“Open your Heart” – Yoya Wolf

4 stars (out of 5)

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YoyaSerbian singer Yoya Wolf (Jovana Vujnovic) was one of the artists who contributed to the Radio (in my) Head tribute/covers album in 2013 with a grungy cover of “Wolf at the Door” and it’s obvious from her interpretation that she’s a very gifted singer with a wide dynamic range.  The musicians accompanying Yoya on this single are: Miladin Stojkovic (Bass/double bass); Mladen Pecovic (guitars); Goran German (keyboards); Marko J. Kon and Ivan Bamby Mirkovic  drum programming) and Dajana Ivin (backing vocals).  “Open your Heart” is the first original release on Bandhouse Records and, as debut singles go, it’s a corker.

The song opens with some echoing piano chords sketching out a trip-hop feel followed by Yoya Wolf’s breathy, delicate vocal and a bass riff resembling Melle Mel’s “White Lines” and pauses for a beat before slamming into a “wall of sound” chorus with bass guitar and keyboards cranked up to eleven (at least).  The use of this dynamic pattern is repeated through the song with quiet sections (verses or breakdowns) leading into huge choruses before fading out on the sound of a heartbeat.  The playing is superb throughout and the constantly changing settings of the verse and breakdown are always resolved in the power of the chorus.  This is a twenty-first century love song (hence the Valentine’s Day release) but lyrically, you won’t find any mooning and juning here because this is dark and maybe a bit obsessive; it’s a proper song for grown-ups.

“Open your Heart” is a very good song and the playing is spot-on but the crucial element is Yoya Wolf’s voice; she covers a huge dynamic range and nothing ever sounds forced.  After hearing a couple of her songs, I really want to hear more; we’ll keep you posted on how you can hear more as well.

Just before publication of this review, we had the opportunity to ask her about the difference between recording covers and her own material.  Here’s what she had to say:

“When you’re doing covers, you are trying to blend into style and personality of the song you’re covering as well as the artist. That way you experiment with various types and genres, which gives you wide array of possibilities. When singing your own song, you use on subconscious level all that knowledge, but you don’t consciously think about it; you let the words, music and feelings guide you. Singing from the heart is what gives you that special something.”

“Open your Heart” is now available to download here.