Named "Best Folk Act" by Seattle Weekly, Tomo Nakayama has consistently created music that is complex, nuanced, and emotionally compelling. His decade of work both as a solo artist and as frontman in his chamber-pop band Grand Hallway has been praised by NPR, New York Times, and KEXP. Known for his crystalline high-tenor voice, intricate fingerpicking, cinematic production style, and simple, poetic lyrics imbued with warmth and humanity, Tomo’s songs have drawn comparisons to Paul Simon, Elliott Smith, and Jeff Buckley. He has also composed music for film and television, and starred as an actor opposite Ellen Page in Lynn Shelton’s Sundance Grand Jury nominated movie “Touchy Feely”. He was Artist in Residence at Seattle’s Town Hall, where he wrote and recorded his solo debut album, Fog On The Lens with producer Yuuki Matthews (The Shins, Sufjan Stevens), which spent 8 weeks on the CMJ Top 200 and was named “Album of the Month” by Seattle Met. He has shared the stage with Cornelius, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate), Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Laura Gibson, Tom Brosseau, Damien Jurado, LAKE, Mirah, Fruit Bats, Sera Cahoone, and many others. His latest album, Pieces of Sky, finds Nakayama venturing further into the digital chamber folk sound of his debut album while incorporating ambient synths, dream pop atmospherics and analog drum machines into the mix. They reflect his experiences of touring solo across the US, Japan, and Europe, and a year spent busking and people watching at Seattle Tacoma International Airport.
"When music journalists say things like 'this artist is a fixture in Seattle music,' there’s probably no one right now who fits that title better than Nakayama." - KEXP
“One of the most exciting folk musicians in Seattle right now.” - The Seattle Review of Books
“Emotional, sensitive, mind-blowing vocals. Nakayama is the rare, true falsetto.“ - American Standard Time
"The songs on Pieces of Sky have a quiet, intimate intensity. The music is subtle and full of delicate nuances, but they explore a wide dynamic and emotional range." - Magnet
"Tuneful, understated, urging us to look at the sky, the moon, nature, and commonplace things, commonplace feelings." - The Stranger
"In a decade of writing and recording his own music, Nakayama has shown a gift for complexity and nuance." - Seattle Weekly, "Best of Seattle 2017"
"I set into this record with high expectations and preconceived notions of the sonic landscape I would find. However, I find myself caught beautifully off-guard by the sheer sincerity, grace, and risk of this body of work." - ArtistHome
"The most compelling moment is a performance by Tomo Nakayama. His ballad ‘Horses’ distills the inchoate longings of these likable characters more effectively than any spoken words." - New York Times review of Touchy Feely