Yola’s latest album, Stand for Myself, features a fluidity of sound that defies categorization weaving elements of symphonic soul, mellifluous pop melodies, disco grooves, rootsy rawness, and ecstatic gospel power into a package with instant appeal. Her own journey to this album was a somewhat circuitous route, for which, in hindsight, Yola could not be more grateful. In February 2020, the artist was intended to embark on opening dates in arenas and stadiums with Chris Stapleton and a journey to Australia to play Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis biopic starring Tom Hanks. COVID-19 derailed those plans and she headed home with an eerie sense of the unknown looming in front of her. Finding herself in lockdown back in Nashville allowed Yola to have something she hadn’t experienced in a year, time. Over the course of some weeks she brought her early morning visions to life, alongside song ideas she had been germinating for the last decade. She headed back into the studio for a week in October 2020 with producer Dan Auerbach. After a year of touring, learning, writing, and introspection Yola was able to record Stand For Myself as the person she has known herself to be for years because what wasn’t new about the album was her innate sense of self. She wanted to show her vulnerability, her hope, her intricacies, and to ultimately uncover all of those things for the listener.