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Modern life is painful – but YolanDa Brown has music to soothe the soul

Soothe sayer – The Teskey Brothers, Simisola, PJ Morton and Anderson .Paak are musicians to ease our minds in troubled times, says YolanDa Brown

The legendary Bob Marley said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain.” He couldn’t be more spot on! Music allows us to dream, it gives joy and soothes pain, music is powerful… and it is such a privilege to be able to make music as an artist, but also to absorb music as a listener.

I have decided to compile a list of artists who are making me “feel no pain” at the moment. I have discovered their music in many different ways, from a soundtrack in a movie, to hearing them at a festival and even blaring out of the speakers of a car next to mine in a traffic jam leading me to frantically scream at the driver, “Who is that you are playing?”

Their multi-genre sounds have made me reminisce, dance with joy and eased me into a relaxing sleep on a long-haul flight.


Their new album Run Home Slow is just fabulous. It’s full of honest lyrics and catchy grooves, the vocals mesh perfectly with the horns. Rain and So Caught Up are personal favourites. It’s old school meets new school. They have just been nominated for seven Aria Awards, and rightly so.

How did I discover them?

When co-presenting on Clive Anderson’s show Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4 they were the performing musical guests. They have been on repeat with me since. I will be hooking up with them for sure when I am on tour in Australia in March next year.


If you google Simisola, the results will show a 1994 novel by British crime writer Ruth Rendell. Dig deeper and you will find a treasure chest of music by an artist called Simisola, or simply Simi for short. Think silky-sweet vocals fused with the most delicious mash-up of afrobeats and soul and you have Simi. The Nigerian-born artist has been on my playlist since her 2017 self-titled album. I usually play this album in the car, and it has been the perfect companion for many road trips.

How did I discover her?

YouTube! I was browsing online when a video came on, and I was hooked.


I have loved PJ Morton (above) for a while, from his gospel roots to being a member of Maroon 5. His artistry has always been unquestioned. I am loving the recent iteration of his sound, starting with the Gumbo album to the live on Facebook-streamed and recorded Gumbo Unplugged, both of which were Grammy-nominated (his version of The Bee Gees’ How Deep is Your Love from the latter giving him a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance). Then there’s also his recent album Christmas with PJ Morton, while his recent Paul project is sonically clever, and another great record from his Morton Records label.

How did I discover him?

It was a few years ago at a festival, but recently I saw him when I had a stopover in New York following a tour. As any music lover would, I searched online to see who was gigging and I was absolutely thrilled to see he was live at the Brooklyn Bowl. What a night, I started with a few games of bowling with my band and tour manager, followed by an amazing night of soul. Oh take me back!


How do I describe this awesome musician? He’s a drummer, singer, rapper, fashion icon and more who plays his drums while rapping and singing. Anderson Paak is not Phil Collins, he has his own vibe, oozes charisma and his flow is so unique that once you hear a record you can tell it’s him. It’s a quality that is paramount for an artist. He’s so creative it seems like he could churn out an album a week if he wanted. Please check out his Tiny Desk session (you can see it on YouTube) and thank me later.

How did I discover him?

This was the artist whose song I heard booming out of the speakers of another car while sitting in a traffic jam. It’s amazing where we find music or where music finds us! So whatever state you are in, whether you’re just out of a break-up, are celebrating or simply hanging out, find music and feel no pain.


Jamie Cullum, Taller
I have been really looking forward to hearing this and it does not disappoint. From the first track, which gives the album its name, I find my head nodding along uncontrollably to the beat. My favourite song is Drink, which is beautifully written and has a very honest delivery. I can imagine thousands of people singing along in arenas, stadiums and festivals. Jamie has done it again, this is a fantastic album.