British artist NAO was all smiles backstage during her first time at ESSENCE Fest. Although from across the pond, the "Another Lifetime" singer brought perspective to the event celebrating black culture in New Orleans.
"I'm British, we have a whole different scene out over there. To be black and British and a singer is actually quite new," she told the Recording Academy. "There's only a handful of people that have really been able to stand out, but with the change of how music's been listened to and the fact that we do have the internet, artists like me are able to find our way and sell out tours around the world... It's a really amazing thing."
Through her two albums, For All We Know and Saturn, the singer has transitioned from a sound she callled "wonky funk" (because there was no other way to describe her mix of R&B, electronic and funk) to what she called a more solidified sound on her sophmore effort.
Throughout her music making, she has been afraid to be raw.