“Yes, Bristol! It’s so good to be back here”, said NAO while walking out to a screaming crowd inside in The Marble Factory.
The young emerging artist has a combinatorial craft like no other. The way she brings elements from; RnB, Electro-pop, Neo-soul, and Jazz-infused vocals into her music have brought her to this stage, and by the sense, in the air, she’s on the cusp of doing something special.
It was her prolific track In The Morning that primitively attracted my ears. The confessionary record is one that can be emphasised by the masses. This song is an admission of the discomfort of a lover no longer in love. In this performance, she breaks out in a boisterous movement that brings the elimination of devotion to life. Sustained by the neurological bass ‘In The Morning’ sparked the crowd into a phase of hysteria.
The racy bass that glides through ‘Inhale/Exhale’ is something that took her performance up a notch. With the track being produced masterfully by GRADES (Daniel Traynor) you can imagine the Electro\RnB hybrid enchanted the crowd from beginning to end.
Another track produced on Nao’s For All We Know album by GRADES is ‘DYWM’. The airy track was delivered in a sway that regulated the electrifying performance so far that evening. Her vocals in the delivery of ‘DYWM’ reminded me of her cherub vocals that unlock your, heart strings that she plays effortlessly. The arrangement between the band and NAO was accentuated incomparable to anything I have seen in a while. What I love when seeing bands is the harmony between performer and instrumentalist. The atmospheric strumming of the guitar gave way for “Writing you a four secret page letter, I’m hoping that it landed at your door” from NAO’s blissful vocals, which were furthermore complemented by the synthesiser and drums. Compared to the track on the album ‘DYWM’ at this particular point was stripped down to the bare minimum, right own to the bone.
“We only have about two songs left, thank you guys again for coming out you have been beautiful, recognised,” said NAO attentively recognised that the energy she showed so radiantly came from the sold-out crowd. Mura Masa’s ‘Firefly’ isn’t something that would come up on my search history, but I can write happily that I’m glad to of witnessed NAO’s live performance of the record. The song which can be found on Muru Masa’s Somewhere Someday EP was held until second to last. The upbeat chime sounding intro brought the way for the reverberating bass accompanied by NAO self-proclaimed “wonky funk” vocals.
Closing the show was ‘Bad Blood,’ the standout record on her debut album, For All We Know. The synth-led record releases roars of bass that escorts NAO’s lyrical tone defiance through the tune; she has never played it safe in conforming to RnB or Electro Pop norms, thankfully. With this in mind, the delivery of the song routed her performance into a thought-provoking sunset. In contemplation whilst exiting The Marble Factory, I could only ask myself – to what extent has NAO changed the scope of RnB within British music? An answer too familiar, only time will tell.