Neo Jessica Joshua, better known as Nao (also styled NAO; /ˈneɪ.oʊ/), is a British singer-songwriter from East London.Her sound has been described as neo soul combined with electronic music and alternative R&B.
Neo Joshua was born in Nottingham but moved to East London as a young child. 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. For six years up to 2014 she sang in an all-girl a cappella group called The Boxettes. 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. This was followed by a second EP, February 15 (II MMXV), in May 2015, receiving the “Best New Music” tag from Pitchfork Media.
Nao played Glastonbury Festival in June 2015. In September 2015 Nao was named as a nominee for best newcomer at the 2015 MOBO Awards. Nao was a featured vocalist and writer on Disclosure’s UK number 1 album, Caracal, on the track “Superego”. 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.