Co-written by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys with backing vocals from The McCrary Sisters, “Stand For Yourself” reflects on “Yola’s belief in the possibility of paradigm shift beyond the mental programming that creates tokenism and bigotry, which have deeply impacted her personal life and professional career,” according to a press release.
“This song is about a celebration of being awake from the nightmare supremacist paradigm,” Yola further explains in a statement. “Truly alive, awake and eyes finally wide open and trained on your path to self actualisation. You are thinking freely and working on undoing the mental programming that has made you live in fear. It is about standing for ourselves throughout our lives and real change coming when we challenge our thinking. This is who I’ve always been in music and in life. There was a little hiatus where I got brainwashed out of my own majesty, but a bitch is back.”
Accompanying the single’s release is a defiant visual which finds the British singer-songwriter riding a vintage motorcycle as she seeks to escape from the world that her entrapped her. Awash in the flash of prismatic rainbow-hued lights, she croons, “Now I’m alive, it’s hard to explain/ It took this much time, it took this much pain/ You can get here if you’re willing/ Let go of yourself for a new beginning/ It was easier to sing than stand for myself/ It was easier to give in than stand for myself.”
“I feel that the video is set in the antechamber to freedom. The feeling of escaping something truly oppressive and heading towards an unknown with a sense of hope and choice you haven’t felt in a long time,” Yola comments, adding that she found inspiration for the clip’s aesthetic in the work of Missy Elliott. “We all have the capacity to go through this process in our own minds, I kinda look like a superhero at times, but I’m not. I’m just a person trying to be free.”
Stand For Yourself is set to be released July 30th via Easy Eye Sound. It serves as the follow-up to her 2019 debut album Walking Through Fire, which earned the UK sensation four Grammy nods at the 2020 ceremony, including Best New Artist and Best Americana Album.
She previously previewed the album with the lead single, “Diamond Studded Shoes”.