Nao (singer)

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Nao Piknik i Parken 2018 (210006).jpg
Nao performing in Oslo in 2018
Background information
Birth nameNeo Jessica Joshua
BornDecember 1987 (age 31)[1]
Nottingham, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • synthesizer
Years active2014–present
  • Little Tokyo Recordings
  • RCA
Associated acts

Neo Jessica Joshua (born in December 1987), better known as Nao (/ˈn./[2]), is an English singer-songwriter and record producer from East London.[6][7] Her sound has been described as soul combined with electronic music, funk and R&B.[6] Nao coined the term "wonky funk" to describe her style.[8][9] She released her debut album, For All We Know, in 2016, and her second album, Saturn, in 2018.

Music career[edit]

Neo Joshua was born in Nottingham but moved to East London as a young child. She was the youngest of five children in her Jamaican mother’s house, but is the only child of her mother and father, who raised her “as friends” between London and Nottingham, where he lives. She studied vocal jazz at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London and went on to be a backing singer for artists such as Kwabs and Jarvis Cocker.[6][10] For six years up to 2014 she sang in an all-girl a cappella group called The Boxettes.[11][12] In October 2014 she released her first EP, So Good, it reached number 4 on the iTunes electronic chart and the title track made the BBC Radio 1 and BBC 1Xtra national playlists in the United Kingdom.[6][7][13] This was followed by a second EP, 15 February (II MMXV), in May 2015,[13] receiving the "Best New Music" tag from Pitchfork.

Nao played Glastonbury Festival in June 2015.[10] In September 2015 Nao was named as a nominee for best newcomer at the 2015 MOBO Awards.[14] Nao was a featured vocalist and writer on Disclosure's UK number 1 album, Caracal, on the track "Superego".[15] She was featured in the long list for the BBC Sound of...2016 prize in November 2015, ultimately being named in third place in January 2016.[16] Nao also featured as a co-writer on the track "Velvet / Jenny Francis (Interlude)" on Stormzy's debut album Gang Signs & Prayer.

Her debut album, For All We Know, was released on 29 July 2016, leading to a Brit Nomination for Best British Female Solo Artist.[9]

In 2017, she released a buzz single, entitled "Nostalgia", as she tells fans that she was back in the studio recording material for her second album. During that time, she also appeared as a co-writer in Mura Masa's self-titled debut album on the song "Nothing Else!", featuring Jamie Lidell.

In mid-2018, she revealed that her next single was to be called "Another Lifetime" and co-written and produced by debut album affiliates Grades and Stint. It was eventually released in June 2018. She also performed live with Chic and Mura Masa on the song "Boogie All Night", which is included on Chic's 2018 comeback album It's About Time; she is a featured artist on the song alongside Mura Masa. She released her second album Saturn on 26 October 2018.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions





For All We Know
  • Released: 29 July 2016
  • Label: RCA, Little Tokyo
  • Formats: Digital download, LP, CD
17 5 53 76 68 3 9 8
  • Released: 26 October 2018[25]
  • Label: RCA, Little Tokyo
  • Formats: Digital download, LP, CD
56 2 20
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
So Good
  • Released: 27 October 2014[citation needed]
  • Label: Little Tokyo
  • Format: Digital download
15 February
  • Released: 1 May 2015[citation needed]
  • Label: Little Tokyo
  • Format: Digital download
For All We Know – The Remixes
  • Released: 12 February 2017[citation needed]
  • Label: Little Tokyo
  • Format: Digital download


Title Year Peak chart positions Album


"So Good" 2014 So Good
"Zillionaire" 15 February
"Bad Blood"[28] 2015 57 For All We Know
"Fool to Love" 2016
"In the Morning" 2017
"Nostalgia"[29] Non-album single
"Another Lifetime"[30] 2018 Saturn
(with Mura Masa)
23 TBA
"Make It Out Alive"[32]
(featuring SiR)
25 Saturn
"If You Ever"[33]
(featuring 6lack)
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Promotional singles[edit]

Title Year Album
"Drive and Disconnect"[34] 2018 Saturn

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Album
(Mura Masa featuring Nao)
2015 Mura Masa

Guest appearances[edit]

Title Year Artist(s) Album Notes
"Make You Mine"[citation needed] 2015 Kwabs Love + War Background vocalist with Cass Lowe
"Superego"[37] Disclosure Caracal Featured vocalist
"Brake Lights"[38] 2018 Cosha R.I.P. Bonzai
"Boogie All Night"[39] Nile Rodgers & Chic It's About Time

Songwriting credits[edit]

Title Year Artist(s) Album Credits
"Be Alright"[40] 2016 Ariana Grande Dangerous Woman Co-writer
"Velvet / Jenny Francis (Interlude)"[citation needed] 2017 Stormzy Gang Signs & Prayer
"Nothing Else!"[citation needed]
(featuring Jamie Lidell)
Mura Masa Mura Masa
"Till the World Falls"[citation needed]
(featuring Mura Masa, Cosha & Vic Mensa)
2018 Nile Rodgers & Chic It's About Time

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organisation Award Nominee/work Result Ref.
2016 BBC Sound of 2016 Herself Third [41]
2017 Brit Awards Best British Female Solo Artist Nominated [42]
2019 Pop Awards Album Of The Year Award Saturn [43]
Mercury Prize Album of the Year


  1. ^ "Little Tokyo Recordings Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b "A Moment With Nao, Soul Singer on the Verge". NPR. 13 August 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  3. ^ Beta, Andy (28 July 2016). "Meet Nao, Avant-R&B Star Moving From Back-Up Singer Shadows". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  4. ^ Myers, Owen. "Meet NAO, The Avant-Soul Artist Who's All About Good Vibes". The Fader. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  5. ^ Ganatra, Shilpa (29 July 2016). "Avant-soul sensation Nao moves the full 20ft closer to stardom". The Irish Times. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "BBC Music Sound of...2016 – NAO". BBC. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b "NAO on itunes". Apple iTunes. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  8. ^ Mokoena, Tshepo (21 January 2016). "The sound of Nao: from teenage choir teacher to creator of 'wonky funk'". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  9. ^ a b "British Singer NAO brings 'Wonky Funk' to life". University of Missouri–Kansas City. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Glastonbury 2015". BBC Music. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  11. ^ "The Boxettes, Kings Place". The Arts Desk. 13 January 2012.
  12. ^ "This All-Female Beatbox Group's Awesome Rudimental Cover Is Anything But Basic". Huffignton Post. 15 August 2014.
  13. ^ a b "New band of the week: Nao". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Grime and hip-hop artists JME and Krept And Konan dominate Mobo nominations". BBC Newsbeat. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Caracal by Disclosure". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  16. ^ "BBC Music Sound of 2016 longlist – listen to the nominees". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  17. ^ "NAO | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  18. ^ Peak chart positions for albums on the UK R&B Albums Chart:
  19. ^ "Discografie Nao" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Discografie Nao" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  21. ^ "Discographie Nao". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Nao Chart History: Top Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Nao Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  24. ^ "Nao Chart History: Top R&B Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  25. ^ "Saturn by Nao". iTunes (UK). Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  26. ^ Cite error: The named reference BEL was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  27. ^ "Nao Chart History (Adult R&B Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Bad Blood – Single by NAO". iTunes (UK). Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  29. ^ "Nostalgia - Single by Nao". iTunes (UK). 15 September 2017.
  30. ^ "Another Lifetime - Single by Nao". iTunes (UK). 15 June 2018.
  31. ^ "Complicated - Single by Mura Masa & NAO". iTunes (UK). 2 August 2018.
  32. ^ "Make It Out Alive (feat. SiR) - Single by Nao". iTunes (UK). 31 August 2018.
  33. ^ "If You Ever (feat. 6LACK) - Single by Nao". iTunes (UK). 25 October 2018.
  34. ^ "NAO releases "Drive and Disconnect" off her upcoming album". Revolt. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  35. ^ "Nao shares "Curiosity"". The Fader. 8 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  36. ^ "Someday Somewhere by Mura Masa". iTunes (UK). Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  37. ^ "Caracal by Disclosure". iTunes (US). Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  38. ^ "R.I.P Bonzai by Cosha". iTunes (UK). Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  39. ^ "It's About Time by Nile Rodgers & Chic". iTunes (UK). Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  40. ^
  41. ^ Savage, Mark (8 January 2016). "Jack Garratt tops BBC Sound of 2016 list". BBC News. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  42. ^ "Brit awards 2017 winners – the full list". The Guardian. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  43. ^ "Pop Awards 2019, the 2nd annual Pop Awards". Pop Awards. Retrieved 20 February 2019.

External links[edit]