"'Hold On' is a conversation between me and the next generation of young black girls," Yola said in a statement. "My mother’s advice would always stress caution, that all that glitters isn’t gold, and that my black female role models on TV are probably having a hard time. She warned me that I should rethink my calling to be a writer and a singer…but to me that was all the more reason I should take up this space. ‘Hold On’ is asking the next gen to take up space, to be visible and to show what it looks to be young, gifted and black."
The lyrics reflect those important lessons and warnings about systemic racism, colorism and unconscious bias, with the Grammy-nominated British singer soaring over the pop gospel track with a message of strength and perseverance. "Mama said to me, hold on/ You gotta be wise, hold on/ Momentary dreams can be gold/ Or water thru your fingers/ You can't hold," she sings. "Baby, hold on to the things that you love/ Show me who it is that you are/ Never let that feeling go/ Let it show."
Yola will appear on PBS' Austin City Limits on Saturday (Oct. 10), as well as the upcoming PBS Great Performances: GRAMMY Salute to Music Legends broadcast on Oct. 16, where she will sing Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Up Above My Head, I Hear Music In The Air.” She is also slated to play Tharpe in Baz Luhrmann’s anticipated Elvis musical drama.
Listen to "Hold On" below.