Then and NAO: An introspective look at broken hearts


As a music teacher and session vocalist, Neo Jessica Joshua got used to waiting patiently on the periphery of a career in music. Now, the 30-year-old is taking center stage as NAO [Nay-O], a singer-songwriter-producer quickly becoming one of the UK’s flagship artists in underground electronic music.

Best known for the harp and synth-heavy collaboration with Mura Masa: ‘Firefly’ (2015) and adding to the success of her 2014 debut EP ‘So Good’ and 18-track mega-album ‘For All We Know’ (2016), NAO’s "wonky funk" is all about uniting beats and basslines with her magnetic jazz-soul vocal.


NAO - Another Lifetime (Official Video)


‘Another Lifetime’ is an introspective look at a failing relationship, a change in sound compared to the cinematic basslines of ‘Blue Wine’ and the ethereal ambience of ‘Adore You’ featuring Abhi Dijon (2016). Exploring the conflict and pride of moving on vs. not letting go, with the video featuring a dusky blue apartment and sparking power lines, NAO’s first single since 2016 reflects her range and relatability as an artist; showing new ways, in combination with her single ‘Girlfriend’ (2016), in which past mistakes and the fallout from a broken heart can resonate in modern electronic music.


NAO - Girlfriend (Official Video)


While we wait for her second album, what can we expect next from NAO? Her recent jam ‘Boogie all night’ with Chic, Nile Rodgers, and Mura Masa oozes disco cool, coupled with the minimalistic drum and bass of ‘Brake Lights’, her recent release with Cosha (FKA Bonzai), taking NAO’s progressive funk and neo-electronic formula to the next level; epitomizing that age needn’t be a limiting factor in musical success.

I know how to make mistakes; wasn’t grown enough to fake them; everybody makes mistakes; do we live and learn to brave them?
— NAO, 'Another Lifetime'

NAO’s 2016 debut album ‘For All We Know’ and new single ‘Another Lifetime’ is out now on RCA/Little Tokyo Recordings.


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Written by Alex Farrow-Hamblen

Edited by Amelie Varzi