“I was shocked! I was really surprised,” East London-raised NAO told us this morning about her Hyundai Mercury Prize shortlist spot. “I’ve never won anything in my life - not that I’ve won this - but it’s just really an honour to be acknowledged.”
Nominated for her sophomore album ‘Saturn’, she described it as a “loose concept album, like how Kendrick Lamar makes his or how jazz musicians back in the day always used to have a theme running through their album”.
“‘Saturn’ is about coming of age, people in their late 20s heading in to their early 30s that can be quite an… interesting time shall we say?” She continued. “It’s about change. I think when we’re all going through our 20s, we’re trying to set our feet on the ground but you might end up in a job that’s not right for us or a relationship that’s not working, so it’s about letting things go and it’s about change. It’s quite a vulnerable album but it’s quite hopeful as well. It’s very upbeat!”
NAO's album 'Saturn' has been shortlisted for the 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize.
Brought to you as part of our media partnership with Hyundai.
Watch performances from the shortlisted artists on BBC Four at 10pm on 23rd September.
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Lifted from his forthcoming second album, ‘DEACON’.
The new track also features Adekunle Gold.
“I felt a real need to be honest with this album and a real need to be vulnerable.”
Foals and Fontaines DC are also among the acts who’ll be vying for the prize this September.