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Why Yola’s ‘Stand for Myself’ Tour Will Be Bolder Than Ever

Billboard logo Billboard 8/11/2021 Taylor Mims

It took the pandemic for Yola to realize she needed balance while on the road — and she’s making sure she remembers that on her upcoming trek.

The British singer is set to embark on her largest U.S. headlining tour yet, beginning in February with two nights at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, Chicago’s landmark Thalia Hall and plenty more. The nearly 40-date tour follows her triumphant new album Stand for Myself, and fans can expect a bolder onstage presence than they’ve seen before.  

“I misunderstood that I was an extrovert, but I am an introverted extrovert,” says Yola. She adds that while she felt a bit guilty enjoying alone time during the pandemic, it gave her time to discover that such solitude was necessary to recharge “because of the nature of my job and my humor, which I developed primarily as a defense mechanism to white supremacy, which then developed into a coping mechanism. It’s how I amuse myself — and keep everything making sense.”

Stand for Yourself — Yola’s second studio album produced by her label boss and the Black KeysDan Auerbach — is a departure from her first as the music is glitzy and conjures images of line dancing and roller rinks. Listeners can almost see the light reflected from a disco ball on solemnly named tracks like “Dancing Away My Tears.” And for as much as the album celebrates black feminine strength through vulnerability, it also proves Yola is unafraid to tackle issues of racism and cultural divides.

She’s quick to attribute much of the album’s success to new co-writers, most of whom were women. When she first entered Auerbach’s orbit years ago, they decided to create a record together in Nashville before they even met. At the time, Yola knew few people in the States and, as a result, created her 2019 breakout album Walk Through Fire with a room full of white American men.  

“There wasn’t anything in my life experience that they would instinctively know about,” she recalls of her first co-writers. “I finally got to pick the co-writers for this record because I knew enough people. One thing that really makes it sound different is that I have women of color [contributing] that can help me speak on something.”

The Bristol native tapped The Highwomen’s Natalie Hemby, H.E.R. co-writer Ruby Amanfu and rising star Joy Oladokun, among others. She credits their voices for helping her complete songs that had previously stalled, like “Break the Bough,” which she began writing in 2013. As Yola says: “To be able to have some agency is a really big thing that stands out [on this album].”

And while Yola’s work has always been difficult to categorize — though many have called it everything from country to soul to folk and beyond — she’s doubling down on the idea of genre-bending not only on the album, which is equal parts reckoning and romp, but also with her new merch that should be available at her upcoming 2022 headlining dates. 

Tickets for Yola’s 2022 headlining dates will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. local time. An exclusive Spotify Fans First presale will begin Thursday. Yola will hit the road this year for select festivals, as well as rescheduled opening dates with Chris Stapleton. See the singer’s full list of dates below.  

2021

Aug 21 – Globe Life Park – Arlington, TX – w/ Chris Stapleton

Aug 22 – Outlaw Music Festival – Austin360 Amphitheater

Sep 3 – Summerfest

Sep 5 – Jazz Aspen Snowmass

Sep 10 – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival

Sep 11 – Moon River Festival

Sep 12 – Sing Out Loud Festival

Sep 16 – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre – Maryland Height, MO – w/ Chris Stapleton

Sep 17 – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre – Birmingham, AL – w/ Chris Stapleton

Sep 18 – The Wharf Amphitheatre – Orange Beach, AL – w/ Chris Stapleton

Sep 25 – Ruoff Music Center. Noblesville, IN – w/ Chris Stapleton

Sep 26 – Ohana Music Festival

Oct 7 – Harvester Performance Center – Rocky Mount, VA

Oct 8 – Madison Square Garden – NYC, NY – w/ Chris Stapleton

Oct 14  – Mizzou Arena – Columbia, MO – w/ Chris Stapleton

Oct 15 – Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, NE – w/ Chris Stapleton

Oct 16 – Denny Sanford Premier Center – Sioux Falls, SD – w/ Chris Stapleton

Oct 21 – Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, OH – w/ Chris Stapleton

Oct 22 & 23 – Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN – w/ Chris Stapleton

Oct 28 – United Supermarket Arena – Lubbock, TX – w/ Chris Stapleton

Oct 29 – Isleta Amphitheater – Albuquerque, NM – w/ Chris Stapleton

Oct 30 – AK-Chin Pavilion – Phoenix, AZ – w/ Chris Stapleton

Nov 4  – Frank Erwin Center – Austin, TX – w/ Chris Stapleton

Nov 5 – BOK Center – Tulsa, OK – w/ Chris Stapleton

Nov 6 – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – The Woodlands, TX – w/ Chris Stapleton

Nov 24 – Bristol, Eng – Rough Trade

Dec 3 – FedEx Forum – Memphis, TN – w/ Chris Stapleton

Dec 4 – Mississippi Coast Coliseum – Biloxi, MS – w/ Chris Stapleton

Dec 5 – Thompson-Boling Arena – Knoxville, TN – w/ Chris Stapleton

2022

Feb 1-5 – Girls Just Wanna Weekend

Feb 8 – Big Night Live – Boston, MA

Feb 11 – Lincoln Theatre – Washington D.C

Feb 13 – Jefferson Theatre – Charlottesville, VA

Feb 15 – Philadelphia, PA – venue TBA on sale TBA

Feb 17 – Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL

Feb 19 – Hoyt Sherman Place – Des Moines, IA

Feb 23 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN

Mar 3 – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN – w/ Allison Russell

Mar 4 – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN – w/ Devon Gilfillian

Mar 11 – Saint Andrew’s Hall – Detroit, MI

Mar 13 – The National – Richmond, VA

Mar 15 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC

Mar 16 – The Ritz – Raleigh, NC

Mar 18 – Charleston Music Hall – Charleston, SC

Mar 19 – The Eastern – Atlanta, GA

Mar 20 – Saturn – Birmingham, AL

Mar 22 – Little Rock, AR – venue TBA on sale TBA

Mar 23 – The Joy Theater – New Orleans, LA

Mar 25 – Studio at the Factory – Dallas, TX

Mar 26 – The Heights Theater – Houston, TX

Mar 27 – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater – Austin, TX

Mar 29 – Uptown Theater – Kansas City, MO

Mar 30 – The Jones Assembly – Oklahoma City, OK

April 1 – Belly Up Aspen – Aspen, CO

April 2 – Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO

April 3 – Boulder Theater – Boulder, CO

Apr 5 – The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT

Apr 6 – Knitting Factory – Boise, ID

Apr 7 – The ELM – Bozeman, MT

Apr 9 – The Wilma – Missoula, MT

Apr 10 – The Showbox – Seattle, WA

Apr 11 – Roseland Theater – Portland, OR

Apr 14 – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA

Apr 15 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA

April 20 – Huntington Center. Toledo, OH – w/ Chris Stapleton

April 21 – Schottenstein Center. Columbus, OH – w/ Chris Stapleton

April 23 – A Concert for Kentucky – Kroger Field. Lexington, KY – w/ Chris Stapleton

Apr 27 – House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV

May 1 – Stagecoach Festival

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