Nao Talks "Complicated" And Collaborating With Mura Masa
Reaching across the pond to our friends in the UK, today we’re speaking with London-born, self-proclaimed “wonky funk” musician Nao. On the heels of her latest release, the collaborative “Complicated” vid with Mura Masa, Nao is setting the tone for her upcoming project, set to drop later this year. And while we’re happy to wait for what’s next (good things come to those who wait, no?), we’re also very much happy to say that we’ll be seeing Nao soon at the much-anticipated OctFest, which is returning to Governors Island this fall on September 8 and 9.
Nao will be performing on September 8, specifically, with Vince Staples ending the evening (hello all-star lineup), but in the meantime, you can watch the new “Complicated” vid above, and hear more from Nao on her creative process and what she’s been up to since her 2016 album, For All We Know.
You just released the “Complicated” video with Mura Masa. What has the reception been like so far? I know you guys have collaborated in the past with “Firefly” as well.
Yeah collaborating with Mura Masa is always so much fun :-)
People seem to be loving the song, I originally wrote it with Skrillex for someone else to sing cause it didn’t fit the sound of my album. Mura Masa fell in love with the demo when he first heard it, we tried a different bunch of singers on it but there seemed to be some chemistry about my voice and the production which made the track sound vibey. So in the end we left my voice on there, Mura Masa added his magic and the rest is history.
It’s been two years since For All We Know came out—what’s changed since the release? How have you continued to grow as an artist?
So much has changed since FAWK is every aspect, especially coming into my late twenties there are big changes which naturally come with that both good and bad. Personally everything changed for me, my home, my relationship, my career, it was and is a super confusing time. We often call this our Saturn Returns, which is the concept for my new album. Everything I’ve been through has been about growth, including who I am as an artist and the new music I’ve been writing.
What’s your favorite part about performing live? Do you prefer singing in the studio or on the stage?
I prefer performing live, it reminds of going to church. We all congregate from different backgrounds, races and ages for a few hours in which we sing and dance in unison. Thousands of people at a time releasing a powerful positive energy into the world and I get to be apart of it, I’m someone who gets to share that ball of energy and light across the world. To me there’s nothing more beautiful.
Who or what inspires your work, both musically and performance-wise?
I get inspired by so many artist it would be hard to pin point one, not only musicians but also authors, painters, films and photography. I know it’s a little bit cheesy but I love the film Thelma and Louise, they travel across the great American landscape after committing a murder. The landscape is so rough, dreamy and infinite, they come to a cross road, the police have nearly caught them and they have to decide whether they’re gonna hand themselves in or keep driving to the bitter end. I love the sense of freedom the film gives me, the feeling of no looking back. The landscape influenced the album artwork and the film influences my lyrics especially on a song called Drive & Disconnect.
What’s your best memory from this summer?
My best memory so far was traveling to Peru, I got stuck on a mountain after a three day hike, I had fallen ill and there was no way off the mountain, so a beautiful human, a local man from a village came to my recuse with his horse. He walked two hours to get to me and then put me on his horse and took me four hours to the top of the mountain. The horse was so gentle and walked at such a slow pace. He took care of me, he became my spirit animal in that moment.
Who’s on your weekend playlist right now?
Sir / Sade / Afriquoi / The Internet.
Featured image courtesy of Nao
Stay tuned to Milk for more good vibes.