by Margaret Chrystall
WHEN double MOBO-winning saxophonist YolanDa Brown is showing the musicians in her band new songs, she hums it to them in "Da-da-da’s".
But that’s not the reason her name comes with a capital D in the middle.
The smart London East End former head girl has a first class degree in logistics plus two masters degrees, but turned her back on life in an office as amanagement consultant to follow her first love – music.
"I started out as an independent artist and I’m not signed to a label, so I wanted my name to stand out anywhere I was performing and I thought by putting a capital letter in the middle, it might draw people’s eyes to it.
"And it really did work.
"I also wanted to make a difference between the artist YolanDa Brown and the home Yolanda Brown!" laughed the new mum who has already had baby Jemima out on tour.
Yolanda won her first MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) for best jazz in 2008 and won it again the following year.
But she started out teaching herself saxophone, having already worked her way from six onwards through piano, violin, drums, oboe and recorder before deciding the saxophone was "her" instrument.
Through her career so far YolanDa has played with everyone from Alexander O’Neal, Mica Paris, Hot Chocolate’s Errol Brown to Diana Krall, toured with The Temptations, appeared alongside Courtney Pine, gospel rapper Guvna B and as part of Jool Holland’s Rhythm And Blues Orchestra.
YolanDa released her own album April Showers, May Flowers in 2012 where listeners will find jazz, soul and reggae and after playing the music live, added a live sessions and live DVD version last year.
YolanDa is proud of running her own career – seeing herself as much an entrepreneur as a musician. She has recently toured in America and Jamaica with a video diary that takes her fans on tour too and champions contact between young people and real musicians!
And her own former studies come in handy for organising tours.
She laughed: "I can look logistically at them and work out the quickest, safest and most cost effective way, espeically when we are coming up to Inverness!"
But watch YolanDa in action on YouTube and there’s no doubt that she made the right choice in picking music as a career – she almost dances with her saxophone as she plays!
She laughed: "I can’t help but move – and the sax is like an extension of myself – it feels as if it’s MY voice!"
YolanDa Brown is at Eden Court tonight Thursday (June 19). Find out more at YolanDa’s website: www.yolanDabrown.co.uk