The Beauty of Tiny Desk Concerts


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Country singer Kacey Musgraves performs at the Tiny Desk

Myesha Rahman, Staff Writer

Tiny Desk Concerts showcase an artist’s raw talent right from the desk of the creator, Bob Boilen. Boilen, the host of the NPR podcast All Songs Considered, created Tiny Desk Concerts because he didn’t like the sound of the crowd drowning out the performer. This led to his team inviting folk singer Lauren Gibson to Boilen’s desk to do a private performance. This was only the start of hundreds of Tiny Desk Concerts being uploaded online and collectively gaining billions of views.

What makes these concerts so unique is the simplicity. Artists perform strictly acoustic songs with absolutely no autotune. This allows audiences to witness an artist’s authentic voice without the gimmicks of voice modifications. A small crowd of NPR employees and guests gather to create an intimate atmosphere that projects beyond the screen. The crowd doesn’t overwhelm the performance and adds to the charm of the setting.

Some of the biggest names in music like Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers have performed at the Tiny Desk. However, Boilen finds joy in exposing viewers to new artists and genres.

“My thrill is to watch an unknown [play a Tiny Desk], and then [see] a reaction happen…. Things that would never, ever [have] entered their world. That to me is the beauty of what we do.”, Boilen said to Billboard Magazine. 

Here are some Tiny Desk Concerts worth the listen: