YolanDa Brown

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YolanDa Brown
Yolanda Brown 2012.jpg
Background information
Birth name Yolanda Faye Brown
Born (1982-10-04) 4 October 1982 (age 35)
London, United Kingdom
Genres Jazz, Urban Contemporary, Reggae, R&B, Gospel
Instruments Tenor, soprano and alto saxophone, EWI
Years active 2007–present
Website www.yolandabrown.co.uk
YolanDa Brown Feb 2012

YolanDa Brown, born to Jamaican parents in Barking, London, England (4 October 1982),[1] is a British saxophonist and composer.[2][3]

A past student of Bancroft's School, Beal High School,[4] and the University of Kent, Kent Business School[5] in Canterbury, England, and the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain.[6] Her undergraduate Master's dissertation was on "Combining SSM (Soft systems methodology) and DESM (Discrete event simulation) in an Athletics Club."[7] She also fronted a TV talk show on a Sky Channel and appeared in inspirational idents for BET network.(Black Entertainment Television)

The UK's premier female saxophonist,[8] Yolanda Brown’s sound is influenced primarily by the modal values of jazz, soul music and reggae. She is a 2008 MOBO "Best Jazz" winner[9] and UMA[10] nominee. In 2009, she became the first musician to not only be nominated in the "Best Jazz" category of the MOBOs in consecutive years, but also the first to win it two years running. In 2009 she also won "Best Jazz" at the UMAs.

A prolific collaborator, Brown has worked with musicians such as Jools Holland, Grammy Award-winners Morgan Heritage, Lemar, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, reggae legend Bob Marley’s son Julian Marley, Matt Cardle, Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes, The Floacist from the duo Floetry, Mica Paris, Omar Lye-Fook, Wretch 32 Sonny Bradshaw,[11] Otis Williams and The Temptations along with their legendary manager Shelly Berger.[12]

Brown's pivotal performances of 2010 included an invitation to take part in PanJazz 2010 on its transfer from the Lincoln Center in New York to the UK.[13] This saw her performing alongside musicians including Etienne Charles and Leon Foster Thomas.[14] Her 19 November concert at IndigO2 at the O2 Arena, London continued her record of musically excellent and uniquely entertaining sold out events.[15]

On 2 December 2010, Brown was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts by the University of East London[16] in a ceremony at the Barbican Theatre, London.

For YolanDa music has always been a therapeutic and enabling force that promotes 360-degree communication and empowering links across all humankind. In striving to share and involve the many rather than an elite few through the wonder of music, she was honoured to become a Celebrity Ambassador for HRH The Prince of Wales and His Prince's Trust charity. She is an ambassador for the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts.[17]

She is a Yamaha-endorsed artist[18] and was appointed the UK's class band ambassador in February 2011. Yamaha Class Band is a whole-class wind band teaching method, which piloted up until July 2012, in a collaboration between Yamaha UK and two of the UK's leading music services.[19]

She is also a patron of the Mayor of London's Fund for Young Musicians, which provides outstanding progression and development opportunities to young people who demonstrate significant musical talent and commitment.[20]

In February 2012 YolanDa released her first album. Remaining an independent artist, she kicked off a UK and overseas tour in support of the album with two benchmark concerts at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo accompanied by her full band and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. At the end of the year, April Showers, May Flowers featured as an album of the year on the UK iTunes "Best Jazz Album of 2012" list.

In addition, during 2016 YolanDa embarked upon her biggest and most extensive nationwide tour to date, featuring her musical hybrid programme entitled “Reggae Love Songs”.[21] Yolanda’s Reggae Love Songs tour ran up to November 2016 when she returned to London to headline her own show at the Barbican Centre as a part of the London Jazz Festival to officially end the tour and reveal the title of her new album .[22] In spring 2016, YolanDa Brown returned on selected dates as special guest during the UK leg of Billy Ocean’s “When The Going Gets Tough” 30th Anniversary tour.[23]

Brown's sophomore album entitled Love Politics War was released on 16 June 2017. The album features original compositions blending reggae, jazz and soul written and performed in YolanDa’s own style, labelled “Posh Reggae” by YolanDa Brown aficionados. It was her first album to be made available not only as a CD and download but also on vinyl.

During 2017 YolanDa toured her new album at home and abroad, and was a special guest on national tours by Billy Ocean and Beverley Knight as well as performing on a special British Airways flight to New Orleans for Mardi Gras[24] to inaugurate the airlines new service to that city. Since November 2016 YolanDa has hosted and presented two inflight programmes series, one featuring live music performances and interviews, the other gospel music airing monthly on British Airways flights worldwide.[25] She was also a presenter on several television programmes transmitted as a part of the BBC Proms offerings in 2017, including a special Proms tribute to jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, in the centenary year of their births and The Last Night of the Proms from Around the UK.

Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances, announced the appointment of YolanDa as it's new Chair, commencing January 2018.[26]


EPs and albums[edit]

  • YolanDa Brown, Finding my voice(2007 CD - Blackgrape Productions)
  • A Step Closer (2008 EP release – Black Grape Productions)
  • April Showers, May Flowers (February 2012 Album release – Black Grape Records)
  • April Showers, May Flowers-Live Sessions (May 2013 Album release CD/DVD – Black Grape Records)
  • Love Politics War (June 2017 Album release CD/digital/Vinyl – Black Grape Records)

Chart positions[edit]

Audited and Monitored chart position in the UK[27]

Year Album Chart Peak position
April 2012 April Showers, May Flowers UK iTunes Jazz Charts 1
April 2012 April Showers, May Flowers UK Amazon Jazz Charts 1
April 2012 A Step Closer EP UK iTunes Jazz Charts 2
April 2012 April Showers, May Flowers UK Amazon Pop Charts 3
April 2012 April Showers, May Flowers UK Jazz and Blues Charts Official Charts Company 7
June 2017 Love Politics War UK Jazz and Blues Charts Official Charts Company 3

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Category Award Result
Music Awards
2008 WIEA Awards Best Musician 2008 Won
Urban Music Awards Best Jazz Act 2008 Nominated
Music of Black Origin Awards Best Jazz Act 2008 Won
2009 Marlborough Jazz Festival Best Performer 2009 Won
Urban Music Awards Best Jazz Act 2009 Won
Urban Music Awards Most Inspiring Act 2009 Nominated
Music of Black Origin Awards Best Jazz Act 2009 Won


  1. ^ All About Jazz. "YolanDa Brown All About Jazz Page". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Grant, Dionne (20 July 2008). "Britain's hottest new sax symbol". The Voice. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  3. ^ Myers, Maxine (18 March 2008). "In celebration of my sisters". The Voice. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  4. ^ "YolanDa Brown holds saxophone workshop". News. Royal Albert Hall. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Media Office Kent Business School. "Kent student is one of Britain's most outstanding black students". University of Kent. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  6. ^ University of Oviedo. "University of Oviedo". University of Oviedo. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  7. ^ PhD Poster Presentation 07/08 Archived 31 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "YolanDa Brown in concert in Cardiff". The Guardian. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "YolanDa Brown Wins "Best Jazz" MOBO Awards 2008". YouTube. 29 November 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Urban Music Awards". Urban Music Awards. 22 August 2011. Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Wilmer, Val (14 December 2009). "Sonny Bradshaw obituary". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "Shelly Berger Honored for Accomplishments in Talent Management". 24-7pressrelease.com. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  13. ^ http://panjazz.com/
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 August 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "Yolanda Brown: Live at the IndigO2 & Interview". MOBO. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "University of East London". UEL. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  17. ^ "Children and the Arts Ambassadors". 2016 Children and the Arts. 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "YolanDa Brown – Yamaha – UK and Ireland". Uk.yamaha.com. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  19. ^ "Welcome – Yamaha Music in Education – UK & Ireland". Yamahamusiceducation.co.uk. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  20. ^ "The Mayor of London's Fund for Young Musicians". Mfym.org.uk. 14 March 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  21. ^ "YolanDa Brown Announces Biggest Tour Yet!". MOBO Team. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  22. ^ "YolanDa Brown UK Tour 2016". ONIN London. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  23. ^ "Billy Ocean Spring 2016 tour". billyocean.com. 29 October 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  24. ^ "SCHERZINGER, BROWN - AND ALL THAT JAZZZ…". British Airways. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  25. ^ "Inflight Live Sessions - YolanDa Brown". British Airways. November 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2016. 
  26. ^ "YolanDa Brown becomes new Chair of Youth Music". 2017 National Foundation for Youth Music. 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017. 
  27. ^ "Chart positions following début album launch". Yolandabrown.co.uk. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 

External links[edit]