Internationally acclaimed and highly revered, Olatunji Yearwood brings the Trinidad heat to audiences worldwide. On stage, Ola’s enterprising performance is driven by his boundless spirit and energy – with dynamic style, soulful moves and cultural appeal. On scene, Ola’s humor and charm bring a level of charisma that can brighten any setting.
Having championed the most prominent musical competitions of Trinidad (Soca Groovy Monarch/International Soca Monarch), Ola later gained popularity overseas as a contestant on The X Factor UK (Series 15). Ola won the hearts of all judges and received a standing ovation for his original hit song “Bodyline” – later advancing a few more rounds to ultimately perform “Jiggle It,” which he wrote and produced in just a few days during the competition.
Since this experience, Ola has continued to expand on his mastery in music, entertainment and the performing arts. With his iconic status as the Afrosoca King and his profound influence across multi-cultural platforms, Olatunji Yearwood delivers a unique experience with each engaging act.
Olatunji Yearwood was born September 3, 1985 in the beautiful twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Born to parents Edward Yearwood, a well-known composer and mother Mairoon Ali, local actress, radio personality and teacher, it was evident that Olatunji came into this world with raw talent flowing through his veins.
Olatunji attended Trinity College, where he joined the parang group and entered the annual calypso competition held there. In 2002 at the age of 16, he entered the Junior Calypso Monarch competition, where he place 2nd in the NYAC Emancipation Competition and 2nd in the Sunshine Snacks Junior Calypso Competition. In 2003, Olatunji achieved success in every competition he entered, placing 1st in the Sunshine Snack Junior Calypso Monarch and 3rd in Scouting for Talent, receiving special awards for the “Most Outstanding Calypsonian” and “Most Promising Act.” He was also awarded the “Top Stars” trophy by the NYAC. But Olatunji’s talents are not limited to singing; the multi-talented youth represented his school Trinity College in Football INTERCOL for 2 years and coordinated and produced the school’s Variety Concert ,where he was the Master of Ceremonies and also performed his original music. In 2004, Olatunji decided on a future in performing arts and applied to schools in the UK, after completing one year of Advanced Level at Trinity College. That year, he took up the role as MC at the Junior Calypso Monarch and Junior Soca Monarch competitions. As his reputation as a performer grew, William Munroe offered him a position in his tent “Kaiso Stars” and he was invited to perform in the “3 Canal Carnival Show,” as well as “Jab In The Box.”
In 2005, while pursuing studies in the UK, Olatunji performed in the Cocyea Tent and formed the soca group “Level Crew.” This group of West Indian youths living in the UK took London by storm, performing for several main events, including the Miss Trinidad & Tobago UK Pageant and for Notting Hill Carnival. Their spectacular performances made the local news, including the quarterly editorial “Soca News,” which gave the group grand reviews. The group made a compilation CD, offering a variety of Caribbean genres including reggae, soca and kaiso. In 2006, Olatunji completed a Diploma Degree in Performing Arts at the West Thames College of Performing Arts and performed at several Caribbean functions, including the Cacique Awards and functions held at the British High Commission in London. He released the track “Cry of the Nation” in August 2006. The Naughty Boy label showed interest in his unique style of music, and he recorded tracks with Hitman” and The Executioner – well known reggae/hip-hop artists and producers in the UK.
Upon returning home in 2006, Olatunji was called to join famed soca band Traffik, where he stayed for three months, before receiving an invitation from Roy Cape to join the legendary All-Stars band. With The Roy Cape All-Stars, Olatunji performed his first hit song “Get Wild,” produced by Neil Bernard. It was one of the most popular songs for Carnival 2007 and earned him 7th place in the finals of the International Soca Monarch Competition. Olatunji fulfilled his dream of being part of the most-highly respected soca band in the world, with which he also got to tour the world. Departing Roy Cape years later, Olatunji launched his successful solo career during the 2012 Trinidad Carnival season and has scored numerous since then, including massive crowd favorites such as “With Meh,” “Bam Bam,” “Call Meh,” and chutney soca smash “Wining Good (Bharatiya Larki).” He regularly performs for audiences across North America, Europe and the Caribbean.
In 2015, Olatunji was crowned the International Groovy Soca Monarch champion for his blockbuster AfroSoca hit “Ola.” It was the most popular song for the 2015 Trinidad Carnival season and has earned over seven (7) million views on YouTube to date, making it the most-viewed soca song on YouTube since 2014. The official music video was shot in South Africa and premiered worldwide in June 2016.
In 2016, Olatunji continued his dominance with another AfroSoca monster jam “Oh Yay,” which was released for the 2016 Trinidad Carnival season and secured him the biggest soca song for a second consecutive year. “Oh Yay” is also the most-viewed track on YouTube for 2016 and its remix features Nigerian star Runtown. In its February 2016 issue, American music magazine The Fader featured Olatunji as the face of the emerging AfroSoca genre.
Olatunji saw his debut international album Awakening on July 1, 2016, released by his label FOX FUSE, which is the world’s largest label for soca music. The album features 17 tracks of his longtime and new hits, and debuted at #8 on the iTunes U.S. Reggae Top Albums chart, making it the only soca album to debut in the Top 10 that week. The album was also featured on the iTunes U.S. homepage, as well as the reggae section where it received a top banner, placing Olatunji in the international spotlight, where he truly belongs.
In September 2018, Olatunji was a featured contestant on the 15th season of The X Factor (UK) and was further exposed to the international masses when he became a finalist on the world-renowned singing competition. During his audition, a technical glitch resulted in the wrong backing track initially being played but once fixed, he quickly won over the audience with his original song called “Bodyline,” as well as with his electrifying personality on full display. His performance resulted in a standing ovation from all four judges, allowing him to proceed to the next round. He eventually made it to the live finals, where he performed another original song, “Jiggle It.” He ultimately exited the show before the winning rounds but still waved the Caribbean flag to the global audience, while exposing them to the sweet sounds of soca.
Olatunji returned to Trinidad and Tobago armed with his X-Factor experience and again graced the International Monarch stage in 2020, this time with his hit “Thankful,” where he placed third. 2021 finds him with a slew of new anthems in hand, including “Doh Stop The Carnival,” “Riddim We Want,” “Black Liberation,” Afrosoca hit “Angel,” and his new carnival classic, “Drunk History.” He returns as a finalist in the 2021 International Soca Monarch finals with “Drunk History,” taking place on February 12, 2021, as he continues his dominance in soca music.
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