Musician, broadcaster and BPI chair YolanDa Brown and music manager Adetokunbo “T” Oyelola have announced the launch of Soul Mama, a grassroots music venue and restaurant in Islington, set to open in autumn this year.
The venue will host live jazz, soul and reggae music, and serve Afro-Caribbean food, with all ingredients being sourced ethically.
Soul Mama will provide a performance space for emerging artists and established acts. Brown and Oyelola also aim to support their local talent further through offering development grants.
A recent report from the Music Venue Trust showed that 22 grassroots venues have closed since April 2022.
Brown and Oyelola are launching a crowdfunding campaign with the aim to raise £500,000 in 50 days, to cover expenses including soundproofing, tech and lighting for the venue.
"Music and food have always been my two great loves, and I've always believed that they have the power to nourish not just our bodies, but our souls as well,” said Brown. “I'm thrilled to embark on a new adventure with the launch of the crowdfunding campaign for Soul Mama, my own restaurant and live music venue. With the support of my amazing music community, who have always been such an important part of my journey, we'll create a space where people can come together to enjoy great food, incredible music, and the kind of magical moments that will stay with them forever. I am excited to launch this Kickstarter campaign and look forward to raising the funds to bring this dream to life."
Oyelola said: "Having worked in the music industry for many years, I've seen firsthand the incredible power of music and culture to bring people together, to inspire, and to create memories that last a lifetime. That's why I am thrilled to be a part of Soul Mama, a joint venture with YolanDa Brown. With Soul Mama, we're not just creating a place to enjoy great food and music – we're building a community hub that celebrates the very best of what music and culture have to offer. I am proud to be a part of this project and to change the face of venue ownership in the UK. I can't wait to see the magic we'll accomplish together.”