NAO YOSHIOKA is a Japanese singer who describes herself as a “progressive soul singer”. Serving a musical apprenticeship in the States, Ms Y was runner-up at the legendary Amateur Night at the Apollo and has worked with people like Eric Roberson, Lalah Hathaway, Nathan East, Gordon Chambers, Candy Dulfer and Marcus Miller.
Her third LP, 2018’s ‘The Truth’ was critically acclaimed while her 2021 mini album, ‘Philly Soul Sessions’ offered her take on neo-soul. (The title refers to the fact that the music was recorded live with a band of top Philadelphia musicians).
Ms Y’s latest offering is a beguiling homage to her home city, Tokyo. Her tune is simply called ‘Tokyo’ and it was inspired by her time there during the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. From that you can probably guess that it’s down-tempo and wistful. Nao sing sweetly , there’s a full production and the whole ambience recalls the best of 70s down-tempo soul. Out now via Sweet Soul Records – an appropriate label name for this sound!