Naaz | Live at Leeds Top 12

Naaz at Live at Leeds - Photo © Concentus Music - Reproduction without permission not permitted

Naaz at Live at Leeds - Photo © Concentus Music - Reproduction without permission not permitted


“I don’t need to explain to people who I am or what I love. I’m just up to something, and that’s all they need to know,” explains Naaz to a full house at Leeds’ Headrow House before leading in to a vivacious performance of her song ‘Up To Something.’


Giving a celebratory “Cheers to freedom” as she celebrates her first travel to England alone without her parents from her home of the Middle East, Naaz always makes a point to be incredibly open about the difficult journey she conquered to be able to perform music. She does so not from a place of self-pity, but more from wanting to emphasise the value of hope, ambition and perseverance to her listeners. This trait of hers is clearly identifiable in her songs. Though dynamic and major key, by carefully listening to Naaz’s lyrics and observing her expressions, you realise the themes are not boundless joy, but are forward looking ambition (‘My lips are chapped 'cause I keep on stressing / I hope my flaws don't need addressing / I gotta say it's quite depressing / How people don't see these things are blessings’).



Performing the songs from her debut album ‘Bits of Naaz,’ including ‘Pretty,’ ‘As Fun,’ and ‘Mess Me Up,’ Naaz was accompanied by two players behind her on the drums, synths, and keys, and picked up the ukulele herself for a few of the songs.


Still at the start of her artistic journey, Naaz gave a disclaimer that this was the first time she had ever performed this particular set, though she clearly had no need to worry as her vocal ability, audience interaction, stage presence and movements could have easily been mistaken for someone who’s been performing their whole life.  


Naaz performs with a new energy, instantly engaging the audience. Whether it is getting the audience to provide the beat for her by clapping along, or if it is asking everyone to ‘love each other’ and ‘give each other a hug’ (as she did to open song ‘Loving Love’).


Introducing ‘Loving Love,’ Naaz announced her love of Kanye West to us. “When I was making this song, I tried to think, if Kanye produced one of my songs, this is what it would sound like,” she explains, and simultaneously demonstrates her talent to be able to produce music of such high calibre independently. She followed with a cover of Kanye’s ‘Ultralight Beam.’ She was able to showcase a different set of skills by taking on this hip-hop track, staying true to the vibes and rhythms of the original song, and doing it (and her idol) justice.


Naaz released her debut 8-track album ‘Bits of Naaz’ just two weeks ago, and her set proved to us all that Naaz is definitely an artist to keep an eye on. Naaz is an artist who, two years down the line, you’ll want to boast to everyone you heard ‘before she was famous.’