A force to be reckoned with, Ngaio is more than just a singer. This powerhouse of a performer can switch from a killer DJ set to heart-hitting spoken word, to delivering intricate jazz harmonies with a voice that could have stepped out of the 1940s.
A collection of neo-soul vocals, jazz-inspired backing and African rhythms with a backbone of Bristol’s underground sub spine, NGAIO draws influence from all walks of life which can be heard through her music, words and song selections. Whether delivering as a singer, lyricist or DJ, every outing is grounded in journey, discovery, and community. Born in London, now a twenty years strong Bristolian, Ngaio has been skating across the musical scene since she could walk. Organising and promoting events since setting up her own night, Booty Bass, she started the crew in 2018 as a way to provide a platform for more female and non-binary DJs in the South West. She is also musical director of Bass Choir, reimagining much-loved bass tracks through intricate harmonies.
It’s rare to find a performer with this many strings to their bow. Ngaio’s versatility as an artist has seen her moving audiences to standing ovations in St George’s Hall with soul striking vocals, spark tears though truth laden lyrics, destroying dancefloors with selections old and new that take crowds on a journey of nostalgia and discovery, and sometimes combine all three!
The first release to come out in 2021 was Breathe on Archway Records, a fresh new London label specialising in drum & bass in a collaboration with Cardinal Sound. In 2020 the We Fly Remix EP, released on Durkle Disco, was picked as Jamz Supernova’s EP of the week on BBC 1Xtra featuring remixes from Boa Kusasa, Hagan, KG and LR Groove after the original live project was released on Saffron Records. 2018 was NGAIO’s first collaboration with Cardinal Sound when he remixed See Them from her debut EP brought out on Durkle Disco in 2018 reaching clubs from Europe to Australia by marrying soul with UK Funky.
Despite a pandemic, NGAIO’s music has reached many new audiences after opening the main stage at Lakota’s Summer of Love Festival, Love Saves The Day, Gilles Peterson’s We Out Here Online Festival, Addison Grove’s Barrelfest spanning 4 continents, London Remixed Festival, Trinity Gardens, Lakota Gardens, Pride, Breaking Bread Jazz Nights, Bath Festival, Bristol Beacon’s Takeover and multiple Sofar Sounds – online and in-person – as well as curate a specialist Making Black History mix for Shambala.
NGAIO’s performances as a live musician, spoken word artist and DJ has seen her play across multiple festivals such as Glastonbury, Boomtown, Strawberries & Creem, The Downs Festival, Shambala, NASS Festival, Nozstock: Hidden Valley, Afro Fest, St Pauls Carnival, and guesting on Rinse FM, Flex FM, 1020 Radio and Noods Radio.
As well as performing, NGAIO founded Booty Bass as a space for women and non-binary folk to come together and play big, bad, unapologetic bangers. Since its conception, it’s become a space that promotes an appreciation of different cultures and sounds from across the world where dancing and laughing is key.
NGAIO Featured in the Press
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Talking mental health and jazz with the Booty Bass boss. Throughout 2021, RA will host a series of interviews in partnership with Black Minds Matter UK, an organisation whose mission is to connect Black individuals and families with free mental health services by professional Black therapists.
“It’s Mercury retrograde and Scorpio season, which leaves me feeling very precarious and fearful, on the cusp of big emotions and danger (aka last retrograde my laptop broke and my glass bedside lamp shattered over my mattress).”
“Ngaio Anyia’s skinny cappuccino sits untouched as she leans forward on the wooden table to talk with open honesty and passion about her new EP, We Fly. “I really wanted it to be an embodiment of who I am and the kind of thing I would have liked to have listened to when I was younger,” she says.”
“Blackbird was written for black women and is a culmination of my mixed-race identity. Musically, there are influences from Portishead to the long-form tracks of Fela Kuti. Developed with my Mum and performed with friends old and new, it truly is an embodiment of my musical, political and spiritual”