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Award-winning soul singer

Yola Carter, a soul singer who won artist of the year at the UK Americana Awards in February, visits Shetland in late June.

AWARD-WINNING soul singer and songwriter Yola Carter is to play two mid-summer shows in Shetland as part of a Scottish tour with her trio.

Fresh from winning UK artist of the year at the Americana UK Awards in February, Carter will take to the stage at the Lerwick Legion on Friday 23 June followed by a show at Sandwick’s Carnegie Hall on Saturday 24 June.

A firm favourite at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival following several performances in recent years, she was also one of the standouts as part of the Roaming Roots Revue at Celtic Connections in January.

She will perform alongside musicians Kit Hawes, who has previously played at Shetland Folk Festival with Sheelanagig, and Harry Harding.

Scotland has become a key part of her touring, and she says it is “one of my favourite plays to play. It’s a place where the folk tradition is alive and kicking and open to so much music”.

Towards the end of 2016, Carter was noted as an “artist to watch” by publications ranging from The Guardian and NPR to Stereogum and No Depression.

Heavily influenced from an early age by Sixties country, Stax-era soul and gospel ranging form The Staple Singers to Otis Redding, she was raised in a small seaside town in the south west of England and “always wanted to be a country music artist”.

Unafraid to address difficult issues in her lyrics, Carter’s real-life story – both heartbreaking and inspirational – naturally finds its way into her songs. Coming from a poor broken home and a parent suffering from mental illness who “banned” her from making any music, her experience of growing up was one of living below the breadline.

But from her late teens Carter, born Yolanda Quartey, worked hard to earn credibility and respect throughout the industry as one of the UK’s top singers and a uniquely gifted songwriter.

She graduated to touring internationally straight out of school with critically-acclaimed acts such as Bugz in the Attic on their world tour, and later Massive Attack – most notably headlining Glastonbury’s Other Stage to 60,000 people and broadcasting live on the BBC.

Carter released a six-song EP of original material, Orphan Offering, last year and is now working on her full-length debut.

She will be supported in Shetland by the Sheila Henderson Band, DJ Lyall and duo Banks Flooer (Andy Kinnear and Kristen Saunders).

Neil Riddell of local promoters Ragged Wood said Carter was an “incredibly powerful live performer with an infectious personality and a voice that genuinely makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up”.