There is a promo photo of NAO that embodies her and her music perfectly. She is standing against a red-orange backdrop, looking over her right shoulder and wearing a grey sweatshirt with a simple thought- “All You Need Is Less.” NAO is profound, impactful and a minimalist.
Her music is not mired with layers of vocals, nor over produced. The R&B vibes are progressive, though grounded in soul and electro-funk. There is diversity in the tracks from the rhythmic punches of “Inhale Exhale” to the slow-building and seductive “DYWM,” but nothing is overdone. The graininess of “Bad Blood” highlights her vocal range. When you listen you are often caught by the rich sound hanging in the air and then her poignant vocals pull you back to ground. When she performs, she lets her music speak.
On stage at Brooklyn Steel, NAO added a physical element to her music by rocking hair flips, traditional African dance and twirls. She took the stage on Cinco de Mayo backed by a four-piece band and shouts from fans. The English singer-songwriter played songs off of her debut album, For All We Know, for the packed house. All in attendance grooved to tracks like “Get to Know Ya” and “Firefly.” When NAO began singing “Losing it to waterfalls/ rip and tidy years of gold,” hundreds of phones were raised to record “Girlfriend.” It was her last live show before returning to the studio and she killed it.
Equally as impressive as her artistic side is her humble demeanor. NAO has collaborated with big acts like Disclosure and Mura Masa. She’s played large festivals like Coachella and sold out venues around the world. Yet, when she’s on stage she sings to each individual person and never exits without a heart-felt “thank you.” When NAO returns to the live stage, she is an act that cannot be missed.
Article: Alx Bear