Yola Carter is a UK born country-soul singer-songwriter. Raised in a small seaside town just outside of Bristol in the South West west of the UK. From a broken home, and in an environment that was tangibly further right than would make a black woman feel comfortable, writing came quickly and performing followed closely as a means of expression and maybe even escape. In many ways music was principally a catharsis of sorts, giving voice to the feeling of being largely overlooked as a black girl in a societal sense but somehow simultaneously directly attacked in her immediate environment for merely existing. From her late teens, Yola Carter (born Yolanda Quartey) quickly earned credibility and respect throughout the industry as one of the U.K’s top Singers and a uniquely gifted Songwriter.
As a lover of Soul and Country music, her influences include The Staple Singers, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, The Band and Otis Redding. Carter found that her soul voice was the first to get attention and graduated quickly to touring internationally straight out of school with critically acclaimed acts such as Bugz in the Attic on their world tour and later Massive Attack most notably headlining The Glastonbury Festival’s Other Stage Live on the BBC to 60,000 people. Other notable supports and live collaborations include The McCrary Sisters, The Fairfield Four, Willie Watson, Jan Howard, James Brown, Elizabeth Cooke and The legendary Staxx Band with whom she duetted “Knock on Wood” live with Eddie Floyd. Starting early was a blessing as she came from a poor family, but had side effects of often being absorbed into projects. Her talents as a writer, however, made this side effect work in her favor as time went on.
As a songwriter was able to apply her soul sound across genres, she soon found herself being asked to write for people as well as record. She moved to London for a short stint as her career as a writer began. She was being asked to deliver her unique gospel style by writing and singing on numerous Pop projects during this period working with acts like Chase and Status, DJ Fresh, Katy Perry, Duke Dumont and wrote the lead single “Hopes and Fears” for Will Young’s Album The Hits as a pop writer. As an artist, she collaborated with Nitin Sawhney’s on his concept masterpiece “Last Days of Meaning” that previewed at the Royal Hall and centered on a stunning performance from the legendary John Hurt following the epic metaphorical Dickensian journey of a lonely intransigent man. She was offered a publishing deal with Kobalt Music Publishing as a writer and was later picked up by Noble Savage booking agency as a touring solo artist.
Somehow all at the same time, she was asked to join the Country-Rock band called Phantom Limb based in her hometown of Bristol UK. Originally intended as a side project for the member who belonged to separate bands as writers and producers, Yola took to plying her soul voice to the project and writing from her country soul heart. The Band originally rocky in style and styling began to morph into a country-soul outfit, though never completely shedding its rock roots. As the frontwoman and top-line writer, Yola Carter co-wrote two albums with the band the eponymous debut album “Phantom Limb” and the later more countrified effort of “The Pines” produced by Marc Ford of The Black Crowes and supported acts such as Dr. John, Solomon Burke, and Candy Staton. She recorded two Studio albums with the band in the eight years it lasted and left the band in December 2012. Looking for space to grow creatively Carter took time away from touring to write in a new way to her. She began to write in a largely solitary environment with her vocal and a guitar, a process that was previously collaborative. in the early days, Kit Hawes (a highly talented instrumentalist and member of band Sheelanagig) was an essential sounding board and confidante as she transitioned to writing solo.
Yola Carter has since combined her two skill sets of singer-writer and writer-producer to produce her debut solo EP “Orphan Offering” out this year and is already working on her debut album “Orphan Country”, alongside contributing backing vocals on the album of the award-winning folk singer-songwriter and frontman of Lau, Kris Drever. 2016 will see a return to the touring with dates throughout the Summer for Yola Carter, including supports of St Paul and The Broken Bones, Sam outlaw and Imelda Mae, and a focus on this much-anticipated debut album.