Yolanda R. - Soloist
I started out like many children - dancing around and singing at family get-togethers in my mom's living room. My mother always had the latest R&B albums and I would listen to these wonderful sounds while having fun with my relatives. My earliest memory of dancing and singing was around six. Throughout my entire childhood I cherished music and would sing to songs at the top of my lungs and choreograph modern dance steps while I jumped around in the privacy of the living room. This love of music and performance led to me joining my J.H.S. choir.
And as a native New Yorker, this naturally led to me applying to the LaGuardia H.S. of Music & the Arts (featured in the movie "Fame"). As a Classical vocal major, the world of music opened up for me. I then won a vocal scholarship to Harlem School for the Arts. Singing 'for real' since age 12, I have graced recordings, performances and choral groups with my Soprano. An ASCAP* member (Singer/Songwriter*) I've also performed at various open mics, karaoke bars, venues, organizations and schools throughout NYC.
Despite my love of, and passion for singing , I have strayed from my calling on more than one occasion. After meeting with many failures and internal fears, I had decided that I wasn't "cut out" to be a singer. It has taken me many years to understand the words of motivational speaker Les Brown "I will fail my way to success." We have to make A LOT of mistakes before we get it right. And Dion Jordan is a motivational speaker who has impacted me the most in my life. He said " I may not be the best __ [singer] (fill in your blank), but I have the potential to get better." In 2011, I resolved that before my lifetime was over, I would give my dream all I had. My burning desire to leave a musical legacy reflective of who I REALLY am in this world moved me to record and release my own music. Check out my interview on the Urban Forum Radio Show earlier this year where I discussed the challenges and obstacles (many self-imposed) that I encountered...
In Dec. 2010 I had my first taste of recording as an Indie artist. An Electronica artist was looking for someone to do vocals on his track. After contacting him, I found out he lived in another state. But through the miracle of modern technology, I recorded my vocals on my computer using my mic and Audacity software, emailed them to him and voila! He mixed the vocals with his track, which I had uploaded to SoundCloud. And that is how I had the pleasure of being the featured vocalist on Harmonik's "Nervana Remix” electronica single.
My first song “Why” was released in Dec. 2011. Years ago, after ending a short term relationship on a sour note, I wrote the song. In frustration, I pulled out my tape recorder and sang into it. When I joined a RAD songwriter's workshop in Summer 2011 I decided to give it a try. I didn't even have a song ready to record. Picking up my cassettes (yeah, it was that long ago) I started listening to all of the pieces of songs that I had started and never finished. The lyrics and melody for "Why" were the most complete. So I recorded it - I wrote the melody, lyrics and vocal arrangement and Philip Carroll composed the music and produced the song.
Since plunging in wholeheartedly, I have met with increasing success in 2012. In March, my single "Meandering" was voted on by the fans/listeners of ISB Radio and landed in the top 10 countdown on www.rhythmandsoulradio.com for two weeks in a row. My music was also featured on the 3/21/12 broadcast of www.legendsradio.net. In May, I was a guest on the Urban Forum Live Radio Show where I was interviewed and performed "Meandering" and "Why" in front of a live studio audience as the show streamed live on the Internet. I had the honor of being voted one of two June 2012 VIP Artists on Poze Productions and was also the featured artist on the Facebook page for Chessboard Radio in the same month. As of July 2012, I was the Featured Artist simultaneously on two websites: Poze Productions and BeatsUrban.com.
On July 24, 2012 I released my first EP entitled “Yolanda’s Voice.” It is a compilation of originals, standards and some creatively reworked covers. I tried to mix up the CD so that it would include a good variety of tempos and moods to keep it interesting for you.
In November 2012 I had the double pleasure of working on a collaboration for a song that was different from my usual style, and of completing what I call a 'mini EP.' I did the lead vocals for a cover version of the song "Life Is What You Make It" (originally recorded by Talk Talk) with the artist Aka:Man. Living in two different parts of the world - me in NYC and him in New Zealand - we combined our musical talents to do the song. I am so happy with the result. It is a free download available for your enjoyment.
On November 6, 2012 I released my second recording entitled "A Few Of My Thoughts.." And that is exactly what it is... four new songs are included which offer my view on a few of the important issues in life : Time, Love, Free Expression and Dreams.
Well, I continue to keep on keepin' on. Things have been going well. I am growing and exploring. And I am SO grateful and amazed at the reception my music has gotten! I began the new year with a wonderful interview hosted by Harmony Synclaire of Poze Productions/Radio. Check out the "short but sweet" interview here:
Two more collaborations followed in 2013 when I recorded a duet with Ywan Exotically called "No Air" and performed lead vocals on "Crystal Of A Dream" with Synch Dub.
An unexpected blessing happened on August 2, 2013 when I saw Kindred The Family Soul live at BB Kings in NYC. The show opened with Jeff Bradshaw who gave a superb performance. During his set, he came offstage and stopped by my table where he asked my name and then offered me the mic to sing. I was surprised and overjoyed and of course I lept at the chance! When Kindred The Family Soul completed their incredible performance, they invited audience members up to sing and I hopped up before I could start thinking twice about it, lol. Singing with them was one of the most EXHILARATING experiences I have ever had both - musically and personally. So that night I got to sing twice before the BB Kings audience. Amazing! You can see the video below (didn't get a chance to record the first time when I sang)..
All of my music for the last 2 years plus some new treats are included in the 17 track collection "So Much To Say" which was released on January 8, 2014.
Yolanda R. One Sheet Press Kit : Yolanda_R_So_Much_To_Say_One_Sheet.pdf
New Release! Free download for the holidays!
“It's Not Christmas Without You" – Nov.18. 2014
Alternate version is also available as a free download: