The Best Tiny Desk Performances You'll See
Tiny Desk Concerts are some of the most intimate and unique performances you can find on the internet. These concerts, hosted by NPR, feature musicians from all genres performing live in a small office space adorned with eclectic decor. But what makes Tiny Desk Concerts so significant? It's the stripped-down nature of the performances that allow artists to showcase their raw talent and creativity. In this post, we have curated a list of the best Tiny Desk Performances you'll see. From soulful Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals to heart-wrenching Mitski, we've got it all covered. So sit back and enjoy as we take you on a musical journey through some of the most incredible performances from artists across the globe.
As music lovers, we all know the thrill of attending a concert and becoming part of something bigger than ourselves. Tiny Desk concerts offer an entirely different experience — one that's intimate, stripped-down, and raw. Filmed at NPR's office, these performances showcase artists from a wide range of genres, from mainstream to underground. The series offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creative process of musicians, often including unique arrangements or never-before-heard tracks.
What are Tiny Desk Concerts?
One of the most unique and intimate concert series around, Tiny Desk Concerts feature musicians performing stripped-down versions of their songs at NPR's All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen's desk. With performances ranging from indie rock to classical music, these concerts offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creative process of musicians. Artists often include interesting arrangements or instrumentation in their sets, making each performance one-of-a-kind. Tiny Desk Concerts have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for artists to showcase their talents in an intimate and personalized setting.
Why are Tiny Desk Concerts significant?
Tiny Desk Concerts offer a unique and stripped-down format that allows artists to showcase their music in an intimate setting, creating a special connection between the artist and the audience. The series has become significant because it offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creative process of musicians, featuring diverse genres, interesting arrangements, and even new material. Tiny Desk Concerts have given artists a platform to showcase their talents and creativity in an unforgettable way, resulting in some truly memorable performances.
Top Tiny Desk Performances
Introducing some of the best Tiny Desk Concerts, these musical performances showcase an intimate setting where artists strip down their pieces to showcase pure talent. From rap to jazz to classical, genre is no limit for these artists who deliver unforgettable performances. Each artist brings their unique sound and style to the table, providing a refreshing take on their music. These stripped-down concerts showcase the raw talent of each artist and offer listeners a chance to hear familiar songs in a new way – an experience not to be missed.
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals' Tiny Desk concert is a soulful and energetic performance that showcases their unique blend of funk, hip-hop, and R&B. Anderson .Paak's smooth vocals and skilled drumming make him a standout performer in the music industry. The intimate setting of the Tiny Desk concert allows for a stripped-down performance that highlights the artist's talent and creates a connection with the audience. Fans of live music will definitely appreciate this must-see performance.
Daniel Caesar's Tiny Desk Performance is a testament to his soulful and musical talent. With stripped-down versions of his songs “Japanese Denim,” “Get You,” and “Best Part,” the performance showcases Caesar's ability to captivate audiences with his smooth voice. The intimacy of the Tiny Desk Concert series allows for a unique and personal experience, making it a popular platform for noted up-and-coming artists such as Lizzo, Anderson .Paak, and H.E.R. If you're looking for beautiful melodies and raw vocal talent, Daniel Caesar's Tiny Desk concert is one to watch.
Grammy-winning artist Thundercat's Tiny Desk performance is a testament to his exceptional musicianship and captivating energy. Accompanied by a keyboardist and drummer, Thundercat's bass guitar playing and soulful singing are on full display in an intimate setting. The setlist includes songs from his critically acclaimed album “Drunk” as well as a cover of George Duke's “For Love (I Come Your Friend).” If you're looking for an entertaining musical experience that showcases an artist's raw talent, then Thundercat's Tiny Desk concert is not one to miss.
Chloe x Halle
The Tiny Desk Concert featuring Chloe x Halle is a perfect example of the power of stripped-down versions of popular songs. This sister duo's soulful and harmonious vocals take center stage in their performance, creating a captivating atmosphere even in a small space. Their raw emotion and musical talent shine through in their renditions of “Do It” and “Baby Girl,” making this performance an absolute must-see for fans of R&B and soul music.
Florence + The Machine
In 2018, Florence + The Machine delivered a mesmerising performance at the Tiny Desk. The stripped-down versions of “June,” “Patricia,” and “Ship to Wreck” showcased frontwoman Florence Welch's undeniable vocal power and range. The intimate setting allowed for a raw and emotional performance that was a testament to the band's musical versatility. This Tiny Desk concert is a must-watch for fans of Florence + The Machine, as well as anyone who appreciates great music in an intimate and personal setting.
T-Pain's Tiny Desk performance is an absolute must-see for music lovers. The use of live auto-tune is a standout feature, elevating his performance to a whole new level. Stripped-down versions of hit songs like “Buy U a Drank” and “Up Down” demonstrate his raw talent as both a singer and performer. Additionally, T-Pain's rendition of Sam Cooke's “A Change Is Gonna Come” showcases his vocal range and musical versatility. Overall, this performance highlights the exceptional artistry that has made T-Pain a beloved figure in the music industry.
Mac Miller‘s Tiny Desk performance is a poignant and emotional reminder of his immense talent. The stripped-down versions of his songs “2009,” “Small Worlds,” and “What's the Use?” showcase his ability to convey raw emotion through music. Through his lyrics, Miller reflects on personal struggles and growth, creating an intimate connection with the audience. This Tiny Desk concert serves as a fitting tribute to the late artist, highlighting his artistry and vulnerability.
In her Tiny Desk performance, Mitski demonstrates her musical prowess through an emotive and stripped-down set. The intimate setting of the concert allows for a deeper connection between the artist and the audience, as she performs fan-favorites such as “Your Best American Girl” and “A Burning Hill.” Additionally, Mitski showcases her versatility with a cover of the traditional Japanese folk song “Geyser,” making her Tiny Desk performance a must-watch for fans of indie rock and anyone seeking an intimate musical experience.
Common's Tiny Desk performance is a shining example of the power of intimate concerts. The stripped-down versions of his classic hits allow for a more personal connection between the artist and the audience. Common showcases his lyrical prowess and ability to connect with listeners on an emotional level. His performance is a reminder that music can be a transformative experience, especially in smaller settings like those provided by Tiny Desk Concerts. This series has become a platform for artists to showcase their raw talent and creativity, highlighting the significance of live performances.
Jordan Rakei's Tiny Desk performance is a soulful and emotional experience, showcasing the artist's raw talent and introspective lyrics. As a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Rakei blends jazz, funk, and electronic music to create a unique sound that resonates with listeners. His stripped-down versions of “Say Something” and Radiohead's “Codex” highlight his ability to convey emotion through his music. Rakei's intimate performance is a must-see for fans of soulful and heartfelt music.
Bonobo's Tiny Desk performance is a shining example of the incredible musical talent that has graced the concert series. With a unique blend of electronic and live instrumentation, Bonobo's set showcases the power of live music in an intimate setting. The songs from his album “Migration” as well as older material are beautifully highlighted, creating an unforgettable experience for both the artist and audience. This stripped-down performance proves that sometimes less is more when it comes to showcasing true musical ability.
Tom Misch (2018 & 2020)
Tom Misch's Tiny Desk performances in 2018 and 2020 showcase his multi-talented musicianship. In both sets, he effortlessly blends elements of jazz, soul, and hip-hop to create unique and groovy sounds that leave a lasting impression. His 2018 performance features a full band on “It Runs Through Me,” showcasing his ability to create catchy hooks and smooth vocals. In contrast, his 2020 set is a stripped-down version of “Kyiv,” where he showcases his impressive solo skills on the guitar and piano. His Tiny Desk performances are a must-watch for any music lover seeking soulful and innovative sounds.
Jorja Smith's Tiny Desk performance showcases her soulful and emotional depth. Stripped down versions of her hit songs like “Blue Lights” and “On Your Own” allow viewers to experience the raw talent of this R&B and soul artist up close. Witnessing an artist perform in such a cozy, intimate setting makes for a truly unforgettable viewing experience.
Mount Kimbie is an English electronic music duo that has gained popularity for their unique style of music. Their Tiny Desk performance showcases the duo's ability to blend live instruments with electronic sounds, creating a captivating and memorable experience. With songs like “You Look Certain (I'm Not So Sure)” and “Blue Train Lines”, Mount Kimbie's performance is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys innovative and experimental music. The combination of live instrumentation and electronic production creates an immersive atmosphere that separates Mount Kimbie from other artists in the electronic music genre.
Robert Glasper Experiment
Robert Glasper Experiment is known for their innovative approach to music, blending jazz, hip-hop, and soul. Their Tiny Desk performance showcases the versatility of the band's musicians, featuring songs from their album “ArtScience” as well as a cover of J Dilla's “Fall in Love.” The intimate setting of the Tiny Desk allows for a more personal and engaging performance from the artists. Fans of jazz and experimental music will surely appreciate this must-watch performance.
Son Little's Tiny Desk performance showcases his unique blend of blues, soul, and rock music. Accompanied by a guitarist and drummer, Son Little performs three songs including “O Me O My” and “The River.” His raw vocals and powerful guitar riffs make for an unforgettable experience. Influenced by classic soul and R&B, Son Little's music is a must-watch for fans of blues and rock music. The intimate setting of the Tiny Desk allows for a personal and authentic performance that captures the essence of his sound.
Other Notable Performances
As popular as some of the performers mentioned in the previous section are, there are many other amazing Tiny Desk concerts that viewers may have missed. From indie rock to jazz to hip hop, Tiny Desk has hosted a wide range of musical genres and artists. Some lesser-known but equally impressive performances include King Krule's hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Dum Surfer,” BADBADNOTGOOD's experimental jazz set featuring guest collaborator Charlotte Day Wilson, and Sampha's soulful performance showcasing his powerful vocals and emotional depth. It is worth exploring more Tiny Desk performances to discover new artists and broaden your musical horizons.
King Krule's Tiny Desk performance is a haunting display of raw talent and emotional depth. The British singer-songwriter's gravelly voice adds to the intensity of his lyrics, as he performs stripped-down versions of songs like “Dum Surfer” and “Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver).” Fans of indie rock and alternative music will find much to appreciate in this mesmerizing performance.
BADBADNOTGOOD is a Canadian instrumental music group that has captivated audiences with their unique sound. Their Tiny Desk performance is highly recommended for music lovers, featuring a mix of jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music. The group's use of various instruments such as saxophone, drums, bass, and keyboard creates a dynamic and captivating performance. With over 1 million views on YouTube, BADBADNOTGOOD's Tiny Desk Concert is a standout performance that should not be missed.
Sampha's Tiny Desk performance is a testament to his raw talent and emotional depth. With stripped-down versions of “Plastic 100°C” and “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano,” he effortlessly switches between keyboard and vocals, showcasing his soulful and emotive music. Sampha's intimate performance is sure to leave an impact on fans of heartfelt music.
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib are a rap duo with a unique sound that blends hip hop and jazz. In their Tiny Desk performance, they showcase live instrumentation and soulful vocals, complete with songs from their latest album “Bandana.” The duo's musical innovation and dynamic energy on stage is unparalleled, making their performance an absolute must-see for any music lover.
Wu-Tang Clan needs no introduction. The iconic hip-hop collective has been a staple of the genre since the early '90s, and their Tiny Desk performance proves that they've still got it. The stripped-down versions of their classic tracks showcase the group's raw talent and energy in an intimate setting, making for a must-see performance for any fan of Wu-Tang Clan or hip-hop music in general. Get ready to witness the legends in action.
Burna Boy is a Nigerian singer and songwriter who has gained global recognition for his unique blend of Afrobeat, dancehall, and reggae music. His Tiny Desk performance on NPR showcases stripped-down versions of his hit songs “Ye,” “Gbona,” and “African Giant.” Burna Boy's energy and charisma on stage make for an unforgettable performance that highlights the best of African music. Watching his Tiny Desk concert is a must-see for fans of world music and those looking to discover new sounds.
Houston-based band Khruangbin's Tiny Desk performance showcases their unique blend of Thai funk, soul and psychedelic rock. The trio's chemistry on stage is palpable as they seamlessly blend instrumental tracks with songs featuring vocals both in English and Thai. Laura Lee's basslines, Mark Speer's guitar melodies and DJ Johnson's drumming create an otherworldly soundscape that has captivated audiences worldwide. Khruangbin's music defies categorization and is a must-listen for anyone looking to discover new and exciting sounds.
Masego's Tiny Desk Concert is a testament to his creativity and musical prowess. He seamlessly blends different genres of music, including jazz, R&B, and hip-hop, to create a sound that is uniquely his own. His performance showcases his impressive vocal range and skill on multiple instruments such as the saxophone and keyboard. From popular tracks like “Tadow” to lesser-known gems like “Queen Tings,” Masego's Tiny Desk Concert is an excellent example of innovative and genre-defying music.
In his Tiny Desk concert, Justin Bieber showcases his musical versatility and vocal range by performing stripped-down versions of his hit songs. With emotional renditions of “What Do You Mean?” and newer tracks such as “Holy,” “Hold On,” and “Peaches,” Bieber's performance received widespread acclaim from both fans and critics alike. The intimate setting of the Tiny Desk allows for a unique showcase of Bieber's talent that is not to be missed. Other notable performers on NPR's Tiny Desk series include Adele, Hozier, and Lizzo.
Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator's unique and memorable Tiny Desk performance showcased his versatility as an artist. In the stripped-down versions of his songs “Boredom,” “See You Again,” and “Glitter,” Tyler's ability to connect with the audience in an intimate setting was on full display. He even added his own personal touches to the performance, such as bringing his own mug and adding humor to his introductions. Overall, Tyler's Tiny Desk performance is a must-watch for anyone looking for a fresh and engaging musical experience.
Tiny Desk Performances have become a phenomenon in the music industry, providing an intimate and unique experience for both the artists and their fans. From Anderson .Paak's electrifying performance to Tom Misch's soulful sets, there is something for everyone. But it's not just about the music – Tiny Desk Concerts give us a glimpse into an artist's personality and creativity, often bringing out new sides of them that we haven't seen before. And with so many incredible performances to choose from, it's hard to pick just one favorite. Check out our list of the best Tiny Desk Performances and discover some new favorites for yourself!