The concept of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series is simple: musicians from all different genres are invited to perform an intimate concert at the desk Bob Boilen, the host of NPR’s All Songs Considered. Only at a Tiny Desk Concert can we experience T–Pain’s “” without any special effects, or see use the desk itself as a stage for his performance, setting up lights with varying shades of bright colors to reflect the themes of his “Flower Boy” album. However, these two sets are amongst the most popular of Tiny Desk Concerts; T–Pain’s video has over 13 million views and Tyler’s has almost seven million. Here are five underrated, equally as great, Tiny Desk Concerts that you need to check out from this year:
Only dvsn would project their desk space with changing blue lights and lit candles, making the room feel more intimate than it already is. Daniel Daley, the singer of dvsn, shows off his falsetto, smiling through his dark shades as he does it and swaying with his backup vocalists. dvsn is special in that their R&B style of music still sounds sweetly modern.
From the start of the video, boygenius’ soothing melodies and voices come through as they sing “Souvenir,” from their first album, boygenius. All members of boygenius have made an appearance on Tiny Desk, but this marks the first time the newly formed band has performed. It’s clear that Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridgers have a natural dynamic together from the way they relax and joke around between songs.
It’s rare that you find a Tiny Desk Concert featuring both a performer and his dad. Saba nods proudly to a vocalist next to him and says, “This one’s special, ‘cause you’re not gonna believe me when I say it. This is Chandler, my father.” Performing four songs from his newest album, CARE FOR ME, this Chicago artist makes you want to groove happily alongside him and his crew.
GZA & The Soul Rebels
It’s impossible not to watch GZA & The Soul Rebels’ performance and not smile. The combination between GZA, one of the founding members of the Wu–Tang Clan, and The Soul Rebels, a brass group from New Orleans, is an amazing collaboration that brings out the best of both artists. The Soul Rebels flows perfectly with GZA’s laid back raps, as he precisely spits out lyrics from tracks like “Liquid Swords” and “Duel of the Iron Mic.”
While rocking a bright, plaid orange jumpsuit, Jorja Smith reveals her effortless vibe in this Tiny Desk performance. Her voice is unique in that its high, but not piercing, and suddenly you find yourself getting lost in her melodies. Jorja has a rare talent of making you feel at ease, as if you’re in the room chilling right alongside her.
The next time you want to procrastinate, instead of scrolling through Spotify’s “Discover” section, give these Tiny Desk Concerts a try!