NoSo: Stay Proud Of Me.

Last summer a gorgeous debut record was released. I’m late in writing about it, but I have been listening to the record almost religiously for a few months now. Every listen just brings me such joy and even though my heart is probably with loud and rowdy sounds- NoSo’s voice is that necessary calm I need.

Representation matters and to have a non-binary singer echo the thoughts you can sometimes carry is such a relief. It’s more than a relief- it just eases the weirdness you can sometimes feel. That’s just my own personal experience, and a difficult journey I was on but I’ve reached a place of certainty now. These songs will take the doubts and fears you have and ease them in ways you didn’t think music could. In ways you didn’t expect a stranger could.

The record opens with the angelic Parasites and goes gently into the heartbreaking but beautiful Suburbia. This is one song I constantly have swimming in my head- the amount of times I’ve sang this in my flat when no one is around and usually when my cat is trying to sleep is ridiculous. I think Mary enjoys it. The line, “stay the same without me” is so haunting. The way in which they sing this is so delicate and you can hear the nostalgia and hope there. It’s just such a mesmerising song that’ll stay with you.

The next one up is David. Again, this is another that I’m constantly singing. NoSo wrote this song after they had a dream that they were a white man in a church pew. You can hear the longing in their voice of wanting to do the things that someone else does, and to be a mystery and serene. NoSo- if you by chance see this, you are divine the way you are but you probably know this.

I love and cherish the honesty on this record. I love how open NoSo is about their sexuality, their gender and who they are. This is the kind of record I’d want to have heard when I was growing up. That wish to be someone else so someone of your own gender would want you, to work out the feelings you had and what they meant, to let go of shame sooner rather than later. There’s a connection I feel to the songs that I absolutely cannot put into words. Not because it’s personal but because I simply do not have them. I’m just so grateful a record like this exists. I am so grateful that someone like NoSo exists and makes the kind of music that I can fully relate to.

To pick a favourite song off this record would be entirely foolish of me but at the moment my obsession is with Honey Understand. There’s something about this song that sounds like it would be perfect for a film. The chorus is beautiful, and throughout the whole song NoSo’s vocals sound darker than on other songs- not in a morbid way, but in a heavier way. I just think it’s a masterpiece. It reminds me a little (musically) of Sutphin Boulevard by Blood Orange. Which as we as we know, is one of the greatest songs ever made. It’s the bass. That bass and dreamy guitar just takes me right back to that song. You get hazy sunset colours in your head when you listen to this one. There’s no way I could get tired of NoSo’s voice, and this song fully justifies why.

The openness on this record is something that just needs to be treasured. The way they are so honest on Feeling Like A Woman Lately is beautiful. I’ll leave it at that because anything I write about this one will not do it justice. Just take in the honesty, take it all in. Man Who Loves You represents hearing someone you are fond of being spoken to badly by someone who apparently loves them. I think there’s an element to this where NoSo is a superhero and takes the person away from the ill-treatment and gives the person the love and respect they deserve.

The record ends with the gentle Everything I’ve Got, and the way they sing the chorus will just melt you. There’s this innocence to the chorus], but also a curse at the universe. Listen to it closely. It’s just a beautiful song that will break your heart in the most gentle way possible.

For me, this record is everything a Queer kid needs. It’s got the comfort, honesty and reassurance. These are NoSo’s words right from the heart and you cannot help but feel them right in yours. The instant connection and love I have for this record blew me away when I first heard it, and now I can’t go a day without playing the whole record in full. It is just a gorgeous work of art and I’m so glad that this record exists. We grow up in our own ways and we become the person we deserve to be in our own time- this record really expresses this. NoSo’s truth can be anyone else’s truth, and that’s why I have so much love and respect for this record.

NoSo will be playing two UK dates in March. 9th at The Lexington, London and 10th at YES (Basement) here in Manchester.

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