Nai Palm is the type of artist that arrives once in a generation.
A two-time Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and musician from Australia, she is a composer, instrumentalist, producer, vocalist and poet who approaches all of these self-taught disciplines with an intuitive, infectious grace which sent her on a journey to sculpt songs that have been received and treasured across the world. It is a world she has travelled many times over with her band Hiatus Kaiyote, who along with Nai Palm, have become household names since they first began playing together in Melbourne in 2011.
After the independent release of their debut album Tawk Tomahawk, word of mouth caught on like wildfire and within months they were championed by a host of R&B and hip hop’s most respected tastemakers and icons (Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Jazzy Jeff, Erykah Badu, Prince). This eventually led to their signing with Salaam Remi's new imprint Flying Buddha (on Sony Music Masterworks) in 2013, and a Grammy Nomination for Best R&B Performance for their single ‘Nakamarra feat. Q-Tip.’ This Grammy nomination made them the first Australian artist ever to be recognized by the Grammys in an R&B category.
Hiatus Kaiyote exceeded expectations with their critically acclaimed sophomore release, the opus Choose Your Weapon, which earned them a second Grammy nomination (“Breathing Underwater” for Best R&B Performance), and cemented their uncompromising artistic vision to transcend genre and the trappings and clichés of the industry. These choices have led to the band’s continual growth in a lane of their own design, garnering deep respect and actively inspiring today’s most celebrated musical icons. In 2016, producer 9th Wonder sampled them for Anderson .Paak’s album Malibu. And in 2017, their album has been sampled and used on two of Hip Hop’s biggest releases, opening Drake’s project More Life (“Free Smoke”), and closing Kendrick Lamar’s album Damn (“Duckworth”).
This success has set the stage for Nai Palm’s first solo release, Needle Paw (Sony Music Masterworks).
“This record is a very personal leap into the deep end. I wanted to make something with no landmarks to hide behind and no team to fall back on” - Nai Palm.
Compromised almost entirely of her guitar playing and vocal arrangements Needle Paw is Nai Palm’s self-imposed challenge to explore the potential for immortality and timelessness within her music by stripping away the produced layers to focus on the element that is closest to the source of the human soul, the voice.
“There is something very profound about our voices. The first thing you do when you come into this world is make a sound from your mouth. It’s not thought out nor poetic; it’s primal. People can connect to the story and instruments of the body. You can hear how someone is feeling. Extra components can get in the way, so focusing on voices was the most direct way for me to translate how I experience the world.” - Nai Palm
Needle Paw is the most honest glimpse into Nai Palm’s musical world. It is dreamlike, honest, and beautifully transparent, revealing her musical ruminations to listeners with a courageous vulnerability and artistic generosity.
“I want to remind people that there are humans behind the music. Not just compression and reverb. The urgency for accuracy is not human. The exposed process is human, without the cheat codes.” – Nai Palm
Nai Palm’s approach to vocal arrangements is orchestral. At any moment the instruments she hears in her mind are presented in an organic blossoming of sound. A voice can be presented as a horn or strings, or a choir of wild dingos. Her sonic environments celebrate the synthesis of sound and the points of contact that gather us together within it, steadily moving away from the artist as ego and fitting each heartfelt offering into the ecosystem of the entire arrangement.
Needle Paw is a reminder to musicians that they don’t have to rely on the production to expose their gifts. A song can stand on its own. Being surrounded by the limitless sonic ocean that is Hiatus Kaiyote is a blessing, but at this time and as a female musician working in an industry that has constantly demanded that she defend her creative choices from day dot, Needle Paw will serve as a reminder of Nai Palm’s self-taught, self-sustaining, selfless artistic ability.
At this point in her journey, she has nothing to prove to anyone, just something that provides for everyone.
Needle Paw – Available October 20, 2017 – Sony Music Masterworks