Nao Yoshioka – ‘Undeniable’

Aidan Grant

U.S. via Japan singer-songwriter levels up on soulful new R&B LP

At a time like this, it’s important to take note of the global effect that music can have on listeners, especially when it comes to artists inspired by a musical culture outside of their own. The Osaka born, New York-based songwriter Nao Yoshioka is a perfect example of this. Growing up, she was introduced to pop and soul via old Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston albums, inspiring a dream to move to the U.S to replicate the smooth R&B sounds of the ’90s.

Nao jumped at her first opportunity to move to New York, where she would have to make connections and build up her career from nothing. Fast-forward to 2020, and she’s just dropped her fourth LP, working with some of the best musicians in the genre, including Musicman Ty (Alicia Keys), Khari Mateen (Jill Scott, The Roots) and Eric Robertson. Her new album Undeniable showcases an artist at the peak of her powers and collaborating with top talent. It’s a potent mix of authentic, instrumental soul and contemporary electronic production. One particular highlight is the collaboration with PHER on “Up and Away,” which will impress fans of artists like H.E.R and Kehlani.

Undeniable is a perfect piece of summer-ready soul for lazy afternoons. Listen to the full project below.

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