Raya Yarbrough grew up singing in jazz clubs in Hollywood with her father, starting at the tender age of seven. Hollywood Boulevard—pre-90’s gentrification—was a heady and eccentric place, even more so than now. These early impressions— the grit and lush, low life—made their way into Raya’s musical vocabulary and permeate her new album “North Of Sunset, West of Vine” slated for release by AlternaJazz on September 14, 2018.
Though Yarbrough may be best known to audiences around the globe as the singer of “The Skye Boat Song”, the theme for the hit television series ’Outlander’, this is just one aspect of her vast and impressive artistic career. Yarbrough made her international debut on Telarc (Concord) in 2008 with her self-titled album, Raya Yarbrough, produced by Oingo Boingo alum, Steve Bartek. She has produced a total of three independent albums, and her bands have included members of Kneebody, and Zappa Plays Zappa. Her upcoming album features drummer, Tony Austin, from Kamasi Washington’s groundbreaking album ‘The Epic,’ she recently collaborated with pianist Billy Childs and Van Dyke Parks, and frequently sings with Grammy-winning rock band, Portugal. The Man.
On the strength of compelling performances that reveal shades of Sarah Vaughn and Adele, The Los Angeles Times called her voice, “a pliable, versatile instrument, an effective vehicle for a musical expression that ranges freely.” USA Today remarked, “Yarbrough’s gracefully gritty vocals recall a young Joan Osborne.” Yarbrough has opened for Terence Blanchard at The Jazz Standard in New York City and performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival.
You can catch Raya, now, attracting crowds to Hotel Café, back in Hollywood, her old stomping ground. North Of Sunset, West Of Vine, has brought her full circle, and into a bold new light.