Yola’s Anthemic “Diamond Studded Shoes” Is an Energizing & Charged Call to Action

Yola © Joseph Ross Smith
Yola © Joseph Ross Smith
An unapologetic call to action masquerading as a supercharged revelry, Yola’s anthemic “Diamond Studded Shoes” is a dynamic and uplifting outpouring of passion and pain, humanity and connection.
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Stream: “Diamond Studded Shoes” – Yola




‘Diamond Studded Shoes’ is a song that on first listening is an upbeat party of a song, on second listening is a political call to protest, and on third listening is actually a call for people to adjust their awareness and thinking away from the divide and conquer tactics that pit us against each other.

An unapologetic call to action masquerading as a supercharged revelry, Yola’s first single of 2021 is a dynamic and uplifting outpouring of passion and pain, humanity and connection. An electrifying immersion of effervescent soulful energy, “Diamond Studded Shoes” is an anthem for people to recognize our commonalities (and our common enemy) and stand together; to connect over our shared humanity, rather than focus on our divisions, fractures, and differences. It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday squabbles, and forget about the puppeteers manufacturing the smaller problems that keep us from addressing society’s biggest issues.

Stand for Myself - Yola
Stand for Myself – Yola
Everybody’s saying
That it’s gonna be alright
But I can’t help but wonder
If it’s gonna be on my dime
We are the poor ones
Rowing up against the tide
Burning our reserves of courage
And working just to make it alright
When we know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, we know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, it ain’t gonna turn out right
We know it isn’t, we know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, that’s why we gots to fight

Released April 22, 2021 via Easy Eye Sound, “Diamond Studded Shoes” is the lead single off Yola’s forthcoming sophomore album Stand for Myself, out July 30, 2021 and produced by Dan Auerbach.

A “Queen of Modern Soul,” Yola has emerged over the past five years as a singularly stunning artist: “One listen to the Bristol-born artist’s debut album is enough to know she is true talent manifest,” Atwood wrote last year in naming Yola an Editor’s Pick. “It’s as a solo artist that Yola explodes with dazzling passion and unfiltered emotion. Walk Through Fire, released in February 2019, is a masterful introduction whose spellbinding performances and evocative songwriting instantly elevate Yola from her lesser-known debut status, to an experienced, beloved favorite we can’t get enough of… Yola commands the stage with irrefutable energy, her breathtaking voice a force of nature under which a mix of twangy guitars, muted pianos, and assorted bells n’ whistles make for a grand, symphonic experience.”

Arriving over two years after her debut solo album lit up the world, Stand for Myself promises to be an electrifying experience – and one that builds up, off, and out of the classic rock and soul that came to life on the artist’s debut. “Diamond Studded Shoes” showcases Yola’s spirited attitude and invigorating drive, roaring to life with mesmerizing melodies and a toe-tapping groove that gets listeners out of our seats and up on our feet – which is exactly where Yola wants us to be.

You and I are trying
But we don’t get to decide
When the man comes for our paycheques
Don’t you tell me it’ll be alright
We aren’t the rich ones
Some of us’ll barely get by
They buy diamond studded shoes with our taxes
Anything to keep us divided, you know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, we know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, it ain’t gonna turn out right
We know it isn’t, we know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, and that’s why we gots to
Fight, for the life and soul of the world we love
Fight, cause the promise is never gonna be enough

“‘Diamond Studded Shoes’ is a song that on first listening is an upbeat party of a song, on second listening is a political call to protest, and on third listening is actually a call for people to adjust their awareness and thinking away from the divide and conquer tactics that pit us against each other,” Yola tells Atwood Magazine. “This song explores the false divides created to distract us from those few who are in charge of the majority of the world’s wealth and use the ‘divide and conquer’ tactic to keep it. This song calls on us to unite and turn our focus to those with a stranglehold on humanity.

“Like Daniel Kaluuya said in his BAFTA acceptance speech we must “unite and ascend”, and we can only do that with a change in our thinking. After all, the battle we face in life is first waged in the mind.”

Yola’s catchy chorus chants of “We know it isn’t, we know it isn’t, it ain’t gonna turn out right” are interspersed around verses that capture the daily grind and moments of hardship that may speckle our individual daily, weekly, or yearly lives. Guitars churn and soar around her, coming to life with an expressive force that complements the artist’s own captivating voice.

Yola © Joseph Ross Smith
Yola © Joseph Ross Smith



Unveiled alongside the song’s release, Yola’s music video is an enchanting companion piece. Vivid portrayals of insulation add to the lyrics’ message; images of Yola “trapped” within a painting, or shouting from inside a television set speak to the idea of us being trapped in neverending cycles, and that need for us to break out of these spaces in order to solve the problems we aren’t yet addressing.

“The video is in part inspired by the Truman show and is about being trapped in a false construct,” Yola says. “It is supposedly perfect, but you’re trapped in a life that wasn’t meant for you. I wanted to convey the feeling that everything you know to be true is not quite working the way it’s supposed to. The island at the end is a paradigm of mental conditioning, we are all trapped on an island of our own thinking, until we change it.”

It’s easy to ascribe “Diamond Studded Shoes” to any one condition or isolated instance – take your pick of life’s problems – but the truth is that it applies across the board to any number of issues going on at a personal, familiar, cultural, and global level. It takes a broad recognition of, and appreciation for the forces at play in order for real dialogue and change to commence.

What does this look like, in action? It can mean having real dialogues with those across an ideological spectrum, and finding bonds despite your differences; it can mean speaking out against forces that are spreading lies and/or misinformation or propaganda, and disguising their opinions as fact-based news; but in truth, there is no one one takeaway from Yola’s latest song, other than an urgent need for all of us to open our eyes and start standing up for ourselves and what we believe in – together.

“Diamond Studded Shoes” is just the start of a conversation that will surely continue in force on Stand for Myself. Yola’s sophomore album is out July 30, 2021.

Watching and waiting for answers
Hoping we might see the light
You beat it into us like a hammer
So don’t you tell me it’ll be alright
When we know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, we know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, it ain’t gonna turn out right
We know it isn’t, we know it isn’t
We know it isn’t, and that’s why we gots to
Fight, for the life and soul of the world we love
Fight, cause the promise is never gonna be enough

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Stream: “Diamond Studded Shoes” – Yola



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Stand for Myself - Yola

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📸 © Joseph Ross Smith


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