YOURS TRULY | Yola meets her hero and surrounds herself with ‘golden people’

YOURS TRULY | Yola meets her hero and surrounds herself with ‘golden people’


A perfect day, for me, would include: food, um…it would involve riding a horse, and it would involve a spa. If I could get off a horse, into a jacuzzi
and have, um, Prosecco and or champagne in my glass…and lots of dear, close friends
from home, then that would be all I could want. Ooh… If I was to have a dinner with–do you know what? If I
had anyone as a dinner guest, I think it would be Mavis Staples. Because… they say “Don’t meet your heroes.”,
unless they’re Mavis Staples. When you see her doing what she does best,
when you see her kind-of just happening upon her as I did on an airplane, or on stage when we
played Luck Reunion, um, in Texas, um, is the same Mavis. Consistent, loving, so hopeful, so, um, just
magnificent and graceful simultaneously. She got all this amazing energy all over herself. It’s magical. Um, I’d love to have her as a dinner guest. What is one thing that you would like to know,
from Mavis? Ooh. I think, um…I’d like to know what Martin
Luther King was like. Like, just like when — how did he chill? Like, when he was off the campaign trail,
just, like trying to save kinda, black lives from straight-up extinction: how did he just
chill, y’know? What was his drink? Did he drink? Was he like stone-cold sober? Like, what was his chill vibe, y’know? I was, um, going over to Nashville to start
recording this record, uh, and, uh she was obviously going somewhere to do something
and I just came ’round the corner off the, kind-of little path that leads to the kind-of
door of the airplane and uh, I was like “Oh, Mavis!” ike I knew her, like, y’know, like
I’d ever met her before. And uh, she was like, “Oh, hey!” Just like, y’know “Cool”. Like it ain’t anything. I went “Ya alright?” cause, what else are ya gonna say? And uh, she’s like “Yeah, you know.” And I’m like “Hi, I’m Yola. Nice to meet you. Sorry, I’m not gonna be that person but I’m
just gonna say you’re wonderful and very important to me musically and humanly and activist-y. Bye”. Kind-of thing. And she was just like “Oh, cool. Oh, thanks”. Y’know. I’m like, “Okay, I’m going that way…away
from you. You go to the nice bit, I’ll go to the poor
people’s bit”. So, um, yeah that was pretty magical. Like, loads of people have had like, y’know
the dysfunctional family-type dynamic, y’know. It’s not “special” or “unique”. My mother passed and like we’re all like,
just like estranged and stuff. It was awful. Um, but at the same time it’s still something
that focuses–if, depending on who you are, your will to connect. Um, because when you don’t really have any
family, you know, you build that, you know. Cause, you know no man or woman for that matter
is an island. The environment that I built for myself, it’s
so important to connect. Certainly, you’ll hear this from women, kind-of
far and wide that there are environments that don’t let them self-actualize and that was
definitely number one, like people that accepted me as I was. You know, um, certainly as like, um, not being
in a “bro” environment that thinks the word “feminism” is a dirty word. Or, y’know being “extra”…and not being too
much. Or, not being not enough. Because, y’know you’re not kind- of blonde-hair
or blue-eyed or something. Like–and then your value being whittled down
to a certain “quality” because you’re a woman, kind-of thing. Like, y’know you’re either kind-of you know,
in “that box” or “that box”. I don’t really like being “boxed” as a person. And so, it was real important to find an environment
that allowed me to be, kind-of multi-faceted as a human and that was always going to lead
to me being able to be more multi-faceted creatively. I think I’ve definitely like, hit rock-bottom
where it dawned on me that the environment that I was in was just not designed for me
at all. Then you’re like “Right, okay so, everyone,
almost everyone that I’ve been spending most of my time with is dreadful.” I got to a point where I was just like, “I
don’t even know what I’m doing with my life right now.” I got out of music–I didn’t really do much music
for three years. There was no worse that I could experience. I was in an abusive relationship. I was in a network that– because I was a
woman of color thought that I was basically “The Hulk” and I couldn’t be remotely vulnerable. And so there was an environment where…and
I think certainly um, I was in an environment where I could speak and the words–it’s like
I was speaking completely another language. The things that I said made no sense. The things that I wanted to do made no sense. I’d been, um in a situation where they were
like “You don’t have the intonation to play guitar and you shouldn’t bother. Just don’t.” Like, “You already have the entire top line. No one else does lyric and melody so let us
do that. You do this. You don’t have the inclination anyways so
you probably shouldn’t bother.” I talked–you talked about like my “dream
day”, like…in my old life I’d be alone on that dream day. They’d be like “No one wants to do that with
you.” I’m like, there aren’t TOO many people who
want to do that with me in my life as-is. There are lots of people that’ll get up in
your face and go “Look at me.” and the really lovely people…they’ve been in your life
since forever but they’re just not gonna be “right here”. You’ve got to go “Excuse me. Hi, you! Yes, let’s hang out Sorry, they’re loud.” But when you’re in your late teens and early
twenties, you’re not always hearing that, y’know. You get distracted. I think that was easy for me. Y’know, the older you get the more you realize
you just have like a handful of absolute golden people. Ooh. I think that it smelled like, sycamore…um,
seeds. And like, just climbing up trees. And maybe just like, a little bit of like,
cut grass. Lots of kind-of cut grass. Hay. That kind-of like, early summer, just about
to get out of school, fallen out of five trees, dug my knees in. Yeah…that. I’m always this sarcastic.

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