- 32,0M views334K likes10,4K comments
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertAugust 15, 2016 by BOBBY CARTER • Good luck trying to classify Anderson .Paak and his band The Free Nationals. Much of their sound is layered atop a soulful hip-hop foundation; from there, your safest bet is to call it a hodgepodge of genres in the best way possible. Guitarist Jose Rios and bassist Kelsey Gonzalez inject a hard-rock edge into the Hi-Tek-produced "Come Down," this set's opening number. When you hear them play the first few jazz chords of "Heart Don't Stand A Chance," it's hard to simply call this R&B.
It's been a slow build for .Paak, who released a few mixtapes before his 2014 debut album Venice. This year has marked his official breakout with Malibu, on which he did what so many in his position fail to do: He capitalized. After bursting into the spotlight with his appearances on Dr. Dre's Compton LP, he immediately prepped the release of Malibu. The album sculpted an entirely new lane for Anderson .Paak. He can rhyme with best of 'em, and his vocal styling, reminiscent of '70s and '80s greats, is invigorating when set against today's tender R&B elite. Before all that, he's a drummer-slash-bandleader.
I've experienced three separate presentations of this band. First, there's the recorded version, on which .Paak collaborates with some of hip-hop's finest producers. Then, their tight stage show hits you in the chest with 90-plus minutes of pure energy. In the midst of a whirlwind tour, they stopped by the Tiny Desk and reworked three cuts from Malibu, along with an audience request that shocked even them. They stripped down and pulled back just enough to fill the room.
Malibu is available now:
"Heart Don't Stand A Chance"
"Put Me Thru"
Producers: Abby O'Neill, Bobby Carter, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Claire Hannah Collins, Nickolai Hammar; Production Assistant: Sophie Kemp; Photo: Cameron Robert/NPR.
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Mac Miller: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertAug. 6, 2018 | Bobby Carter -- There was a shift in Mac Miller's boisterous demeanor as he started the third of his three-song Tiny Desk set. It's the first time he's performed tracks from his new album, Swimming, in front of an audience. On "2009," he rubbed his chin with clinched eyes, looking like a young man who's beginning to crack the code. Backed by a piano loop and a string quartet, he reflected on his journey's peaks and valleys thus far.
I ain't asking why no more
I know I'll take it if it's mine
I don't stay inside the lines
It ain't 2009 no more
Yeah, I know what's behind that door
With nearly a decade under his belt at 26 years old, these words ring like an artist twice his age.
We were introduced to Mac Miller via 2011's XXL Freshman Class, which featured a special crop of MCs such as Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and YG, all of whom are now considered in the upper echelon of hip-hop. After his big splash, he's been able to find a groove and consistently release quality rap records, ultimately keeping his name in the conversation with the other young greats. His 2011 album, Blue Slide Park, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the first independently distributed debut album to do so since 1995's Dogg Food by Tha Dogg Pound. These consecutive triumphs amassed plenty of fame, fortune and insurmountable obstacles, causing a stumble here and there. Throughout the years, however, Mac has brushed himself off and put it in the music.
For this performance, Mac Miller invited frequent collaborator Thundercat, who graced the Tiny Desk last year and will join Mac on tour this fall. Thundercat put on a dazzling shaker routine and played the deep centerpiece bass line on "What's The Use?" These Swimming iterations don't veer far away from the recorded versions, but here, his lyrics seem easier to interpret under live instrumentation.
"What's the Use? (Feat. Thundercat)"
Mac Miller (Vocals), Thundercat (Bass), Justus West (Guitar), Klynik (Keys), Joe Cleveland (Bass), Kendall Lewis (Drums), Robin Fay-Massie (Violin), YaShauna Swan (2nd Violin), Lelia Walker (Viola), Melanie Hsu (Cello)
Producers: Bobby Carter, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Beck Harlan, Khun Minn Ohn; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
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T-Pain: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertT-Pain's fingerprints are all over pop and R&B and hip-hop. He wasn't the first musician to use Auto-Tune as an instrument — he noticed it on a Jennifer Lopez remix, and remembers "Deep" well — but it was, as he says, his style. For a while, in the mid-2000s, he lived at the top of the charts. He dominated that brief moment of our lives when ringtones were a thing. He was celebrated as an innovator, and he happily took his talents where he was invited, which was everywhere.
But somewhere along the way, somebody got it twisted. "People felt like I was using it to sound good," says T-Pain, in an interview that will air on All Things Considered. "But I was just using it to sound different.”
He just turned 30, but T-Pain has already done enough to drop a greatest hits album next week. We asked him if he'd grace the Tiny Desk without any embellishment or effects to show what's really made his career: his voice, and those songs.--FRANNIE KELLEY
"Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')"
"Up Down (Do This All Day)"
Producers: Frannie Kelley, Maggie Starbard; Editor: Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Maggie Starbard; Production Assistant: Susan Hale Thomas; photo by Maggie Starbard/NPR
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Lianne LaHavas NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertOctober 02, 2015 by SURAYA MOHAMED
In 2012, my kids introduced me to Lianne La Havas' debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough? One play and I was hooked; I've been a fan ever since. Her music works for any activity, any emotion.
The first time I saw La Havas live, I was unprepared for the experience: Her music touched my heart in a way I'd never experienced before. I cried through the entire performance. Her music was that powerful, with lyrics woven together with beautiful harmonies; it pulled emotions out of me I didn't even know existed.
La Havas is soulful yet playful, raw and vulnerable in a commanding kind of way, and her new second album, Blood, is as amazing as the first. In this Tiny Desk performance, she plays two new songs — "What You Don't Do" and "Unstoppable" — as well as "Forget," from her first album. She and her talented collaborators, James Wyatt on piano and Frida Mariama Touray on backing vocals, rehearsed this special arrangement during the sound check just moments before the performance. It's wonderfully intimate, with just guitar accompanied by vocals that embellish without getting in the way. If you're like me, you will never get enough.
Blood is available now.
"What You Don't Do" 00:00
Producers: Suraya Mohomed, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Nick Michael, Julia Reihs; Production Assistant: Kate Drozynski; photo by Jun Tsuboike/NPR
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Adele: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertIn a stripped-down three-song set at the NPR Music offices, the Grammy-winning U.K. pop star showcases her brilliant voice and seemingly effortless charisma. Watch Adele perform two new songs to go with her ubiquitous hit "Chasing Pavements."
"Someone Like You"
"Rolling In The Deep"
For more videos, visit npr.org/tinydeskconcerts
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Jorja Smith: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertJune 11, 2018 | Sidney Madden -- It's a good thing the weather was gloomy the day Jorja Smith rolled in for her Tiny Desk concert. Even though the skies threatened rain and thunder, the overcast light lingering in our dimmed office space allowed the teardrop pendant lights, hung from the ceiling by her lighting team, to cast the desk in a warm, honey-hued glow. And while the nimble guitar strings and double-time drums of her supporting band was enough to dizzy the focus in the room, it was the U.K. singer's slow, silky cadence that anchored the performance in tranquility.
As Smith worked her way up the scales to each high note in "On My Mind" (a track usually sung over a reverberated garage beat) and "Teenage Fantasy" (a ballad to love lost written when she was 16), there wasn't an ounce of pressure evident in her face or body language. When she closed her eyes to deliver the rap verse of "Blue Lights," the anti-injustice song that first positioned her as a SoundCloud darling in 2016, a hush fell over the room in awe of her precision.
Though Smith's boldface collaborations to date range from Drake to Kali Uchis, her debut album Lost & Found is free of featured acts. Much like this Tiny Desk performance, those 12 tracks show off Smith's talent in a minimalist way — musing about life and love with the ambiguity and sense of agency that only comes with newfound freedom.
After she finished, but before retreating to the comfort of Supreme sweats, Smith and her band bestowed the Tiny Desk with a blue lava lamp signed by every member. Keep an eye out for that Easter egg in future episodes.
"On My Mind"
Jorja Smith, Femi Koleoso, Benjamin Totten, Mutale Chashi, Amane Suganami
Producers: Sidney Madden, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Beck Harlan, Bronson Arcuri; Lighting: Tyler C. Trofatter; Production Assistant: Bobby Carter; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.
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Tyler, The Creator: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertContent advisory: The video above may contain language that is offensive to some.
Dec. 11, 2017 | Sidney Madden -- Tyler, The Creator's Tiny Desk performance was a first for many reasons. It was the Los Angeles rapper's first time performing at our offices, but moreover, it was the Tiny Desk's first nighttime performance, a special request from Tyler and his team in order to professionally light the "stage" themselves. Members of Tyler's lighting crew came to the office a day before to set it up, eventually bathing him and his band in shades of fuchsia, orange and blue — one for each song — during the early evening show.
Flower Boy, Tyler's latest album, is much like this Tiny Desk performance; a surprising departure from the expected. Four albums in, he has matured as a producer, rapper and human being. Often equated to hip-hop's class clown, the 26-year-old peels back his own mask of immaturity to reveal a young adult grappling with anxiety, fear and uncertainty of self.
After he was done, Tyler did something of a modified mic-drop, throwing his tambourine in celebration of what he and his band had accomplished. Always one to stay casually connected with his fans, Tyler made time — nearly an hour after the performance was done —- to pose for photos, sign merch and crack jokes with (and on) everyone around him.
"See You Again"
Tyler Okonma (vocals, keys), Jaret Landon (MD/Keys) Dré Pinckney (Bass), Dalton Hodo (Drums), Kaye Fox (background vocals), Kiandra Richardson (background vocals)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Lighting: Max McDougall; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Alyse Young; Production Assistants: Paul Wichmann, Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR
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- 7,6M views106K likes3,9K comments
The Roots feat. Bilal: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertOct. 30, 2017 | Abby O'Neill -- Can you believe it? Yes, those are The Roots packed behind the Tiny Desk. Black Thought, Questlove and the crew carved out a few hours in their hectic Tonight Show schedule to visit NPR headquarters in Washington D.C. Why travel four hours for a 12-minute concert when you own the late-night airwaves? The answer can be found in the lyrics to The Roots' new song, "It Ain't Fair."
Armed with the incredible vocalist Bilal, The Roots performed the signature track from Detroit, a film about the race riots in 1967. "It Ain't Fair" glares unflinchingly, takes a knee and raises a fist against the societal construct that has systematically denied equality of experience to those "presumed inferior," to quote one of Bilal's verses. And it achieves all this while covering its heart with its right hand. This reflective hymn tenderly yanks your heart strings and offers a window into the ethos of those who would like to stand for the flag but cannot in good principle, lest these same evils continue to exist.
Those lucky enough to be in the Tiny Desk audience witnessed masters at work. Black Thought is truly one of the most intelligent emcees ever, and his razor-sharp lyricism was on full display. Questlove, a musical and cultural historian nonpareil, was both a metronomical and moral anchor. It felt like the culmination of decades of academic rigor and boom-bap sessions, fittingly backed by a seven-piece horn section. Bilal's falsetto-laced vocals and warm resonance evoked powerful messaging reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield's "Don't Worry," delivered with the eccentricity of Prince.
Late last year, Common premiered "Letter to the Free" at the Tiny Desk and later won an Emmy for the song. It wouldn't surprise me if "It Ain't Fair" becomes another award-winning performance when the Oscars roll around early next year. This is a song that deserves to be heard in the millions of households that watch The Roots every night.
"It Ain't Fair"
Curtis L. Jones Jr (Trombone), Arnetta Johnson (Trumpet), Hiruy E. Tirfe (Sax), Richard L. Tate II (Sax), Joseph Streater (Trumpet), Norman J. Bradshaw (Trombone), Damon Bryson (Sousaphone), Ahmir (Questlove) Thompson (Drums), Tarik (Black Thought) Trotter (Emcee), Bilal Oliver (Vocals)
Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Alyse Young; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR
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- 7,5M views130K likes6,8K comments
Tank And The Bangas: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertBob Boilen | March 10, 2017 — Out of over 6,000 entries — more submissions than we've ever received — Tank And The Bangas won, unanimously, this year's Tiny Desk Contest. I fully expected their victory performance here at NPR headquarters in D.C. to be celebratory. I didn't know we'd all end up in tears.
This band combines R&B with hip-hop's poetry and rollercoaster storytelling, with a flair and alchemy that could only come from New Orleans. Their winning song, "Quick," mixes liquor and revenge — a sort of modern day take on a great folk tale, but peppered with their own idiosyncratic flair and humor. What I couldn't see, until they took over my desk, was the depth of their lyricism and the versatility of their players. At one moment fun-filled funk, the next laid-back jazz, rhythm-driven blues — and it all flows seamlessly. And it's fun to watch: There's a magic kinship between Tarriona "Tank" Ball and Anjelika "Jelly" Joseph as they share singing roles, like two best friends finishing one another's sentences.
This is the third year that NPR Music has put out a call in hopes of finding a shining star. I'm still amazed how, after sifting through thousands of videos from abundantly talented musicians, we can find a common winner amongst a range of judges with such different musical backgrounds. But in the end, my All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton, Trey Anastasio (Phish), Miguel, Anthony Hamilton, Ben Hopkins (PWR BTTM), BANKS, and folks who listen to an awful lot of music — NPR member station hosts Rita Houston (WFUV), Talia Schlanger (WXPN), Stas THEE Boss (KEXP) — and myself were all equally charmed, delighted and captivated.
And so here it is, a chance to see an artist truly blossoming. It's just the beginning: A few years ago, for our first Contest, Fantastic Negrito won our hearts. This year he won a Grammy. Last year Gaelynn Lea, an unknown violinist, teacher and singer sent a video captured on a phone and won our affection and souls. A few weeks ago, her Tiny Desk Concert had been seen more than a million times. These days she's taken to the road, touring the world.
Tank And The Bangas will be hitting the road in April with NPR Music to find their new audience — I'll be along for the ride — visiting many of our member stations with help from those music-loving beer brewers at Lagunitas. I can't wait to see the reaction in these crowds' eyes, as they fill with wonder and tears like ours did, experiencing this band for the first time.
"Boxes And Squares"
Tarriona Tank Ball (vocals); Jelly Joseph (vocals); Merell Burkett Jr. (keys); Norman Spence II (keys); Joshua Johnson (drums); Jonathan Johnson (bass); Albert Allenback (saxophone)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Nick Michael, Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith; Production Assistants: A Noah Harrison, Ameeta Ganatra; Photo: Niki Walker/NPR.
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- 7,3M views138K likes6,3K comments
Tash Sultana: Tiny Desk ConcertBob Boilen | April 7, 2017 - Last May, Tash Sultana posted a self-made video, just her in her living room with guitar, laptop and a great song called "Jungle." Within five days it had drawn a million views.
This 21-year-old Maltese-Australian got a guitar from her grandfather when she was three, she says, and has played it every day since. It's astonishing to watch Sultana's fluidity on her instrument, like a natural extension of her body. (She also plays bass, saxophone, trumpet, flute and more, but kept it "simple" at the Tiny Desk.) I thought I had a lot of energy — watching her bounce from guitar to drum machine to two separate microphones — and then hopping barefoot from looping pedal to effect pedal as she builds her songs was exhilarating and exhausting. There's more here than an exercise in virtuosity, her music is filled with adventure and ambition. These songs are rapturous and resonant.
Tash has just finished a month-long, sold-out U.S. tour.
The EP Notion is available now.
iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/notion/id1185683763
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Notion-EP-Tash-Sultana/dp/B01MU2KKVT/
Tash Sultana (vocals, guitar)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Bronson Arcuri; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Morgan Noelle Smith; Production Assistant: A Noah Harrison; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
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Natalia Lafourcade: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertOct. 27, 2017 | Felix Contreras -- Natalia Lafourcade is a successful singer-songwriter whose voice and music live on the edge of pop, but maintain a distinct independence.
A few years ago, while Lafourcade was traveling Brazil, she felt a great nostalgia for her native Mexico and its folk music. When she finally returned home, she immediately called some friends for the kind of party that is ubiquitous in Latin America: lots of social drinking, lots of food and lots of guitars and singing. Classic folk songs were on the playlist and a good time was had by all.
Someone recorded the informal jam session and Lafourcade's management team heard the tapes. "This is your next record!" they told her.
That record, Musas: Un Homenaje al Folclore Latinoamericano en Manos de los Macorinos, Vol. 1, was a commercial and critical hit, and received a Latin Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. It only made sense for Lafourcade to bring her Musas tour to the Tiny Desk. The performances are an ode to a magical time in Mexican popular music, one that is revived with every note this singer and her band perform.
One important historical note: The two older gentlemen on the video are Juan Carlos Allende and Miguel Peña, two revered musicians who played with the iconic ranchera singer Chavela Vargas.
"Soledad y el Mar"
"Mi Tierra Veracruzana"
"Tú Sí Sabes Quererme"
Natalia Lafourcade (vocals), Ernesto Anaya (traditional Mexican guitar), Uriel Herrera (drums), Jorge Molina (double bass), Juan Carlos Allende [Los Macorinos] (acoustic guitar), Bernardo Ruiz (electric guitar)
Producers:Felix Contreras, Bronson Arcuri; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith, Tsering Bista, Maia Stern; Production Assistant: Jenna Li; Photo: Liam James Doyle/NPR
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- 6,6M views113K likes3,4K comments
Chance The Rapper: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertRobin Hilton | July 5, 2017 — Chance The Rapper knew he wanted to try a different approach for his Tiny Desk performance, so he decided to do something he said he hadn't done in a long time. He wrote a poem. More specifically, he wrote a poem in the short time it took him to ride from his hotel in Washington, D.C. to the NPR Music offices. Calling it "The Other Side," Chance debuted it in the middle of his remarkable set, reading from his notes written out in black marker on sheets of typing paper.
"I still have all the keys that are of no use to me," he began. "They used to, though. On the other side was a mansion on a hill, complete with L.A. pools and fireplaces and a rim made specifically for people that lie about being six feet to dunk on."
Chance didn't get much further before he was interrupted by one of the hazards of performing in an actual, working office: a building-wide page for someone to call the mailroom. But Chance rolled with it, cracking a quick joke before starting over again.
The night before arriving for his Tiny Desk set, Chance performed for more than 23,000 people at Jiffy Lube Live, an outdoor theater in Bristow, VA. The sold out arena and amphitheater shows of his current tour offer a stark contrast to the first time I saw Chance in concert back in 2013. Then, he was a 19-year old upstart rapping and singing for a handful of people at a tiny club in Austin, Texas. A lot has changed since then, and quickly. Chance's most recent mix tape, Coloring Book, was widely ranked among the best albums of 2016 (some called it a masterpiece) and featured collaborations with a cast of hip-hop luminaries, from Kanye West to Lil Wayne and T-Pain.
Chance's poem "The Other Side" was sandwiched between an opening version of "Juke Jam" from Coloring Book and another special gift just for his Tiny Desk appearance, a moving cover of Stevie Wonder's 1974 song "They Won't Go When I Go."
Coloring Book is available now:
"They Won't Go When I Go" (written by Stevie Wonder)
Chance The Rapper (vocals); Nico Segal (trumpet); Peter Wilkins (keys); Rachele Robinson (background vocals); Ben Lusher (background vocals); Elliot Skinner (background vocals); Richard Saunders (background vocals); Greg Landfair Jr., aka "Stix" (drums)
Producers: Robin Hilton, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Nick Michael, Morgan Noelle Smith, Tsering Bista; PA: Colin Marshall, Jenna Li; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
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- 5,6M views57,5K likes1,9K comments
Hozier: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertAndrew Hozier-Byrne's voice is so rich, so vital and so soulful, I'm certain I'll follow his music for a long time to come. The 24-year-old Irishman, who performs under the name Hozier, opens this set with the brilliant and instantly grabby song "Take Me to Church," about passion, sex and religion.
Hozier's music is based in the blues, and you'll hear the singer-guitarist's love for Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker during the second song he performs here. His band — piano, guitar, percussion — steps aside for the swampy "To Be Alone," in which the blues provide a starting place for his high, yearning vocals and deep questioning. Hozier has just two EPs out, and both have me yearning to hear more. --BOB BOILEN
"Take Me To Church"
"To Be Alone"
Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Olivia Merrion; Production Assistant: Alex Schelldorf; photo by Alex Schelldorf/NPR
- 5,5M views64,6K likes2,0K comments
Leon Bridges: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertSeptember 08, 2015 by BOB BOILEN
We probably should have shot this Tiny Desk Concert in black-and-white. Listening to Leon Bridges, I hear a sound with its heart and soul rooted in 1962. There's purity in his voice that's unadorned, untouched and unaffected by 21st-century pop. It's just soul.
Still, the songs from this 26-year-old Fort Worth singer feel refreshing in the context of the day. Surely there's touches of Sam Cooke's spiritual sound, but Leon Bridges has a way of making the familiar feel adventurous and new. It may be because this is all new to him. He only picked up the guitar around the age of twenty and only began listening to classic soul music after friends told him he sounded like R&B musicians from long ago. What Leon Bridges has tapped into on his debut album with fellow Fort Worth musicians including Austin Jenkins from White Denim is a universal sound, an undeniably heartfelt sound which transcends age, race and musical tastes. He's easy to love and tough to resist and his performance at the Tiny Desk with his fabulous band is a testament to what it means to sing from the heart.
"Coming Home" 00:00
"Smooth Sailin'" 04:06
"Twistin' & Groovin'" 07:30
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Colin Marshall, Lani Milton; Assistant Producer: Elena Saavedra Buckley; photo by Lydia Thompson/NPR
- 5,5M views36,4K likes2,9K comments
Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertEdward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros can't exactly slip into an office building unnoticed: Clad in the same clothes they'd worn at a concert the night before, the L.A. band's 10 ragtag misfits would have fit in far more seamlessly at, say, Burning Man. Seeming to exist in a blissed-out alternate universe — during the wonderful "Home," singer Jade Castrinos exclaims, "Good morning, everybody!" as the clock behind her reads 2:10 p.m. — this is a band whose performances beg to be seen as well as heard, not to mention shot through a wide-angle lens.
The biggest band to play a Tiny Desk Concert - the 10 members of The Magnetic Zeroes played three songs from their debut album (Up From Below).
The set included:
- 40 Day Daydream
- 5,5M views63,3K likes5,4K comments
The Cranberries: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertAfter a long hiatus, the best-selling Irish pop-rock band is about to return with a new album called Roses. But if this performance at the NPR Music offices is any indication, the group isn't afraid to dip into its arsenal of early hits.
"Ode To My Family"
"Raining In My Heart"
For more videos and to subscribe to the Tiny Desk Concerts podcast, visit npr.org/tinydeskconcerts.
- 5,4M views116K likes5,4K comments
Daniel Caesar: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertJune 4, 2018 | Bobby Carter -- Daniel Caesar and his band had a clear vision for their Tiny Desk performance. While already confined to a small space, they opted to congregate at the piano, where producer and music director Matthew Burnett sat to create what feels like a fly-on-the-wall moment. We're presented a purity that's nearly impossible to capture on an album.
The success of Caesar's debut LP, Freudian, has created a groundswell of fanfare and exposure for the 23-year-old singer-songwriter. It was nominated for two Grammys and won two Junos (Canada's equivalent to the Grammys). We've seen him perform on Late Night with Seth Meyers, pop stars are serenading him with his own songs and his set at this year's Coachella festival was one of the most buzzed about (behind the queen Bey, of course). Caesar's is an organic ascent that's yet to reach its peak.
Caesar carries a coy aura about him, until he opens his mouth to sing. The years of training in church, fused with natural talent, is on full display. Supporting vocalists Camille Harrison, Danah Berry and Nevon Sinclair are in tow for the whole ride, providing some of the richest harmonies we've heard at the Tiny Desk. I found myself fixated on the playful manner in which the band members interacted with each other.
Caesar didn't hold back with the set list. He performed his three most-streamed songs (a combined 249,000,000 plays on Spotify alone), including "Best Part," which included a Tiny Desk guest appearance by NPR Music favorite H.E.R.
"Best Part (feat. H.E.R.)"
Gabriella Wilson (H.E.R.), Ashton Simmonds (Daniel Caesar), Adrien Bent (Drums), Saya Gray (Bass), Matthew Burnett (Piano), Nevon Sinclair (Vocals), Danah Berry (Vocals), Camille Harrison (Vocals)
Producers: Bobby Carter, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, CJ Riculan, Kara Frame; Photo: Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR.
- 5,2M views71,9K likes2,7K comments
Tom Misch: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertJune 1, 2018 | Bobby Carter -- I learned a few things while watching Tom Misch perform at the Tiny Desk that should've been obvious to a longtime fan like me: He produces beats with a live audience in mind. As much as his drums slap, guitar is the foundation for most of his songs and he showcases a burgeoning talent on the instrument throughout his set.
I first caught wind of this UK wunderkind in 2014. Crafting his own instrumental projects and remixing tracks by artists ranging from Busta Rhymes to Lianne La Havas, Misch steadily garnered a dedicated following on SoundCloud. From there, he collaborated with other London artists and released EPs of original music on the platform. Misch's style doesn't revel in what's going on in pop music today; like a handful of other artists from the UK, his interpretation of hip-hop and R&B is a continuation of what the greats who came before him started. A healthy dose of that inspiration is drawn from the late J. Dilla, while Misch's up-tempo dance numbers align him with the Kaytranadas of the world. In 2016, Misch — still just 21 years old at the time — decided to dabble more in songwriting and explore that soothing timbre of his voice on Reverie, and all of a sudden, his potential rose exponentially.
Misch and the band arrived bright and early to get situated behind the Tiny Desk and rehearse. Misch has said before that he isn't a jazz purist intrinsically, but the way he opens up a guitar solo or jams with saxophonist Braxton Cook, jazz music certainly runs through him.
If you haven't heard of Tom Misch before this performance, now's a good time to catch up. Check out his breakthrough album, Geography, as well as his earlier collaborations, then come back and watch his Tiny Desk again for a true appreciation of his growth as an artist.
"It Runs Through Me"
Tom Misch (guitar/vocals), Tobias Tripp (guitar/violin/vocals), James Creswick (bass), Jamie Houghton (drums), Joseph Price (keys), Braxton Cook (saxophone)
Producers: Sidney Madden, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Beck Harlan; Production Assistant: Stefanie Fernández; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
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Erykah Badu: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertAug. 15, 2018 | Felix Contreras -- Some folks around the NPR Music office said they felt an almost spiritual connection to Erykah Badu during her visit to the Tiny Desk. And that was before she and her band even played a single note. It came from the waft of earthly scents that followed in her wake, to the flowing dreads and clothes that hung on her like robes.
After her self-introduction, which included a rundown of her spiritual and creative aliases, Badu rolled into one of her earliest musical calling cards, "Rimshot." It's an ode to the sound the percussionist makes when a drumstick is struck against the metal edge of the snare drum. On this performance, as on her 1997 album Baduizm, it becomes a device to play with time — stretching it, stopping it, suspending it. Propelled by jazz chords on the piano and the steady pulse of the acoustic bass, the playful performance unfolded in the tradition of the best bebop.
But the panoramic song "Green Eyes" is the centerpiece of Badu's Tiny Desk performance. It's wide-ranging in scope and musical arrangement and brilliantly executed by the jazz and hip-hop musicians in her backing band. The story of heartbreak is striking enough, but her interpretation showcases her formidable vocal skills. By the time it was over, we were all just as emotionally and spiritually spent as she was from the experience.
Erykah Badu is an artist for the ages. To old-school jazz fans like myself, names like Nina Simone, Betty Carter and Shirley Horn come to mind as much as Billie Holiday because of Badu's singular approach to a lyric. They all cut their own creative path and left behind a legacy that you can identify with just one note. Erykah Badu is on that same path, and one day her name will be mentioned along with the other Elders who share her spirit of musical adventure.
Erykah Badu (lead vocals), RC Williams (Keys), Braylon Lacy (bass), Cleon Edwards (Drums), Frank Moka (Percussion), Kenneth Whalum (Sax), Keyon Harrold (Trumpet), Dwayne Kerr (Flute)
Producers: Abby O'Neill, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Khun Minn Ohn, CJ Riculan; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR.
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St. Paul And The Broken Bones: NPR Music Tiny Desk ConcertClose your eyes and listen, and you might imagine someone who looks a bit like Otis Redding. Open them, and you're likely to see someone who looks more like your neighborhood bank teller.
That man standing on my desk in the golden shoes is Paul Janeway. He was, in fact, a bank teller in Alabama not long ago — and this stupendous seven-piece band from Birmingham has only been doing this since 2012. But take a look at this Tiny Desk Concert and you'll see why St. Paul And The Broken Bones' music is so winning. It's got heart and soul and flair, with a well-worn sound buoyed by strong, fresh songwriting. -- BOB BOILEN
"Half The City"
"Broken Bones And Pocket Change"
Producers: Bob Boilen, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Becky Lettenberger, Colin Marshall, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: James Clark; photo by James Clark/NPR