Nao Yoshioka

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Japanese soul singer Nao Yoshioka combines a powerful voice and New York-powered delivery to create a modern taste still deeply rooted in the history of soul. In the two and a half years from 2009 that she spent in New York, Nao reached the Apollo Theater Amateur Night “Top Dog” round and also made it to the final stage of the McDonald’s Gospelfest from amongst 40,000 other contestants.
“You will know that Yoshioka possesses the gift after hearing her version of “Feeling Good,” the album’s opening track, which begins with Yoshioka singing a cappella before the arrangement shifts into a mid-tempo funk number. We get it. This imouto has soul.” - Howard Dukes (
Since her single “Make the Change” was released by SWEET SOUL RECORDS in 2012, she has been dubbed the Japanese Alicia Keys while also receiving praise from Grammy-winning artist Gordon Chambers. When her debut album “The Light” was released, the single “Spend My Life” was featured in a TV commercial that garnered national attention. The album title song “The Light” also saw heavy rotation on one of the largest radio stations in the Kansai region (Osaka) FM802.
In May 2014 Nao and Brian Owens, who is also the producer of “Spend My Life,” made their Blue Note Tokyo debut, taking their place amongst the many talented artists from around the world who have graced that sacred stage, and exceptionally early in her young career... only 6 months after her album debut.
Since then Nao has gone on to perform at a number of well-known venues including the Blue Note (NY), the legendary Birchmere (DC) where she opened for José James, and Club Dauphine in The Netherlands where she shared the stage with extremely talented saxophonist Candy Dulfer.
In Japan she’s headlined a sold out Blue Note Tokyo, appeared at the Summer Sonic festival, and guested with bassist Nathan East at Billboard Live Tokyo. And to top it off, she was named SoulTracks’ 2015 New Artist of the Year, the first for a Japanese singer.
2016 will see Nao performing in the UK for the first time, recording a new EP, touring the US East Coast, and she also has a four-city Japan tour scheduled. This all in the first 6 months of the year.
The stage has been set for this talented young soul singer — Japan’s soul music representative — to spread her wings and take flight.