Rising global star Yola is back with a new powerful official music video for her latest single “Stand For Myself“
The clip features Yola escaping from a world that has entrapped her, on a vintage motorcycle whilst depicting a nuanced definition of Black female strength and drawing on visual references from the music videos from her childhood. “My school years were during the 90s and 00s, and Missy Elliott’s videos were always aesthetically superior to me.” Yola stated, adding “I feel that the video is set in the antechamber to freedom. 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 track reflects on Yola’s belief in the possibility of paradigm shift beyond the mental programming that creates tokenism and bigotry, which have deeply impacted her personal life and professional career. “The song’s protagonist ‘token,’ has been shrinking themselves to fit into the narrative of another’s making, but it becomes clear that shrinking is pointless.”
Yola shares, “This song is about a celebration of being awake from the nightmare supremacist paradigm. Truly alive, awake and eyes finally wide open and trained on your path to self actualisation. You are thinking freely and working on undoing the mental programming that has made you live in fear. It is about standing for ourselves throughout our lives and real change coming when we challenge our thinking. This is who I’ve always been in music and in life. There was a little hiatus where I got brainwashed out of my own majesty, but a bitch is back.”
The album was produced by Dan Auerbach and has already been hailed as a singular sonic shift, with publications including The Guardian who proclaimed Yola as “one of the UK’s most underrated singers” following the release of her recent single, “Diamond Studded Shoes.” The Sunday Times Culture praised “a rollicking, country-soul swipe at inequality and injustice”, Paper Magazine hailed her new sound as “nuanced and endlessly listenable,” and Consequence described Yola as creating, “soulful pop songs that mark a distinct pivot.”
From the classic albums Yola discovered via her Mother’s 70s record collection, to her love of British radio, which featured a fluid mix of 90s neo soul, R&B and britpop—all which soundtracked her childhood and teenage years in Bristol, England.
Yola experienced prejudice throughout her childhood and career and navigated these experiences, as well as homelessness in London and stress-induced voice loss to launch her solo career in 2016. She achieved breakout success with her debut album, Walk Through Fire, which landed her four GRAMMY® nominations including Best New Artist, critical acclaim and fans from Elton John to Mavis Staples.