].
“Normally, second album, maybe, you're getting things like that so I'm fully aware that in a number of cases with things that's been happening and the response that's been occurring, that everything is moving way quicker than I or anyone expected.”
Personable and charming in conversation as she is on record, Yola gives much credit to Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and the studio environment he fostered for the warmth and what she calls “sparkle” of 'Walk Through Fire'. “It's plush and velvety but also a very relaxed environment,” she says of Dan's Nashville studio.
“A number of times I've walked into a studio and it's felt like Darth Vader's bathroom, too many times,” she adds with a laugh.
“So this is like the antithesis of that; it's designed to be homely and kind of kitsch and quirky. Everywhere you look there's just legends, people who have played with Aretha [Franklin], with Dusty Springfield, with Roy Orbison, Paul Simon, and so you end up getting this wealth of knowledge along with it.”
Yola will be in Australia in 2020 for Bluesfest as well as supporting Brandi Carlile when she plays her own headlining sideshows as part of Bluesfest.
Though certainly no stranger to our shores, it will be Yola’s first time playing the festival. “It's just exciting for me to be back in Australia, I used to come to Australia a lot,” she says.
“Just to be brutally honest, so much of this part of the world – Europe, UK – gets so dull after Christmas you need that escape. I used to depend on coming to Australia to get some vitamin D and get back into music.
“I've always loved coming to Australia as a way of almost kicking the New Year in the backside, but also the food is amazing, the culture is amazing. I really just love being in Australia, so I'm looking forward to that. I've never done Bluesfest before and I've heard so much about it, I'm so excited.”
Yola plays Bluesfest (Byron Bay), which takes place 9-13 April. She supports Brandi Carlile at Hamer Hall (Melbourne) 6 April and Enmore Theatre (Sydney) 8 April.