caption
YouTube/Screenshot by NPR

Malena Cadiz submitted the song "Call It A Night" to the Tiny Desk Contest.

YouTube/Screenshot by NPR

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. You can enter the Contest until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30. You can watch a playlist of all the entries we've featured on the blog on YouTube. If you think you've got what it takes, check out the Official Rules and fill out the eligibility checklist, then film your video and submit it here!


Malena Cadiz, "Call It A Night"

YouTube

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Pairs well with: Slow Sunday mornings, bare feet and light wash blue jeans

Malena Cadiz's entry video for "Call It A Night" presents a contrast: the atmosphere is light and calm as sunlight washes over the room, while Cadiz's raspy-yet-bold, barren voice vibrates through it. The two-time Contest entrant's song is hopeful and reassuring as Cadiz emphasizes that a whole doesn't fall apart just because some tangled threads are pulled loose: "Silver lining I tore right out of my dress / Don't worry about me baby I'll be fine / I let the ends loose, let it all unwind." —Elle Mannion


Sam Rae, "Delaine"

YouTube

Hometown: Charleston, S.C.
Pairs well with: Sneaking away at a party to ponder your love life

In her entry video for "Delaine," Sam Rae plays a guitar borrowed from songwriter (and Tiny Desk alum) Brandi Carlile, for whom Rae plays cello on tour. The song shows off Rae's distinctive, rich voice — joined by harmonies from violinist Kyleen King — and takes full advantage of the natural reverb of her filming location: the bathroom at the Fillmore in Minneapolis, Minn. —Marissa Lorusso


Granite to Glass, "There's Nothing Quite Like Missing You"

YouTube

Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Pairs well with: Gazing at city skylines from cold rooftops and beat up Converse

Granite to Glass' entry for "There's Nothing Quite Like Missing you" begins unassumingly with soft acoustic guitar strums and melancholy lyrics. Then the heart-soaring strings come in. These elements weave together to express the bittersweet feeling of knowing a place through a lover's lens, and then not being able to shake their ghost as you walk through the city alone. In this tender breakup song, free of hard feelings, the narrator seems to be somberly realizing that missing someone might be better than never having known them at all. —Elle Mannion


Sarah Potenza, "I Work for Me"

YouTube

Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
Pairs well with: The first time you wore a blazer, a power-stance in front of a wind machine

"They told me I was too big. That's right, now I'm a giant." That's just one of many power-packed one-liners that leaps out at you in Sara Potenza's entry, "I Work for Me." Backed by four women best described as a girl-boss band, Potenza's soulful affirmation is a celebration of self, taking up space and sparkling while doing it. This is also her first time entering the Contest, which makes her confidence and charisma all the more enjoyable to watch. —Pilar Fitzgerald


6MR j.j., "femmeboy"

YouTube

Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
Pairs well with: Igniting a fire in your soul to start the day

6MR j.j. sends gratitude to the female forces in his life throughout this Tiny Desk Contest entry titled "femmeboy." In a special shoutout to his mother, j.j. proclaims: "You did more for me than you can even know / I only shine, shine in your glow," echoed by Brittany Hanley on backup vocals. Layered over the groovy sounds of this track, j.j. raps about moments of inspiration that have led him towards the confidence he displays here. —Tolu Igun

All Songs Considered

Jun 08, 2021

Roséwave: Back 2 Basic

Enlarge this image It's not a genre; it's a lifestyle. Kara Frame/NPR hide captiontoggle caption Kara
Dec 29, 2020

Roséwave: Lost Summer

Enlarge this image We danced in kitchens, took long drives, caught up in backyards or on video chat, watched weddings from our
Jun 29, 2020

Heat Check: Underrated And Elevating

Enlarge this image cupcakKe switches her flow up so many times that "Discounts" is a raunchy and hilarious three-minute shopper bargain.
Jun 22, 2020

Heat Check: Can't Get It For Free

Enlarge this image Miami duo City Girls returns with their second full-length album, City on Lock. Prince Williams/WireImage/Getty Images hide…
Jun 15, 2020

Heat Check: Bigger Picture

Enlarge this image Lil Baby's "The Bigger Picture" is a conscious trap anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement. Matthew Geovany
Jun 08, 2020

Meet The 2020 Tiny Desk Contest Community

YouTube Each year, we receive thousands of entries to the Tiny Desk Contest, and the Contest team watches every single one. We get to hear songs from…
May 31, 2020

Heat Check: 'Black Joy Is Radical'

Enlarge this image Nubya Garcia's latest single "Pace" is all about diving into the many layers of joy. Adama Jalloh/Courtesy of
May 25, 2020

Heat Check: Got A Big Ego

Enlarge this image Amaarae cuts it up better than a moon-walking Samurai on "Body Count." Philip Boakye/Courtesy of the artist hide
May 03, 2020

Heat Check: Hippocampus Two-Steps

Enlarge this image Dreya Mac spits bars at a level far beyond a novice on her debut track "Skippin." Clara Setian/Courtesy
Apr 26, 2020

Heat Check: Shake Your Senses

Enlarge this image Rooted in languid rhythm, Octavian's "Poison" featuring Santi with OBONGJAYAR sounds like nothing else out. Crowns & Owls/Courtesy…
Apr 19, 2020

Heat Check: Double My W's

Enlarge this image Kenny Mason unveils his debut project Angelic Hoodrat with a cool-under-pressure, low-lid resolve. Nasser Boulaich/Courtesy of the…
Apr 12, 2020

Heat Check: Money In My Hand

Enlarge this image Don't play with Kari Faux. Play with your kids. Quil Lemons /Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption Quil
Apr 05, 2020

Heat Check: I Feel Void

Enlarge this image Empress Of's "Void" feels like a euphoric cross-genre culture clash, a dance party in a summer storm. Dorian Lopez/Courtesy
Mar 29, 2020

Heat Check: Teleport And Transform

Enlarge this image Bongeziwe Mabandla's "masiziyekelele" sends you racing through the streets of Johannesburg. Justice Mukheli/Courtesy of the artist…
Mar 22, 2020

Heat Check: Make It Make Sense

Enlarge this image Alex Isley's "Gone" perfects the art of subtle, fear-inducing seduction. Lauren Desberg /Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle…
Mar 08, 2020

Heat Check: Homecoming

Enlarge this image The laboriously-delayed Eternal Atake finally delivered big time for Lil Uzi Vert fans. Erika Goldring/FilmMagic/Getty Images hide…
Feb 23, 2020

Heat Check: Caught Up And Curious

Enlarge this image Linda Diaz's "Magic" swirls in the watercolor pools of a quirky, young love. Jonah Zorn Koplin/Courtesy of the artist
Feb 17, 2020

Heat Check: Répéter, Répéter

Enlarge this image Arlo Parks' "Eugene" spins a stinging reminder of getting left for convention. Charlie Cummings/Courtesy of the artist hide…
Feb 09, 2020

Heat Check: Going All Out

Enlarge this image Victoria Monét melds fantasy with reality for her latest, "Moment." Dana Trippe/Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption…
Feb 03, 2020

The Tiny Desk Contest Is Back For 2020

YouTube In the past year, we've had some pretty big names come perform at the Tiny Desk: Lizzo, Jimmy Eat World and Taylor Swift, to name a few.
Default Image
Dec 17, 2019

Bob Boilen's Top 20 Albums For 2019

Big Thief released two of Bob Boilen's favorite albums in 2019: U.F.O.F. and Two Hands. Michael Buishas hide captiontoggle caption Michael Buishas
Dec 16, 2019

Heat Check: Favorite Discoveries Of 2019

Enlarge this image Kirby, Odunsi (The Engine) and Hope Tala Courtney Loo & David Karp/Folarin Omolayole/Freddie Stisted/Courtesy of the artists hide…
Dec 01, 2019

Heat Check: Ode To The Cap

Enlarge this image Kilo Kish's glitchy, pithy "SPARK" sets fire to procrastination, pushing you to keep creating. Kish Robinson/Courtesy of the artist
Nov 17, 2019

Poll: Your Favorite Songs Of The 2010s

Oivind Hovland/Getty Images/Ikon Images What are your favorite songs of the past decade? These are tracks released between 2010 and 2019. We know
Nov 17, 2019

Heat Check: Charge The Haters Interest

Enlarge this image Denzel Curry's Super Saiyan energy offsets Glass Animals' eerie, horn-submerged production on "Tokyo Drifting." Elliot Arndt…
Nov 10, 2019

Heat Check: Lived-In R&B, Rap And Ragga

Enlarge this image With rich, cascading runs, Ayoni's "September" is a stand-out on this week's Heat Check. Caleb Griffin/Courtesy of the artist
Nov 10, 2019

Heat Check: Lived-In R&B, Rap And Ragga

Enlarge this image With rich, cascading runs, Ayoni's "September" is a stand-out on this week's Heat Check. Caleb Griffin/Courtesy of the artist
Oct 20, 2019

Heat Check: Getting Lost, Giving In

Enlarge this image TeaMarrr's mesmerizing new single "Kinda Love" is the type of daydream to put into action. Tyren Redd/Courtesy of the
Oct 06, 2019

Heat Check: Songs That Let It All Out

Enlarge this image The Pendletons provide a jazzy, dancing-in-your-living-room soundtrack to self-care. Ivan Noble/Courtesy of the artist hide…
Sep 29, 2019

Heat Check: Euphoric Shuffle Play

Enlarge this image Daniela Andrade's "Ayayai" (single artwork pictured here) shows off the artist's linguistic versatility. Yi-Shuan Lee/Courtesy of…
Sep 15, 2019

Heat Check: Future Nostalgia

Enlarge this image KIRBY's "Kool Aid" injects just the right doses of doo-wop and soul. Courtney Loo & David Karp/Courtesy of the
Sep 02, 2019

Heat Check: Friends Of Friends Of Friends

Enlarge this image Sudan Archives' "Confessions" is included in this week's Heat Check. Alex Black/Courtesy of the artist hide captiontoggle caption…

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.