The title For All We Know may reference her jazz roots (Nao used to study jazz, before teaching music), but it is also open-ended. It suggests that just about anything could be around the corner. Rooted in her past, but paving the way forward, this album is the kind of mission statement that debuts often fall short ot.
The only worry now is that Frank Ocean might decide to put out his next record on July 29, the same day For All We Know comes out. “Obviously we’re not on the same level but Frank, please give me a chance,” she jokes. “I never started this journey thinking about an album, because there was nobody there to listen. After two EPs, I felt like I’d worked out my sound and I wanted to sum it up in an album. I’m not J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar, but hopefully an album will bring more people to my music.”
One day she might go back to teaching, but that’s not going to happen soon. “Erykah Badu is still smashing it, and she’s in her forties. You don’t have to be just one thing—you can do a few different things. I might go back to teaching, I might do workshops on tour! I think of myself as a tree. We’re all trees, with lots of different branches. This career is a branch, and that’s kind of cool!”
Nao’s For All We Know is out July 29. Pre-order here.