Since her debut album The Light, Nao Yoshioka's star in the Japanese soul music scene has burned brightly, but national recognition was never her end goal. Coupled with a powerful work ethic - she released three albums in Japan between 2013 and 2016 - Nao's effortlessly strong voice and refreshingly sincere delivery have propelled her from home country hero to intercontinental contender. A 2018 U.S. release of 2016 album The Truth brought Nao to the attention of a new audience, easily breaking the top 40 on the Urban Adult Contemporary Billboard chart, no easy feat for an R&B artist so far from the States.
Fittingly enough, upcoming album Undeniable finds Nao in the heart of Philly, laying down tracks at Salsoul cellist Larry Gold's MilkBoy the Studio and working with the legends behind the legends who have made the soul scene what it is today. New, high-energy single "All in Me" is a perfect example of Nao's utterly hip aesthetic, a mixture of classic beats and fresh funk produced by none other than Grammy nominee and Emmy winner Khari Mateen, perhaps best known for his work with the Roots and Jill Scott.
"This one was a hard one to conquer pronunciation and attitude-wise," says Nao of the unstoppable track, and it's easy to hear why. Driving beats and a bold vocal performance make "All in Me" a hard-hitting ride from start to finish, constantly moving forward of its own accord.
As difficult as it may have been for Nao to nail, she ultimately finds the track to be "a fun song… I look forward to performing it live."
If new single "All in Me" is any indicator, a live performance with Nao Yoshioka in the spotlight is bound to be nothing less than phenomenal. Nao is putting in the work to blaze trails for herself, and her infectious soul-pop style adds a new punch of sonic color to the global R&B scene.
Undeniable comes out 16 August on Sweet Soul Records.