Singing soulfully with power and a natural story-telling instinct while imitating Gladys Knight at the age of four, Yolanda Rabun stunned and transformed everyone who heard her. With Atlanta, Georgia, as her hometown, singer/songwriter Yolanda Rabun believes in doing it big. Without a doubt, Yolanda Rabun was destined to touch the hearts of many audiences with her exuberant personality and voice. So Real, in enhanced CD format which includes the Official So Real Music Video in HD, is Yolanda's debut solo project.
Yolanda Rabun is a graduate of the acclaimed Northside School of the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, where she performed with Atlanta’s Showbiz Kids touring throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. Yolanda studied under the greats including the late Isaac Hayes for a special rendition of God Bless America which Yolanda sang to the late and former United States President, Ronald Reagan.
Raised by a single mother who stressed education as a priority, Yolanda finished Holy Cross College with an Honors B.A. degree and earned a JD from Boston College Law School where she continued to do stage plays and sing with acapella groups to develop a 3 octave range that crosses genres with power and ease.
Yolanda was a backup vocalist for R&B singer, Howard Hewitt, pop singer and American Idol Season 2 finalist, Clay Aiken and Virginia-based piano man Adrian Duke. Yolanda also has written original jazz compositions for Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and is an award winning actress in North Carolina's Regional Theatres.
The last 4 years, Yolanda has been the lead vocalist of the Stanley Baird Group, a smooth jazz group led by renowned saxophonist, Stanley Baird. She appears on Stanley Baird’s seventh project, Traffic Jam with the smooth jazz single, “I Want 2 Love You” which received international radio-play and ranked in Solar Radio’s year end Top 10 List .
Yolanda Rabun is the total creative and professional package being a composer, writer, producer, professional actor, speaker and an award-winning corporate attorney. Yolanda’s music background is diverse; she sings musical theatre, jazz, R & B, soul, classical, country, spiritual, folk and gospel. Through the innate ability to transform her stories in so many different styles, Yolanda’s unique powerful voice will be considered one of the great cross-over jazz artists of our decade and thrill audiences.
2011's been a good year for albums from female soul and jazz singers. Even the most cursory of glances at our review pages will confirm this. What makes albums from ladies like newcomers Veronica Ferreiro, Dara Tucker, Nicci Canada, Tasha Taylor and old stagers like Maysa, Mary J Blige and the iconic Etta James so welcoming is their sense of adventure... the ladies' determination to try something a little different – and this new 11 tracker from Yolanda Rabun has the same controlled, artistic audacity.
Thoroughly modern Yolanda is a real multi-tasker. A graduate of Atlanta's famed Northside School Of The Arts, she's worked with the late Isaac Hayes and opened for Jennifer Holiday. She also has a law degree from Boston College and when time permits she works as a corporate attorney. If that's not enough she's also an in-demand actor! Music though has always been her priority and jazz and soul her preferred genres. She possesses a warm, clear, engaging voice that's outstanding on ballads like 'I Will Be Loved Tonight' and 'My True Love' (a hint of Anita Baker about that one, by the way) and it's perfect for the gentle, almost Latin rhythms of the LP's title cut. She takes flight on the builder that is 'Only In Mind' (a Sadao Watanabe tune, by the way) while on the album's big cover (the audacious element we alluded to up top) Yolanda's a revelation. The song in question here is Destiny's Child's 'Say My Name'. Always a good song (well, with seven writer credits it should be!), Yolanda transforms the teen angst anthem into a mature, dramatic, bumpy ride with rock ballad overtones towards the end and it stands in stark contrast to what immediately follows – the superficially gentle, soporific and reflective 'The Good Wife'.
Throughout the album, Yolanda's supported by a superb live band (the keys from Chris Evans and Stanley Baird's sax work are outstanding). There's a real organic feel to proceedings and those who like their music mature and real should investigate - SOUL AND JAZZ AND FUNK.COM (UK)
One of those records that really grabs us right away – a contemporary soul set, but one with the depth of a classic from the late 70s – thanks partly to heartfelt vocals from Yoland Rabun, but also to some impeccable production that's right on the money! The record's got a way of getting smooth, yet still having a nice tight punch – a blend that's somewhere in the neighborhood of mid 70s Earth Wind & Fire, with a similar strength of jazzy instrumentation in the mix! Rabun's vocals push things, and really stretch out – making for a nice counterpoint to the well-hewn backings, on titles that include "Dreaming", "My True Love", "Marry You Again", "Set For Life", "The Good Wife", and "Say My Name". - DUSTY GROOVE AMERICA (CHICAGO)
Bewährtes Programm. Yolanda Rabun betätigt sich hauptberuflich durchaus erfolgreich als Rechtsanwältin. Doch ihr stetes Streben nach Recht und Ordnung ließ eine tief in ihr wurzelnde Sehnsucht nicht ruhen. Die Bühne sollte es sein und dort das Licht ganz vorn an der Rampe. „So Real“ und immer da. Es kam also, wie es kommen mußte – Frau Rabun´s Fähigkeiten ließen sich nicht länger verbergen, diverse Engagements trugen sie rund um die Welt, zum Broadway und ins Weiße Haus. Sie gibt den kompletten Entertainer. Und nun Soul und Jazz in schönster Verbindung. Als Vor-Sängerin der Combo rund um Saxofon-Spieler Stanley Baird konnte sie bereits einige Meriten auf ihrer Seite versammeln, deren Berechtigung nun vollends untermauert. „So Real“ vollzieht in nahezu perfekter Ausgewogenheit den Zusammenschluß der Stile, ohne durch allzu glatte Politur der Oberfläche für gepflegte Langeweile zu sorgen. Rabun besorgt ihrer Kollketion lieber eine erdverbundener Rauheit, die für ein durchweg kraftvolles Bedienen der Instrumente sorgt. Die Gitarre darf also auch schon mal ein schrubbeliges Heavy-Solo abliefern, während Baird und seine Kumpane für den profunden Jazz-Anteil sorgen – die Show-Masterin selbst positioniert sich darüber deutlich auf der Soul-Seite des Lebens. Entsprechend wegweisend wurde das Songmaterial erwählt – neben feinen Tönen aus eigener Feder (das zum Entree zur Gehör gebrachte Titelstück ermöglicht den perfekten Einstieg und fasst die dann folgenden Musiken in einem sanft-schwingendem Groove zusammen) gesellt sich eine Auswahl zwischen weichem Jazz (u.a. von Sadao Watanabe), R&B Gassenhauern (Destiny´s Child „Say My Name“ mit gänzlich neuer Betonung) oder fast vergessenen Hi-Lites des Genres („Dreaming“, dass einst Kuh Ledesmas Debut zieren durfte). Bewährt eben – und gut obendrein. - SONIC SOUL, JOERG SMIT ( GERMANY)
A successful program. In her main professional life, Yolanda Rabun is a successful lawyer. But even her constant quest for law and order did not put her deep down longings to sleep. She had to be on stage, under the spotlights. "So Real" and always there. And it was bound to happen. Mrs Rabun’s talents could not be hidden for long, various engagements had her travelling around the world, to Broadway and the White House. She is the full blown entertainer. And she is offering us now soul and jazz in their nicest combination. As the singer of the band with Sax player Stanley Baird she did already gain some stars, which now are fully deserved. “So Real” combines all the styles together in an almost perfect balance, but without that polished niceness that would lead to the listener becoming bored.
Rabun rather prefers to add to her repertoire a certain roughness that invites the instruments coming into full play/sound. The guitar is allowed to play a lusty solo, and while Baird and friends contribute their piece of jazz, the stage goddess positions herself clearly on the soul side of life. The songs were selected accordingly – in addition to the self composed smooth sounds (the title song of the beginning allows a perfect start into a softly swinging groove), there is a a selection ranging from mellow jazz (among others from Sadao Watanabe), to popular R&B songs (Destiny´s Child „Say My Name“ in a brand new style) or even almost forgotten highlites (Dreaming, showcasing Kuh Ledesmas early career).
Proven and tested -- and good on top of it. - sonic soul
o Real" is an album that's in a long line on contemporary jazz albums that incorporate R&B and soul. Yolanda keeps a high standard with her music, however; there's not really a weak song on the CD, not even her cover of the Destiny's Child tune "Say My Name". It's tough to polish a jaded rock, but Rabun gives her best effort, and thank goodness, she's not emulating Beyonce's vocal style, but rather bringing a sultry approach to a lyrically shallow song. Sultry is a word you'll think of often with this album. The title track gets you in the mood with Stanley Baird's signature saxophone style.
"Dreaming" is an up-tempo jazzy/soul tune that features a grooving bass line and, well, grooves. "Just Believe" takes the up-tempo R&B/soul style a step higher, with a synthesized bass line and groove that harkens the early 90's style at the very least. On songs like "The Good Wife" and "Only In My Mind", Rabun utilizes a contemporary jazz style that features her sultry vocals. The jazz is light on most all of the songs, but heavy enough for you to notice and feel its influence on the album. Rabun weaves her life-love experiences in each song, giving you positive, but realistic lyrics that anyone that's ever been through the breakup/makeup thing can relate to.
My guess is that you'll be hearing more from Yolanda Rabun in the near future. "So Real" has already garnered attention in some music circles; I suspect that circle will expand as time goes on. The album is definitely worth checking out. If you're looking for a strong CD that's intelligent musically, vocally, and lyrically, than "So Real" is for you. - SOUL INTERVIEWS (GABRIEL RICH)