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About Yolanda Charles
Bassist and singer-songwriter Yolanda Charles has worked with Urban Species, Raw Stylus, DC Lee, Paul Weller, Eric Clapton, BB King, Roger Daltry, Van Morrison and even Michael Jackson.
Yolanda Charles had a notable start to her career in the music business playing for Jimmy Sommerville and within bands Raw Stylus and Urban Species. She began playing at 15 and played soul, funk & reggae in those early bands. Becoming a session player occurred through invitations to work with various artists after being seen live and over the years, it led to working for Paul Weller, Marcella Detroit, Howard New, Pops Mohammed, Alison Moyet, Desert Eagle Discs, Gabrielle and Robbie Williams.
Yolanda has been writing songs for almost as long as she has played bass. With writing more as a hobby at the beginning, she found herself working as a session bassist for most of her career. Up until 2002, all of her song-writing efforts remained on demo tapes, until she was persuaded by her partner Miles Bould to go into the recording studio. Her first song was “Fantasy” performed by Katie Kissoon (from Mac & Katie), who Yolanda was working with at the time on the Robbie Williams gig. Yolanda describes recording her own songs as “the most rewarding experience musically I’d ever had”. This led to an album released under the project name “Mamayo” with Carleen Anderson, Shaun Escoffery, Vanessa Freeman and Mandy Lecointe performing on vocals. Completed in 2003, this album entitled “The Game” saw Yolanda finally exploring the creativity all the demos had evidenced. Where her talents as a bass player were utilized by working with great artists, being in the studio offered the chance to be autonomous and the time to explore her creativity without commercial pressures.
She says, “I guess you could call it an indulgence in some ways, making a record without a fuller picture of how to sell it or market it, but the rewards this record has brought me, and still continues to bring, make it so worth it. I set out to make the best record I could at the time and although I could only work on it in the breaks off the road whilst touring with Robbie, all the hard work and sheer determination to finish it put me on the path upon which I now travel, in many ways a far more rewarding one.”
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