NME Ones To Watch 2016: Nao

Every day this week NME is introducing one of its ones to watch acts for 2016. Today, meet Nao – an R&B sensation 
worth believing in

Why She’s Worthy:
There’s shedloads of ultra-confessional soul coming out of the UK at present, from Neneh Cherry’s daughter Mabel to Connie Constance and XL-signed Lapsley. Nao, with lyrics Prince would be proud of and a voice as otherworldly as Aaliyah, is right up there. She first came to our attention after working with AK Paul (Jai’s brother) a couple of years ago, creating a piece of absolute magic called ‘So Good’. Since then the mainstream’s come calling – and of all those acts mentioned above, it’s Nao who’s in pole position to ace it this year because she’s already got the momentum behind her. Of her impending fame, she’s reassuringly unpretentious too, telling us, “It’s just cool to be noticed – I didn’t think the music would get even this far…”


Key Track:
Recent single ‘Bad Blood’ – embedded at the top of the page – is the strongest UK R&B track since AlunaGeorge unleashed ‘You Know You Like It’ on the world. But if you liked tunes like ‘BTSU’ and ‘Jasmine’, then the aforementioned ‘So Good’ is essential listening.

2016 Prospects:
Nao’s already worked with one of 2016’s other big hopes, Mura Masa. She’s now signed to RCA and with a big budget behind her, the sky’s the limit. They’ll be after BRIT and Mercury nods for sure – but if her future material matches up to what she’s put out so far, those wishes might just come true…




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