CMT INTERVIEW: Yola On Creative Freedom, Modern Country’s 70s Roots, And “Standing For Herself”

"I'm rolling out songs that finally reflect my confidence...and where I can genuinely be myself," says the Grammy-nominated singer

When Grammy and Americana Music Award-nominated artist Yola is asked to summarize the most potent notion surrounding the connective power of her July-released second studio album Stand For Myself, her artistic reality as a rare performer able to breathe soul-filled life into a diverse set of musical spaces that include country, folk, and Americana becomes apparent. “I don’t have enough time in my life to be that deep into that many genres,” she says. But I still write the way I do because even if I’m not in too many genres deeply, I’m still active in many of them,” says the performer who often counts singing with countrified supergroup The Highwomen in her booked and busy schedule. Then, she offers a peek — as often occurs in this conversation with CMT — into the magic that allows her art to resonate with so many people, so proudly. As she continues, her next point perhaps offers a sense of why her music — though profound — does not, can not, and now, with her latest genre-fluid album, will never wholly couch itself in one specific home. “Ultimately, my creative lens allows me to find how these genres link together to create connections between myself and others.” In this conversation, do expect that your expectations of country music’s inspirations, country music’s progression, and how creators access their best selves as artists will be both challenged and expanded.

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