Deon Yates began his solo career in 2009 when he competed against up and coming contemporary jazz artists from all over the United States at the Capital Jazz Challenge in Columbia, MD. Although he did not win the competition, he was named runner-up. This gave him the drive and determination to pursue his solo career further.
With the exposure garnered from the competition and being called on-stage to perform with Rick Braun and Richard Elliot at the Capital Jazz Festival, Deon sparked the interest of U.S. Music Enterprises, LLC. They asked Deon if they could feature his song, “Freeway,” on their “Jazz Infusion – Session 1” compilation album. The project was released on May 23, 2010, and marked the first time Deon’s music went international.
Deon spent the next couple of years performing and honing his craft. Thanks to his performances at the Capital Jazz Festival, Deon became a regular fixture with the house band on the Capital Jazz Super Cruise. With that experience and exposure, you could often find Deon on stage with artists like Nick Colionne, Paul Brown, Lin Roundtree, Marion Meadows and Marc Antoine to name a few.