Emerging musicians: Think you've got what it takes to perform at the iconic Tiny Desk? If so, NPR wants to hear from you!
Over the past five years, nearly 30,000 musicians from across all 50 states have submitted their videos to NPR's Tiny Desk Contest in the hopes of being chosen to perform as part of NPR Music's signature music discovery series. Now, NPR is once again calling for unsigned bands and musicians to submit their entries at NPR.org/tinydeskcontest, starting Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. ET and closing at midnight ET on Monday,
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The winner will perform at the Tiny Desk at NPR's Washington, D.C. HQ and embark on a national tour with NPR Music in partnership with NPR Member stations. The The Tiny Desk Contest On The Road tour includes stops in Atlanta (GPB, WABE, WCLK), Chicago (WBEZ/Vocalo), Denver (Colorado Public Radio OpenAir, The Colorado Sound), Los Angeles (KCRW), Nashville (WPLN, WMOT), New York City (WFUV), Phoenix (KJZZ) Seattle (KEXP), and Philadelphia (at WXPN's 2020 NON-COMMvention).
Tiny Desk Contest winners are destined to be impressive forces in the music industry. Fantastic Negrito, the inaugural winner, has won two Grammy awards; folk musician Gaelynn Lea has performed at renowned venues around the world and recently performed with alternative rock band Wilco; New Orlean's own Tank and the Bangas performed at Coachella in 2018 and recently received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. Virtuosic guitarist Naia Izumi signed a deal with Sony Masterworks and this past November took his talents overseas for a sold-out solo tour in Japan. Most recently, Quinn Christopherson won the competition for his vulnerable and powerful song "Erase Me," and since winning has joined Courtney Barnett, Portugal. The Man and Lucy Dacus on tour.
"The Tiny Desk has become a bucket-list destination for musicians all over the world," said Bob Boilen, creator of the Tiny Desk series. "The Tiny Desk Contest gives some great unknown talent the chance to fulfill their dream and change the course of their life."
This year's panel of judges includes three Tiny Desk alums: 2019 winner Quinn Christopherson; 10-time Austin Music Award winner Gina Chavez; and four-time Grammy award winner Brittany Howard. They'll be joined by Tarik Moody of Radio Milwaukee, Raina Douris of WXPN's World Cafe and NPR Music's Bob Boilen and Bobby Carter.
"Having an NPR Tiny Desk is like a golden ticket. It's gifted me nearly a million views and paved the way for my musical career," said Gina Chavez, Tiny Desk alum and Contest judge. "Now I get to share the love as a judge for the 2020 Tiny Desk Contest! I can't wait to hear this new wave of talent."
Though there can only be one yearly grand prize winner, submitting artists benefit from joining the Tiny Desk Contest community — whether they're featured on NPR Music's All Songs Considered blog, in a Tiny Desk supercut video, on NPR's newsmagazines, in the Tiny Desk Contest newsletter, or at one of the stops on the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road tour.
"The Tiny Desk Contest completely changed the trajectory of my life and given me opportunities I didn't even know were possible," said Quinn Christopherson, 2019 Tiny Desk Contest winner and Contest judge this year. "I'll be forever grateful for the incredible and inspiring mentors I've met along the way."
To enter NPR Music's 2020 Tiny Desk Contest, unsigned musicians must play one original song at a desk (any desk — free range to be creative here!), upload a video of the performance to YouTube and submit with a completed entry form at NPR.org/tinydeskcontest. NPR Music welcomes music from all genres and entrants from previous years with new material. Artists must be at least 18 years old and live in the 50 United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands or the District of Columbia to enter. The winning artist(s) must be available to travel to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. between May 11 and June 30 for their Tiny Desk performance and tour in summer 2020. Please see complete rules for entry.
State Farm® is the exclusive sponsor of this year's NPR Music Tiny Desk Contest and tour.
Since the launch of the Tiny Desk concert series in 2008, more than 900 performances have been recorded at the Tiny Desk — Bob Boilen's festive workspace at NPR headquarters — which is adorned with years of music mementos and memorabilia. Tiny Desk concerts attract more than 7.5 million viewers each month and continues to unify a passionate community around the love of music discovery. The series has provided a unique stage for artists from across the genre spectrum and at every phase of their careers, including recent performances by Megan Thee Stallion, Taylor Swift, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Freddie Gibbs, iLe, Toro y Moi, Sesame Street, and more.
See the official announcement video here.