Yola Delivers Stirring ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ Cover From the Ryman Auditorium [WATCH]
Yola's Tuesday night (Sept. 15) performance of Nina Simone's "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" on Late Night With Seth Meyers was a musical sermon. Readers can re-watch her stunning version of the 1969 single above.
The soulful British singer-songwriter delivered Simone's Weldon Irvine-penned song from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. She and her band will return to the venue on May 11, 2021, for her headlining debut there.
"Playing "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" means so much to me. I grew up with that song, and it was the first time I felt a song was directed at me, in a world that didn’t represent me in any way," Yola shares, adding, "Playing in the Ryman is such an honor; the room sounds exquisite and is full of legendary energy. It felt meaningful singing those words in that venue, and to take up space in that way."
A Top 10 hit for Simone, "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" was an anthem during the Civil Rights Movement. Its title and is a nod to To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words, an autobiographical play, then turned into a book, about its titular playwright, who is best known for the play A Raisin in the Sun.
Yola's debut album, Walk Through Fire, was released in early 2019. In 2020, she earned four Grammy Awards nominations for the project, including in the all-genre Best New Artist category.
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