Nadaud's first career was as an accountant; he took up songwriting as a hobby at age 28. His friends encouraged him, and he submitted his work for publication in L'Illustration and Le Figaro. This genre of songwriting followed on from writers of the previous generation such as Pierre-Jean de Béranger. Many of his songs were political; his Pandore and Soldat du Marsala were both forbidden under the Second French Empire. Although Nadaud wrote over 300 songs, he died in poverty.