A new singer that has emerged onto the what I suppose you would call the alternative pop (maybe?) scene is Nao, a young songstress from London ways, and back in the later half of 2014 she released her debut record, the So Good EP. It came to my attention after looking to see what ever happened to the mythical Jai Paul and seeing that his brother, A.K. Paul, had recently collaborated with Nao on a track called So Good, which in turn led me to the EP itself. Enough on the Pauls though, as this is Nao’s record and they are her songs – most of the coverage online seems to have forgotten that, and instead all they mention is the involvement of A.K. Paul, often solely billed as “Jai Paul’s brother”.
The record consists of five tracks – six if you buy the limited edition 12” vinyl – all of which showing a fresh approach to pop music, each showcasing that there is still good music out in the genre being created by those who are virtually unknown. Opening the record is the title track, a song that has been looping on repeat on my laptop since I first heard it – the off-beat rhythm and full-bodied synth that is synonymous with the production of either Paul brother compliment the vocals of Nao to form a song that, in my opinion, deserves to be known. You know when you hear something that nobody seems to know about and you can’t understand why? This is one of those songs.
Following that are the tracks Good Girl and Control, both equally effervescent and lively and cementing my belief that Nao knows what’s good – it is genuinely encouraging to see that musicians and singers operating in the independent scene are creating music that is this good, and that is so different from what occupies the surface. It’s the music that I love to see being produced because while there are smatterings of influences throughout, there’s nothing to the extent that you can pinpoint it as being one type of music or that it fits one category, which is something I find to be symbolic of the youth of our society at the moment; why should we have to be one thing or the other, and the same applies to the music we listen to.
Closing the standard issue of the record is another collaboration, this time with Abhi//Dijon, a pair of American producers who are gaining real recognition for their own releases, on the song Adore. It is another tune that shows the diversity that can be found in contemporary pop music when those who make it want to make something unique, and that not everything has to be bass drops and hollow snares. I highly recommend people listen to this record, even buy the EP itself (only £10 on Dummy’s webstore) if you feel like splashing out on a random buy – it is a release that showcases the very best of new, British, independent creatives and what makes them so exciting to come across.