The annual NPR Music #TinyDeskContest revealed its 2018 winner last month: Naia Izumi, a Georgia-born, Los Angeles-based busker who excels at swift guitar licks, live looping and fervent rock and soul vocals. While we’re certain to hear more from Izumi and team Tiny Desk in the coming weeks and months, let’s not get too far from this year’s competition without celebrating the plethora of impressive Philadelphia-based entries.
There was the haunting, moodily illuminated chamber pop of Philly’s Gracie and the So Beautifuls — the only local artist to get shouted out by the NPR contest team in their various “videos we loved” posts leading up to the big reveal. There were reliably awesome entries from return contestants ILL DOOTS and Joy Ike — both of whom appeared on past lineups of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert at World Cafe Live. The nine-piece hip-hop / R&B outfit &More leapt off the screen with their chemistry and a natural dynamic between vocalists Chill Moody and Donn T. The elegant Port Arthur brought Sufjan vibes to a small living room ensemble. Trap Rabbit absolutely destroyed and instrumental jam in their practice space. Madalean Gauze‘s performance of “The Fire” was a sinister and surreal short film, equal parts invigorating and unnerving. And that’s to say nothing of the artists who we were not familiar with before the contest began but who we have made a point to explore at greater depth: rapper A. Rob, electric soul ensemble Vinny x GypsyFunk, singer-songwriter Rachel Andie and her band The V Element, groovy bedroom producer HETZ, and composer artist William Colella (whose video awesomely features a cat peeking around under the hood of the baby grand piano).
Scroll down below and give a watch to every Philadelphia entry in the 2018 #TinyDeskContest.
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