• Muzik First


The Nottingham-born, Grammy-nominated Nao has experienced a lot in the past three years, from becoming a mother to suffering severe burnout. She is now releasing her new album, "And Then Life Was Beautiful," which captures a sense of healing and offers hope. The opening title track is reminiscent of the soulful age of early 2010s R&B when stars like Elle Varner thrived on bluesy chords and deeply emotional lyrics. The way utilizes fluttery mandolin loops like those heard on "Pink + White," a track from Frank Ocean's second album "Blonde." Nao has cited the record as an inspiration for her organic and more acoustic sound this time around. What she does best on this record is a departure from her previous work, which evokes the sultry nature of jazz. This is nowhere more evident than on "Good Luck," featuring rising R&B legend Lucky Daye; it's a perfect male-female ballad. At the start of her career, Nao played around with electronic synths before moving to the more commercial pop-R&B of "Saturn." With this album, there's a deeper appreciation for the genre. "And Then Life Was Beautiful" truly is a true celebration of R&B. Nao has still created a record that doesn't sound like anyone else. If you need to do a little soul-searching yourself, this soulful record is an excellent place to start.