Sofia Camille entered the Tiny Desk Contest with the song "Sideways."YouTube/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. There's still time to enter: We're accepting videos 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.
Irwin Hall Organ Trio, "The Heart Chakra"
Hometown: Irvington, N.J.
Pairs well with: A toast to new beginnings; making eye contact with someone special
The Irwin Hall Organ Trio's entry "The Heart Chakra" stands out for its excellent narrative shape. The central melody flourishes between the start and finish, starting off somewhat flirtatious and shy, but revealing itself as more and more confident with each repetition. Hall — who is not only a saxophonist, but a multi-instrumentalist and music teacher — is visibly connected to his music, as are the two talented musicians who join him (William Gorman on the organ and Jerome Jennings on drums). Together, they embody the song's dynamic and playful spirit. —Pilar Fitzgerald
Sofia Camille, "Sideways"
Hometown: Windermere, Fla.
Pairs well with: Letting your hair down and leaving your boyfriend
Sofia Camille's song "Sideways" is a blasé R&B bop with no shortage of saxophone or "boy, bye" vibes. In her entry video, Camille's bold, booming voice raises with the band backing her as they build to a bridge, begging the song's antagonist subject — who "only calls after 3 a.m." — to be better. —Elle Mannion
Joe Holt, "People In New York"
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Pairs well with: The AirPods meme; the patience instilled by repeated deep-breathing
In this Tiny Desk Contest entry, three-time entrant Joe Holt continues to use his first-person perspective for good, placing his experience alongside the continuum of everyone he meets: careless pedestrians at the crosswalk; a man on the train asking for spare change; his fellow musicians trying to make it in the big city. Considering that last one, Holt explores the dichotomy built into the profession, where underneath the smiling selfies on musicians' Instagrams is the emotional labor of constantly marketing the self with the brittle hope of success. —Cyrena Touros
Natalie Price, "The Island"
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Pairs well with: A contemplative cup of tea while wearing your favorite sweater; sending a sappy text to a friend or significant other
Natalie Price's "The Island" is a sparse and tender love song: We hear just Price's voice and a kalimba — a kind of miniature plucked piano. The instrument has a music-box quality to it, and its childlike sweetness matches perfectly with Price's lyrics: a sentimental narration of two people just at the beginning of falling in love, feeling like they've finally found dry land after years out at sea. —Jon Lewis
American Scream, "Funeral"
Hometown: Boone, N.C.
Pairs well with: Telling Tumblr how you really feel; watching horror movies in the afternoon
Emo fans, rejoice. For its Tiny Desk Contest entry, American Scream headed to an empty church and performed a stripped-down version of its song "Funeral" that doesn't sacrifice any classic emo hallmarks. Downer vibes? Check. Lyrics about death? Yep. A cathartic, wailed chorus? Got it. All performed in front of a relatively unadorned but totally adequate desk – as all Tiny Desk aspirations should be. —Marissa Lorusso
Monkh, "What You Wanted Ft. Rt-Faq"
Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
Pairs well with: Sipping tea on a slow day; pondering what could have been
In Monkh's entry "What You Wanted," a tale of love's complications bubble to the surface. Wavering between love, lust and loss, Daniel "Monkh" Horrell points out feelings of comfort and stability challenged by pain and insecurity. This battle is emphasized by Ramel "Rt-Faq" Prince as he raps and drums alongside Ben Biver on the bass. Monkh has entered the Contest several times before, and we're thrilled to see him continue to share with the Contest community. —Tolu Igun