Looking at a flower and smelling it is like taking the time to look at the beautiful side of life. For R&B-Soul sensation and Meta Music recording artist Yolanda Johnson, life is about dreaming about the beauty of things. This huge dreamer is a hopeful romantic who cares about people and who has the honor of delighting her fans with her second EP ‘Violet flower.’
This Brooklyn bred singer shares her love of music by giving to the world a nice selection of soul melodies accented with a very organic sound that will surely capture every heart and soul. ‘Violet Flower’ will encourage you to tune in and listen to a new Soul experience that brings a very different and lyrical approach to music, while making you funk and groove to Yolanda Johnson’s attractive and natural voice.
Singersroom: You are from a family of musicians, how important was that influence in your life?
Yolanda Johnson: It’s very important because I was able to see how much music is needed and necessary and how it can change an environment and an atmosphere. Me growing up, my dad being a musician, being around all the people in the band, it rewarded me with the happy times in this music… It’s kind of like the cheapest therapy.
Singersroom: You are also the cousin of the Gap Band’s Wilson Brothers, did you get some cues from them as well and from what they have accomplished in the music?
Yolanda Johnson: Yeah, with anyone who does this art form you are always inspired and influenced by people that came before you and being that it’s my own family. It’s funny them being my cousins; I found out later in life. It’s kind of like my dad was always saying, we had the Gap Band as cousins but it wasn’t until I actually had to meet them that I really realized that it was so true. I have also been influenced by Stevie [Wonder], Donnie [Hathaway], Prince and others that came before and [have] paved the way.
Singersroom: You were born in Brooklyn and later relocated to Los Angeles right?
Yolanda Johnson: Not necessarily. I grew up partially in Brooklyn; I was born there and then my mother moved us â¦ and then after I came to California.
Singersroom: Why did you decide to stay in California instead of coming back to New York, as you know a lot of musicians would like to be in New York?
Yolanda Johnson: Well because all of my family moved from New York to California and I would rather have gone to a place where I had my family. Knowing that I had never been to California â¦and if they were in New York I would have moved back to New York. Plus California had beautiful weather.
Singersroom: How important is it for you to have your family support?
Yolanda Johnson: It’s very important to have that backing from your family; their gonna be there for you more than anybody else.
Singersroom: You started writing music at an early age, did you know at that time that you wanted to be a musician?
Yolanda Johnson: Yeah, I knew early on that’s what I wanted to do because I was surrounded by so much. Plus my family was kind of like you’re going do this, you’re going to be a musician and luckily I was not forced to do something that I didn’t want to do.
Singersroom: Your song “Individual” seems to have an impact on people’s lives, what’s the inspiration behind it?
Yolanda Johnson: It’s overwhelming, doing what you do. [Also] it’s beautiful to know that people can feel what you do. It was really difficult for me as an independent artist and I was like what am I doing here? I was really, really feeling down and I looked on my myspace page and someone e-mailed me to tell me how much “Individual” has made them want to be alive and they were going through a time in their life where they just didn’t want to be here anymore. This person wanted to commit suicide and they heard my song and I just broke down and criedâ¦and to me I felt like we both helped each other. That’s the beauty of music, it helps the giver and it helps the receiver at the same time. I have been getting a lot of e-mails and messages like that which is beautiful to me and it makes me know that I am doing something right.
Singersroom: Do you really take the time to read all of your fans e-mails and answer them personally?
Yolanda Johnson: Yeah, I do. I answer all of them. I take my music very seriously and I am very humble by anyone who accepts what I do. If you’re going to take the time out of your day to tell me how much you appreciate my music who am I to not respond to that? I am not that much busy in the world to not respond. It may take me a minute but I respond to everybody.
Singersroom: As a writer, how focused are you on the lyrical content of your songs?
Yolanda Johnson: It’s very important. I just try to be real and honest as I possibly can with what I am saying because people know when you are trying to be something that you are not… and I never want to be that kind of writer.
Singersroom: Why did you title your album ‘Violet Flower’?
Yolanda Johnson: That’s the meaning of Yolanda. I had no idea and I was looking up names and I found out that my name, Yolanda, means violet flowerâ¦ And I thought that it will be the most fitting name for the album.
Singersroom: ‘Violet Flower’ came out in 2006 is that your first album?
Yolanda Johnson: No, actually I came out with an EP in 2002 called ‘Sweet Yesterday’ and I just did that because I needed to get some things out of my system and I didn’t really try to push it per se as far as advertising it and letting people know. I kind of did it â¦and if you found it you found it.
Singersroom: A lot of your fans are complaining about ‘Violet Flowers’ being too short, did you run out of creativity or something , I mean what happened?
Yolanda Johnson: (Laughs) No, you know I wanted to do another EP and actually it’s not an album ‘Violet Flower’ is an EP and the reason why I came out with another EP other than coming out with a full album because for one the first one was out in 2002 and we waited four years to come out with another project. A lot of people had never heard of me before so putting out another EP was something short and to the point â¦I would rather leave you wanting more â¦that’s why we did it like that.
Singersroom: So for your next album your fans don’t have to worry because you will be coming out with something longer?
Yolanda Johnson: (Laughs) exactly, trust me it will be longer than eight songs. And I am really exited about it.
Singersroom: How did you end up singing the theme song for BET Jazz Soul Sessions?
Yolanda Johnson: What happened was we did the video for “Individual” and we submitted the video for consideration on BET J and Brian Johnson over at BET J fell in love with the song and not only wanted to play the video, he said I want the song and we will love to make it the theme song for Soul Sessions. I am like are you kidding me? (Laughs) I went to the house screaming â¦ and for him to say that he was honored still feels like a shock to me. I still haven’t gotten use to it.
Singersroom: In your own words how would you describe your music?
Yolanda Johnson: I would describe my music as being honest. I also describe it as inspiring, empowering and it’s also human â¦it’s a lot of things to me.
Singersroom: Is there any empty space in your heart?
Yolanda Johnson: No I am satisfied and grateful for what I have right now because I am a firm believer in God and what he can doâ¦ I am just looking for whatever he has in store for me. But right now I am very happy for everything that I have received.
Singersroom: So just to clarify it with our readers ‘Violet Flower’ is not an album right?
Yolanda Johnson: No, it’s an EP.
Singersroom: Are you working on something right now?
Yolanda Johnson: Actually the next project is going to be called ‘Breathing’ and it will be coming out in July of this year. —— By: Interview By Valerie Varasse