Yola Advocates for Visibility in Uplifting New Song ‘Hold On’
A little more than a year after the release of the the Highwomen’s self-titled debut album, a new song has emerged from the star-studded sessions with producer Dave Cobb.
“Hold On,” the latest from the Nashville-by-way-of-England singer-songwriter Yola, is an uplifting soul song based on conversations the “Faraway Look” singer had with her mother when she was growing up. “Baby, hold on to the things that you love,” she belts in the chorus. “Show me who it is that you are.” The song was recorded in Nashville’s RCA Studio A and features backing vocals from Highwomen Natalie Hemby and Brandi Carlile, plus Sheryl Crow providing piano and Jason Isbell adding guitar. A portion of the proceeds from sales will be donated to MusiCares and the National Bailout Collective.
“‘Hold On’ is a conversation between me and the next generation of young black girls,” Yola says in a release. “My mother’s advice would always stress caution, that all that glitters isn’t gold, and that my black female role models on TV are probably having a hard time. She warned me that I should rethink my calling to be a writer and a singer. . . but to me that was all the more reason I should take up this space. ‘Hold On’ is asking the next gen to take up space, to be visible and to show what it looks to be young, gifted and black.”
Yola, who began 2020 with four Grammy nominations, including one for Best New Artist, recently gave a stunning rendition of Nina Simone’s song “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black” on Late Night With Seth Meyers. Earlier this year, the singer performed for Rolling Stone’s In My Room series, singing an Etta James song and a song by Birds of Chicago.
On October 10th, Yola will make an appearance on the live-music series Austin City Limits. Next spring, she’ll make her headline debut at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on May 11th.