Accompanying the release of her third studio album, Nao presents us with a live performance of ‘And Then Life Was Beautiful’, the title track of the upcoming LP. Directed and choreographed by London based Alexandra Green, the visual is a continuous one shot that captures Nao and her chorus of singers in an emotive performance, and seemingly as one being.
Alexandra Green ‘I felt immediately connected to the track and equally now the visual. It feels like a full representation of my core values, as well as a lot of those who were involved. The moment I heard the track I knew that it was special and wanted to make something that felt commanding, sensual and empowering. I wanted to create a moment that focused on the raw, visceral beauty of the singers to create something that felt equally emotional and engaging. Nao and the singers were mesmerising — both on and off the camera — and I really wanted to give their performance space to breathe. I believe there is a beauty in simplicity, and the women held the space so intensely and with so much strength; it was inspiring to watch it unfold.
During the rehearsal process there was this incredible moment with Nao and the singers where they were sitting in a circle working through the track. It felt like a really intimate moment that I was allowed to witness, similar to what I have with the dancers I work with in the studio. There was a palpable sense of love and joy that I feel really translates in the visual.
I had a very clear idea of how I wanted to develop the movement alongside the vocals. I knew that I didn’t want anything too complicated, and that in a space like St John at Hackney, it was important to think about how the architecture fed into and related to the visual - how the 7 women were placed in space and time as the scene unfolds to create striking imagery.
After over a year of not experiencing live music, it felt very emotional hearing the voices of Nao and her singers. I don’t think I truly realised how much I had missed it until that point, and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to develop a visual that matched the stunning vocals. There is something I really love about a one shot - potentially as it plays into my background in choreography, developing and rehearsing something over and over again, and then getting it right a handful of times. Not only is it a testament to the talent of the people involved but it’s a real moment when you get the take you love.
The energy on set felt intensely powerful and beautiful but simultaneously calm and gentle - a combination of a female driven crew and a supportive space where I felt so in awe of everyone. The whole process was a dream. So many exceptionally talented people had an invaluable input to create something that I hope inspires people in the way that the song and experience has inspired me, providing a feeling of togetherness after a period of collective separation.’
Backing Singers - @fridatouray , Kate Brown, @shanicesteele , @sipprellmusic , Yvette Riby-Williams, @nandichantelle
Senior Commissioner - Kat Cattaneo
Marketing Manager - Renata Chagrin
Directors Agent - Sam Davey
Directors Agency @obmanagement
Production Company @bullionproductions
Executive Producer @jackbullion
Head of Production - @guyfuhrer
Production Assistant @sossyfez
1st AD - Steven Olubenga Eniraiyetan
AD Runner @angelandresmartinez_
Director of Photography @nanusegal
Steadicam Operator @charliecowper
Focus Puller @petebateson
Clapper Loader @leowinslow
DIT – Chris Nunn
Desk Op @johnny_gaskell
Spark - Kristof Schenz
Spark - Justin Denchfield
Grip Trainee - Teoman Han
Sound Tech - Luigi Buccarello
Sound Tech - Tim Miller
Production Designer @ranafadavi
Art Dept Assistant @max.stranger22
Art Dept Assistant - @austejagokaite_kamanearts
NAO Stylist @ramariochevoy
NAO Seamstress @mayascarlettex
Singers Stylist @bongdube
MUA - MATA @mata_marielle
MUA Assist @hmubymarie
Hair Stylist @edmundbossmanhair
Medic - Airmedic
Post House @youngster_post
Post Producer - Maggie McDermott
Online Editor - Oliver Green