Yolanda Brown becomes new Chair of Youth Music 24 Nov 2017

Youth Music is excited to announce that YolanDa Brown has been appointed as the charity’s new Chair. 

The MOBO award-winning saxophonist, band leader, composer and broadcaster was selected following a wide-ranging recruitment process and will take up the role in January 2018.

YolanDa Brown

YolanDa says: “I’m passionate about making sure young people have the opportunity to make music in a way that’s right for them, particularly those who, through no fault of their own, face barriers to taking part. I’m committed to helping break down these barriers, and so I’m thrilled to be joining as Chair of Youth Music.

“I know from personal experience the positive and transformative benefits of music-making. I also see the pressing need to make sure that all young people facing challenges in their lives get whatever support they need to experience these benefits. Youth Music is totally focused on this mission and I share its goal of achieving a musically inclusive England.”

YolanDa’s introduction to music started at an early age listening to her father’s diverse record collection. She learnt the piano, violin and drums before settling on the saxophone as the instrument closest to her musical voice and it has been the backbone of her career ever since.

YolanDa was the first musician to win a MOBO ‘Best Jazz’ award two years running and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the University of East London in 2010. Her music is a mix of reggae, jazz and soul and her new album ‘Love Politics War’ was top of the jazz charts.

She has toured with The Temptations, Diana Krall, Courtney Pine and Billy Ocean and collaborated with artists such as Mica Paris, Dame Evelyn Glennie, reggae legend Bob Marley’s son Julian Marley and as part of Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.

YolanDa’s impressive list of achievements outside music includes learning to speak fluent Spanish and notching up two masters degrees in Operations Management and Methods of Social Research. She also loves to race fast cars and you can usually find her driving at a racing track on her days off. She is a presenter working on TV and radio, a keen foodie and can complete a Rubik’s cube in under 5 minutes on a good day!

YolanDa succeeds Andy Parfitt, the current Chair of Youth Music, who stands down in December following five successful years in the role.

Matt Griffiths, Youth Music’s CEO, says: “We can’t wait to start working with YolanDa. Her combination of skills, experience and, perhaps most of all, steely determination to make a difference are perfectly suited to what we need now from our new Chair. On behalf of the Youth Music team, warm congratulations to YolanDa from us all. We look forward to her starting in January.”

Tim Berg, Trustee and Chair of the Recruitment Panel says: “In the process for recruiting our new Chair, YolanDa clearly demonstrated her passion for music and young people, which is also evident in her life and career in music. YolanDa will be a great role model and entrepreneurial leader of the Youth Music board joining us at an exciting time in our development.”

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