Tiny Desk Contest Seeking Entries
Speaker 1: 00:01 From Adele to Rahim Devonne and stinging with shaggy musical artists from across genres had performed behind NPRs tiny desk adorned with musical momentos and memorabilia. NPR music's tiny desk series gives artists a chance to showcase their talent in a way never heard before. And an intimate concert like the time Speaker 2: 00:22 pain transformed his auto tuned nightclub banger buy you a drink into a love ballot against the backdrop of soft piano keys back in 2014 Speaker 3: 00:34 [inaudible] Speaker 2: 00:35 hello. Speaker 4: 00:41 No, no, no. Speaker 2: 00:47 [inaudible] lemme talk to you. Let me buy you a tray. Speaker 1: 00:53 The audience always gives a new twist and tiny desk concerts also wants to give their audience a chance to discover unknown artists. The 2020 tiny desk contest, which is a nationwide search to find the next great undiscovered musician is now open and looking for entries. Joining us is Bob Boylan, host of all songs considered and creator of the tiny desk concert series. Bob, welcome. Hi Jade. Thank you. So first tell me about how the tiny desk concert series came to be. Speaker 5: 01:23 Uh, I came to be as quite by an accident, uh, as many great things in life do. Uh, and it was a, an artist that I went to see in South by Southwest at a music festival. Her name was Laura Gibson. I went with Steven Thompson, um, who is, uh, I'm work workmate here at NPR music. And we went to see Laura and hear her when we couldn't. Uh, she was drowned out by a bunch of people watching a basketball game basically. Uh, she came off stage, we introduced ourselves and said, uh, Steven, Steven jokingly said, uh, you know what? We couldn't hear you and you know what? It would be great if you came and just played a little private concert for us at our office. And we laughed. And three weeks later she came. Speaker 1: 02:09 Do you know, I guess in 2014, the contest, uh, also grew out of that. Why are you all doing it and who gets to participate? Speaker 5: 02:17 Well, I mean, the thing about the contest that I love is that we get to see people who we would, I know I'd never get to see as often as I go to shows. I'd still, I'd rarely ever get to see any of the people who are sending the submissions to the contest cause we're looking for unsigned artists. And most of the artists that I'll go see, uh, or get in my inbox are people who might have, even if it's a small label, might have a label. Uh, and so we want people over 18, uh, that's contest rule, uh, writing an original song or presenting us with an original song of theirs behind a desk of their choosing. Uh, then they have to live in the U S and those are the things, uh, details and all that are on the tiny just contest site. They can read the specifics of the rules, but that's the, that's the heart of it. Speaker 5: 03:06 So what do winners of the contest get? A life changing experience? But, but I jokingly say that, and I bet I truly mean that. Uh, every artist who's played the tiny desk, uh, their lives have changed. They get hurt by an awful lot of people and an awful lot of people who can help, uh, get their music out into the world. And that's what's life-changing about it. Uh, they also get to go on tour at 10 cities. Uh, we will go, uh, around the country and people will hear their music. Often. A lot of those people are, uh, public radio stations and, and their listening audience. Um, and so that's one thing, but, but I think the biggest thing is that notoriety and they'll get hurt by ears and eyes that would never, ever see or hear them. And for the people submitting, you know, what kind of talent is the panel looking for? Speaker 5: 04:03 Well, I love looking for something that I've never seen or heard before in some way, shape, or form. It could be a subtle difference in the way somebody sings a phrase. It could be a, as different as someone who has invented their own, their own instrumented. So I just, I like to see something that's surprising, that's different, um, and shows a sense of originality. Yes. So who's the most memorable winner of the contest for you and what was it about their sound that made them a winner? It's hard for me to pick just one of the, of the five winners we've had. But, uh, I'll pick tank in the bank is for as an example. Uh, they showed a sense of, uh, both humor and a depth of emotion, Speaker 2: 04:51 empathy and opened me up to a world of storytelling that I've seen in many bands ever before. Snap, snap, snap, Speaker 5: 05:12 very unusual. Amazing band from new Orleans. Earlier you mentioned exposure. Have any of the winners of the contest gone on to be signed by a record label? Almost all of them and a few have gone on to win Grammy awards or Grammy nominated, uh, toward the world. I mean, like I said, life changing. Absolutely. Life changing. I've always wondered what's in the collection of musical memorabilia behind the tiny desk. What's the coolest thing back there? Maybe the decaying Chris steely birthday cake when Chris steely came, uh, to play a, I hope I get this right with nickel Creek for an anniversary tour. They did. Uh, he had just gotten braces. Uh, and when he came with punch brothers a handful of years later, it was his birthday and we made him a birthday cake with a, uh, a big smiley face with braces on it. And the only part of the cake that didn't get eaten was the part with the braces. And I put that under a, you know, when you used to BICE blank CDs that big, um, plastic, uh, to kind of thing that the CDs would look underwhelmed. I put, I put his cake under that, took a little duct tape and taped it up and it's, uh, it's been, uh, four years or so and it's decayed and it's behind my desk. Speaker 1: 06:30 Any advice you have for local bands here in San Diego who are working on submitting their injuries? Speaker 5: 06:36 Uh, well first of all, submit it. Don't think about submitting it, actually do it and get it in early. Uh, if you get it in early, there's a good chance more people here will see it so that perhaps we'll put, make a little blog entry on it. Uh, everybody seems to tend to want to do it on the last day. And so you'll get heard, but buried. But you'll get buried in, uh, in the thousands of entries that come on that last day. So do it sooner. Uh, do something you're proud of and send it our way. Speaker 1: 07:07 I've been speaking with Bob Boylan, host of all songs considered and creator of the tiny desk concert series. Bob, thanks so much for joining us. Pleasure. The deadline to submit for the tiny desk concert series is March 30th and of course, speaking of concerts, KPBS will once again hosted summer music series beginning in August, 2020 participating local bands will be selected in June, and we will be watching out for any San Diego submissions to tiny desk. So we want as many San Diego bands and artists to enter the tiny desk contest as possible.