"In a musical era claustrophobic with sameness emerges an artist who has chosen to be a voice on an avenue of sound less traveled in today’s music. With increasing recognition in an industry where different doesn’t always get the credit it deserves, Yewande has joined the ranks of today’s pioneering artists." – Event Links.com
Born with an unusual name that is eclipsed only by her talent, Yewande (pronounced E-wán-day) has been recognized as one of the most sought after independent artists in the world. After nearly a 5 year hiatus from the recording industry, she is back to finish telling her story on her highly anticipated album, “Rebirth” (Phoenix Records/Lotus Records, Spring 2010). Blessed with a voice “heard only once in a lifetime”, her message is unapologetically the same - to speak universal truths about issues that many artists shy away from – poverty, war, religion, love – but while she still proudly rocks the unique brand of Alternative Soul that first captivated fans and critics alike, something is profoundly different. With original songs that include titles like “Tomorrow”, “Skin”, “Cold” and “Criminal”, her sound is bigger, bolder, and if at all possible even more confident than her early award-winning songwriting (www.yewande.com). “Rebirth” reflects the journey of a lioness who’s been patiently waiting to capture her prey. Her target is squarely aimed at your heart and based on insider response, will undoubtedly land in heavy rotation on your mP3.
Much like her progressive contemporaries - Outkast, Black Eyed Peas, Lenny Kravitz, Meshell N'degeocello, Seal, Kina - Yewande's music continues to defy boundaries. She shares, "my music is written from the rollercoaster called life, colored with shades of joy, loss, struggle and triumph. Soul, Rock, Hip-Hop are all simply a reflection of real human emotion so how do you categorize that? I'm all of these things." Co-produced by Jimmy Byrd with live music provided by Angie Stone’s powerhouse band, Soultron, and arrangements lead by Soultron frontman, Brandon Thomas, “Rebirth” is a welcomed departure from music that has become lost in a sea of predictable lyrics and beats. In an industry where image and formula driven artistry have so often trumped talent, listeners may be wondering if this new sound was inspired by her abrupt departure. Perhaps its dedicated to a legion of fans that demanded to hear more even when Yewande wasn’t certain she had any more to give. Or is it simply her birth name, which in the Yoruba dialect of Africa means “reincarnation of mother”, that predicted her inevitable return to finish what she started? Soon enough, the world will be able to decide for themselves, but for now we’re just glad to know that dreams do come true.
When Yewande first burst onto the scene in 2004, the innovative blend of Soul, Rock and Blues displayed on her self-written/produced EP “Evolution” (Lotus Records) catapulted the unknown artist to international acclaim. Within months of her debut release, appearances on B.E.T.’s “106th & Park” and MTV were peppered with performances at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 20,000 seat arenas along side major recording artists including the Black Eyed Peas, Enrique Iglesias, Sean Paul and A Simple Plan. She went on to perform for over 40,000 listeners in the national college market, win countless international awards for her unique songwriting and headline concerts from Europe to Africa. But in a business that constantly pressured her to conform, Yewande began to question whether she could fulfill her childhood dream of changing the world through the entertainment industry. And her music simply stopped.
While you may not have seen Yewande rocking the stage or gracing red carpets with the “who’s who of Hollywood” in recent years, she never strayed far from the dream she had as a little girl. Reflecting upon the stories of pioneers like Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson and Josephine Baker who used music to promote social change, she began to combine her classical training in voice and piano (Howard University and Carnegie Mellon Conservatory of Music) with her passion for history and social justice. Today, thousands of lives have been changed by this artist turned lecturer and activist who has made good on a dream momentarily deferred. As the founder of the Global Institute for Diversity and Change (www.globalinstituteforchange.com), her multicultural and leadership lectures are bridging the gap between racial tolerance, cultural understanding and social justice for the MTV generation on college campuses across the United States of America. And recognized in 2008 as an honorary cultural ambassador to the U. S. Embassy in Malawi, Africa, her commitment to promoting education, AIDS prevention and sustainable skill development through music is furthering the dreams of some of the world’s most vulnerable children from Africa to the Americas through her humanitarian organization, the Change Rocks Foundation (www.changerocksfoundation.com). As if that’s not enough, this one-woman movement will soon be able to add the distinguished title of scholar to her growing list of achievements as she completes an M. A. in Ethnomusicology at the University of Sheffield in England, where she has dedicated much of her research to uncovering the connection between music and social change. Are you ready for the journey?
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES:
To learn more about Yewande, don’t forget to visit her at:
If you love what you’ve heard so far, be sure to check out:
2010 “Rebirth” (Phoenix Records/Lotus Records) – Distribution to Be Announced
2005 “Evolution” (Lotus Records) – www.cdbaby.com/Yewande
2005 “This is Soul” (Soul Brother Records) – www.soulbrother.com
2004 “AMP 6 Pack” (AMP Energy Drink/Mountain Dew)
2003 “Organic Soul III” (Soul Brother Records) – www.soulbrother.com
MEDIA AND LISTENER REVIEWS:
“The world is filled with very talented people, but it is the rare few who apply that talent to a social message that addresses those searching for hope and inspiration. It is a rare opportunity for an embassy to join with an artist of Yewande’s caliber.“
- United States Embassy, Malawi (Africa)
“She is Tina Turner, she is Nina Simone, she is Sarah Vaughan, she is Tracey Chapman, she is every woman of color who has stepped outside of the box and dared to represent something greater.”
- Amplified.co.uk (United Kingdom)
“Yewande is not to be confused with other celebrities that have little substance and even less talent. She speaks of real world issues that have blackened the face of humanity. As soon as she opens her mouth a new day is born.”
- Fairleigh Dickinson University
“Not only does she have genuine singing talent, her songwriting chops are especially well-developed. Her songs speak of issues that matter (or SHOULD matter) to us in light of the world as it stands today. It's good to hear songs that are backed up by REAL INSTRUMENTS!!! You just don't know how much of a difference that makes until you hear the tracks on this EP for yourself.”
- Listener (CDBaby.com)
“The headline act of the Malawi Lake of Stars [Africa] was U.S.-based Yewande, a statuesque urban rock songstress, who seized the spirit of the audience and drove them into a frenzy. The magnitude of her voice left no-one untouched.”
- Paste Magazine
“Through an interpreter, Yewande addressed the room filled with eager faces at the Chicondono Village School [in Malawi, Africa]. She spoke of Africa’s influence on music around the world. The children were captivated by her charm and listened attentively while she told them to realize their own dreams. I recall wondering when last I had found myself in the presence of such raw passion.”
- Ethiopian Airlines Magazine (Africa)
“Yewande is the best performer I’ve seen on the college circuit! Whenever she performs, students go crazy.”
- Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA)
"I am so grateful and impressed that our school is finally realizing what this campus needs...more culture! Yewande taught students more about [cultural] awareness and diversity than any course could teach us in a semester!”
- California State University, Student
"Sultry, smoky and yet imbued with a honey-like sweetness, Yewande's voice resonates with a spellbinding, earthy soulfulness."
- Blues & Soul Magazine, London
"Yewande's bluesy, funky and rocky voice shines through every heartfelt soul groove."
- Tokyo FM, Japan
“Our campus was buzzing about Yewande for weeks after she left. Her performance was so moving that immediate requests to bring her back came from students, faculty and staff alike. A “can’t miss” presentation!
- Amarillo College
“"Blind" is for all of the lost daughters wanting acceptance from their fathers. Not knowing what to expect-caught her History of Music concert [in college]. I knew I would never be the same. This record does NOT capture who she is and what she can do to you through song. She is beautiful in a way that cannot be captured unless you are standing before her, mouth agape, attempting to soak her into your vein. Looking forward to the FULL release of Yewande.”
- Listener (CDBaby.com)