NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest is back for 2019

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest | Courtesy of NPR Music

It’s that time of year again. The time for unsigned artists across the country to break out their video cameras, warm up their vocalizers and come up with the most original and captivating original musical performance from behind some sort of desk. “Why?”, you ask?  Because NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest is back for 2019, awarding one lucky winner a visit to NPR headquarters to play their very own Tiny Desk concert, and then come on tour with NPR Music with support from our sponsor, Blue Microphones.

Today at SXSW, NPR Music announced the return of the popular Contest. And for the first time ever, it’s open to artists 18 years and older. Over the past four years the Contest has received more than 22,000 entries from artists and bands across all 50 states. Continue reading →


Japanese Breakfast brings Soft Sounds and a string ensemble to NPR’s Tiny Desk

Japanese Breakfast | still from video | via

Somewhere in between the release of the stunning LP Soft Sounds From Another Planet, a U.S. tour, a celebratory Philly homecoming show and a European tour, Japanese Breakfast found time to stop by NPR Music to film a Tiny Desk Concert. The intimate setting of the famed Tiny Desk provides the perfect opportunity for experimentation and often leads artists to strip down their songs into quieter, acoustic versions — and for Japanese Breakfast this happened to include the addition of some unexpected but beautifully executed string arrangements performed by members of D.C. string quartet Rogue Collective. Continue reading →


Watch Chance The Rapper cover Stevie Wonder at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk

Chance The Rapper at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk | photo by Claire Harbage for NPR

Imagine how good a Chance The Rapper Tiny Desk performance would be. Now multiply that goodness by at least ten, and that’ll give you the performance’s true value. Chance stopped by the NPR Music offices last month and took the acoustic session series to places it hadn’t seen before. His quick set, out on NPR Music’s site Wednesday, consisted of one tune from his world-dominating 2016 release Coloring Book, one poem he wrote on his way to the office that day and one Stevie Wonder cover. Continue reading →


And now, a (nearly) complete list of Tiny Desk Contest videos from Philly

The Bul Bey | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |
The Bul Bey | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo |

For the second year running, the folks at NPR Music held their Tiny Desk Contest this winter, with artists all over the country competing to be a featured performer on the endlessly popular Tiny Desk Concert video series. Word is the winner will be announced tomorrow morning, so just like last year, we here at The Key compiled a list of nearly every Philly area musician who entered.

Last year, NPR told us that Philadelphia artists contributed 75 videos to the 7,000 overall entries. This time, we’re counting 131 videos…almost double.

Each group reconfigured their setup for an intimate performance, staged behind a desk of some sort. The mix and variety of styles parallels the variety of musical talent pouring out of this city right now. And this isn’t even all of it. Continue reading →