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Yola: from down and out in London to Nashville's country soul star

Growing up, Yola had to hide her musical talent from her disapproving mother. Now, after years backing up everyone from Katy Perry to Massive Attack, she makes her powerhouse debut

It was the end of summer when Yola – or Yolanda Quartey, as she was then – fell behind on her rent. Her flatmate got sick and had to move out; Yola was 21, a young singer still finding her feet in London’s cut-throat music industry. When her landlord required her to leave, she was confident she would find someone to stay with until she landed her next job. “I knew it was going to be fine,” she says, shrugging her shoulders. “If I could just hold on a teeny bit longer.”

It wasn’t fine, though. The friends and colleagues she called were all very sorry, but taking her in wasn’t convenient. “The rejections were all very gentle, very reasonable, but ultimately I was on my own,” she says. “Then I ran out of credit on my phone, so I couldn’t call anyone.” Yola spent the next few nights sleeping on the streets.

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Source: The Guardian – Yola: from down and out in London to Nashville's country soul star

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