Neo “NAO” Joshua hails from East London. Having studied vocal jazz at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London the singer-songwriter found herself providing background vocals for talents like Kwabs and Jarvis Cocker. NAO made her way into the hearts of many fans across the world after releasing the So Good EP. Following up the EPs success, NAO released her debut album For All We Know.

In between Coachella 2017 weekends, British soul singer NAO paid a visit to The Mayan Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. Coining the term ‘wonky funk’ to describe her sound, NAO proves that R&B music is still very much alive. Performing songs from her most recent studio album For All We Know, NAO was greeted with open arms.

This was my second time seeing the big-haired act in-person. The first time I encountered her eccentric vibe was last year at the El Rey Theater. Her performance that night left everyone feeling loved and this night proved to do the same.

Walking into the theater the lights were already dimmed and NAO had taken over the stage performing the funky, “Inhale, Exhale.” The crowd swayed in unison as they sang every lyric. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s always surprising to see an interactive LA crowd. Normally the crowds are stuffy and there are pockets of people enjoying the show they’ve paid for, but that wasn’t the case that night. Everyone came out to have a good time. I found myself dancing with strangers and took part in taking a gazillion Snapchat videos — all of which didn’t upload until the next day.

The night continued as she performed singles from the So Good EP and For All We Know. The Mura Musa single, “Firefly” is a favorite of mine and I look forward to hearing it performed live each time.

From her occasional hair flips, body rolls, and coy smile NAO continues to melt the hearts of her fans. Songs like “Adore You” and “Girlfriend” shows her softer side, but don’t get it twisted…she’s a force. Her love for music and expressiveness is captured effortlessly in each piece she presents. She showcases vulnerability and transparency with singles like “In The Morning” and “Fool to Love.”

She’s a breath of fresh air which is something the industry deserves. The night ended with an encore of “Bad Blood.” The single gets the most crowd participation and tops off the ending of a stellar performance.

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