‘The rhythm of Jamaica has always had an influence on my music’

Growing up, saxophonist YolanDa Brown’s Jamaican parents always told her their homeland was like paradise – and the food, beaches, culture and music were everything she’d dreamed of

In Jamaica you’re immediately hit by the music and the smell of food. The rhythm of Jamaica has always had an influence on my music. My dad had a fantastic record collection and played everything from reggae to funk to jazz to soul – but reggae is the rhythm that naturally makes me feel good. It makes me smile.

My parents are Jamaican and came to England when they were young. A lot of the stories were about their childhoods: bright stories … it sounded like paradise. I first visited when I was 17 – playing for the Jamaican prime minister in Port Antonio – and it did live up to the stories. Jamaicans are very inquisitive; they like to know about you, and you want to be involved.

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