For this week’s *Artist to Watch* I want to talk to you about NAO, 31 year old singer-songwriter Neo Jessica Joshua from East London. Her voice is so extraordinary that I doubted it was real when I first heard one of her songs. But after having watched some of her interviews I can confirm, she actually sounds like a cute little angel all the time. Her debut album “For All We Know” was released in 2016 which included “Fool To Love”, “Get to Know Ya” and “Bad Blood” and I can imagine you’ve probably heard one of them before.
Her lyrics are full of emotions and power, but it is her voice that really transfers the feelings onto the listener. I’d describe her music as soulful, sometimes funky, electronically influenced, galactic RnB. That she is not only a great singer but also a talented songwriter is proven by the fact that she’s co-written Stormzy’s “Velvet/Jenny Francis (Interlude)” which I personally loved for its depth and honesty.
Now last year, NAO released her latest project called “Saturn” and it absolutely amazed me. Listening to this album, it feels like she is taking you on a very personal spaceship ride right through her inner galaxy. Starting out right away with the first song “Another Lifetime” which is heartbreakingly beautiful (I absolutely love her reference to the concept of having multiple lifetimes and meeting certain people again in another). The next equally beautifully tragic song “Make It Out Alive” features the incredible SiR which I’ll most likely feature in one of my next Artist To Watch posts as well. Yeah… I could probably talk about every single song on this album but instead I will give you my personal highlights and then leave you to listen to it and make up your own mind.
First favorite I have to mention is “Saturn” with British singer Kwabs. It’s a beautiful, romantic duet which uses planet and zodiac sign metaphors in order to describe a relationship. “I love the way you open my heart, I feel you around me like Venus and Mars”, she sings, very #universey if you know, you know. The other song I want to emphasise is “Orbit”, equally universey and sooo, sooo magical.
Now while writing this, I am getting extra excited because I will finally be able to see NAO live in concert on my birthday next month. So if you find yourself loving her songs as much as I do check out her upcoming tour dates here and maybe you’ll be able to go to one of her concerts this or next month as well.
So like every Friday, I was skipping through all the new music and then there was this one song that stood out to me immediately, “Yellow” by Myles Cameron. And I was like whooo the hell is this incredibly talented guy?? So what I found was an interview with him and his producer Frankie Scoca speaking very humbly about their working process and the 2018 mixtape “Everwanted” that they produced together. With it being on Soundcloud, I honestly didn’t expect much of it, sound and production wise, but goddamn! Someone put this whole thing on Spotify and Apple Music already!!
There’s a lot of talented artists out there but they either lack real songwriting talent, a distinctive full range voice, personality or a good producer. But Myles has it all. Also I came to find out that this guy from New York is only 20 years old! Guess he’s an old soul. Excuse this pun but Myles is gonna go miles! Mark my words.
According to Myles, what had really inspired him to start his music career in the first place was the release of Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange”. And disregarding the obvious colour theme, I have to say that his new track “Yellow” gave me Frank Ocean vibes right away. Like Franks’, his lyrics are very poetic and creative in that he establishes profound connections between different subjects and things and thereby hints at a deeper meaning. His playful use of theme words like dream, mango, ocean/water and flowers throughout the song is simply beautiful and while listening to it you get this mental picture of what he is referring to when he says that his dream was yellow.
Yes, Yes, Yes Myles this is what the world needs more of! I’m looking forward to the yellow music video by the way. Oh and when you guys go check out his mixtape make sure to listen to my favourite tracks “Caged Bird”, “Pride” and “Soliloquy”. And while you’re at it Myles’ sister Sydney Cameron also happens to be a really talented singer, so check her out as well. I personally really like her latest single “Fragile“.
Happy Friday and happy listening!
Steel Banglez just released his new heartfelt track “Your Lovin” which unites Danish singer MØ who most of you will probably know from her most popular track “Final Song” and British rapper/singer Yxng Bane, who’s been hitting us with quiet a few catchy tracks lately (my all time favorite still being his single “Rihanna“, suuuuch a tune). So fun fact: Steel Banglez actually made the beat to “Your Lovin” on a tour bus on Drake’s Summer ’16 tour in the US. I guess greatness inspires greatness.
The track has a lot more that speaks for it than its beat though. The duet is the perfect combination between MØ’s slightly suffering and Yxng’s dark voice, that really manage to express the lyrics about fighting for a fading relationship. Definitely not a super original topic but the execution is modern-day real. *clicks on repeat*
Watch the video below.