We were delighted to welcome session bassist, educator and solo artist Yolanda Charles for the first masterclass of the new academic year at ICMP. 

Yolanda has a huge amount of musical experience, having performed with Paul Weller, Jimmy Somerville, Sinead O’Connor , Hans Zimmer and many more top stars. 

With over 30 years at the top of the industry, Yolanda’s career has led to work in studios, on stages and increasingly as a mentor and in music education. 

Introducing the session, Yolanda said: “I love coming into speak with young people or those studying music courses at whatever stage of life they’re at. It’s always great to explore career paths and the different options available.”

When you start your career, it’s not always apparent where you will end up, what you will achieve or the skill set you might develop over time. You might think you’d have one goal in mind, but what can happen is something else entirely." 

Starting as an instrumentalist and bass player, Yolanda has released her own solo artists albums and becoming Musical Director for Dave Stewart.

In the  masterclass, she discussed her routes into the music industry and the challenges she faced. Age 19, she played with Jimmy Somerville and went from working in a supermarket to touring. She also talked about how she left a Paul Weller tour due to some of the politics within the band.

She said: “Sometimes you think you can’t say no - but you have control over what you choose to do and you have to protect yourself. If you feel you have to make a change, then follow it through.

Be confident in your own choices and trust yourself. I was told I would never work in the industry again after I left the tour but I had to do what I had to do."

Yolanda also shared her top tips for aspiring session musicians around preparing for auditions and performances, demonstrating integrity and maintaining professional standards. 

Thanks again to Yolanda for visiting ICMP. You can watch the video round up of the event below: 

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email enquiries@icmp.ac.uk or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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