NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts have become a powerful launch pad for musicians, since they started in 2008. Its most popular video, of Anderson Paak, has racked up more than forty million views. Bob Boilen, host of All Songs Considered, curates the series, which has helped millions of listeners discover new artists. Now, a musician from Hawai‘i has made the cut.
“So that’s Bob Boilen’s actual desk. He works there,” says ‘ukulele virtuoso Taimane, now that she’s taken the tour and broken the ice for Hawai‘i performers on that famous tiny desk.
“And it’s funny, the angle of it makes it look tiny but when you’re actually behind it there’s a lot of space. You know I love to dance around and there’s actually a lot of space.”
Taimane did bring a dancer, as well, but Chick Corea’s grand piano has actually fit behind there if you must know, plus, Mucca Pazza played, they have 23 people. So while the definition of 'tiny' in this case has been debated, the impact that being on this program can have, is not.
Forbes charted the lift in social media metrics that artists got after a Tiny Desk Concert and found it depends on the artist. Secret Sisters got a week on week average bump of 1800% after they appeared, many reap millions of Youtube views, others have barely blipped. It depends on your audience. Taimane’s fans aged 25 and up will be looking for her Tiny Desk performance to drop on Youtube next week Friday, March 13th.
“It’s really fun to see Tiny Desk behind the scenes, because you see what they put out on Youtube, but the audio guy is so good, so to be able to meet him and see how the videographers do their thing. They’re pretty much young and excited and happy to be a part of NPR.”
Taimane was invited after Boilen saw her at South By Southwest last year. If you happen to be a performer with a lot of style, or know one, the Tiny Desk Contest is on now, for a shot at performing on the show. NPR is looking for undiscovered, unsigned talent.
Asked what he looks for, Boilen says, Singularity. Music only you can make. Like past winners, from 2018 Naia Izumi.
And last year’s winner, Quinn Christopherson, two guys from Alaska won out over six thousand other submissions--the series is known for its careful listening. The Tiny Desk Contest deadline is March 30th, 2020.