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Home » Music » Must-See Tiny Desk Concerts – Vol. 1

Must-See Tiny Desk Concerts – Vol. 1

If you love stripped-back live performances as much as we do, then you’re probably familiar with Tiny Desk Concerts.
Tiny Desk Concert - HER

Hosted by NPR Music, Tiny Desk Concerts is a video series that invites well-known artists to perform intimate shows. Since launching in 2008, the series has amounted to over 1000 performances, featuring some of the most prominent artists around.

Whether you’re new to Tiny Desk Concerts or fancy taking a trip down memory lane, we’ve compiled some of our favourite performances to date. In no particular order, here are the concerts we just can’t get enough of…

1. Mac Miller (2018)

Mac Miller’s 2018 Tiny Desk Concert will forever hold a place in our hearts. It was released a month before his passing, and since then, has generated over 57 million views.

This Tiny Desk Concert put Mac Miller in a new light; the intimate environment removed all filters, allowing us to focus on his complex lyrics more than ever before. This show was also his first time performing songs from his album Swimming, so it was a completely unique experience for all. And don’t even get us started on Thundercat’s oh-so-smooth bassline!

2. Tyler, The Creator (2017)

We’re finishing volume one of this series just as strongly as we started it. It’s almost like the Tiny Desk series was made for Tyler, The Creator.

In true Tyler fashion, this concert was filmed at night, allowing the artist to play around with some mood lighting. There’s no denying that Tyler is a true entertainer, but the toned-down nature of this set successfully put him in a new (albeit calmer) light. Hit the play button to see a peeled-back version of “Boredom”, “See You Again”, and “Glitter”. Keep an eye out for the backing vocals too; oh-so-dreamy.

3. Tom Misch (2018)

2018 was a particularly strong year for Tiny Desk Concerts. And, in June, Tom Misch joined our hall of fame.

Tom Misch started his musical career back on SoundCloud in 2012, making a name for himself through a jazzy vibe and unique instrumentals. His long-anticipated debut album Geography was released in 2018, making it the perfect time to hit the Tiny Desk stage.

This Tiny Desk Concert makes it feel like you’re sitting front row at an intimate jam. You can tell how passionate Misch and the rest of the band are, proving that you don’t have to work a day in your life when you do what you love. Turn the volume up and enjoy these incredible vibes.

4. Anderson .Paak (2016)

We’re throwing it back to 2016 with this unforgettable performance from Anderson .Paak! This Tiny Desk Concert is one of the most-viewed out of the whole series, and all with good reason.

Accompanied by his band The Free Nationals, Anderson .Paak brings nothing but energy and charisma to the stage for 15 minutes. You can’t help but groove as you watch all these incredible artists get to work, proving that sometimes, less is more.

This Tiny Desk Concert gave .Paak the boost he so-rightly deserved, and since then, his career has been sky-rocketing. We know he’s only just getting started.

5. Justin Bieber (2021)

Coronavirus restrictions meant that Tiny Desk Concerts had to have a slight rebrand – Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts. The general purpose of this series is the same, but instead, artists perform from their very own homes. If anything, we feel this adds to the stripped-back vibes, so there are no complaints here.

One of the much-awaited Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts was Justin Bieber’s. Premiered just days before his album drop of Justice, this concert provided a sneak peek of what to expect on release day. This included the world-premier of Peaches with assistance from We The Band.

We truly believe that this is one of Bieber’s best performances to date. He looks incredibly relaxed in his home set-up, making his job look effortless. But from the voice to the keys, the talent is phenomenal. You won’t want to miss this.

6. Jorja Smith (2018)

There’s no denying that Jorja Smith radiates angelic vibes; her calm nature and soothing voice always creates a perfect performance. Her Tiny Desk Concert was no exception.

Jorja Smith takes us on a heart-wrenching journey with this performance, playing her popular songs “On My Mind”, “Teenage Fantasy”, and “Blue Lights”. Blue Lights, in particular, is enough to give you goosebumps from start to finish. The silence in the room further proves just how awe-struck everyone is by Smith’s soft touch.

7. Billie Eilish (2020)

It didn’t take long for Billie Eilish to take to the stage when the home series began. Joined by her just as talented brother Finneas, Eilish takes us on a journey of smooth vocals and outstanding keyboard skills. Also, on our best COLORS studio performances, it’s no surprise Billie made this list, too!

With so many hit songs to choose from, conjuring a setlist couldn’t have been easy. But, Eilish certainly didn’t disappoint, focusing on the mellow singles “My Future” and “Everything I Wanted”.

Be sure to stick around to the very end of this concert, as a slight change in camera reveals that the sibling-duo have more talents hidden up their sleeves. This Tiny Desk Concert may only be 10 minutes long, but it certainly packs a punch.

We’re Just Getting Started…

Showcasing seven of our favourite Tiny Desk Concerts barely scratches the surface! For more awesome insights, stay tuned.

Alex, a dedicated vinyl collector and pop culture aficionado, writes about vinyl, record players, and home music experiences for Upbeat Geek. Her musical roots run deep, influenced by a rock-loving family and early guitar playing. When not immersed in music and vinyl discoveries, Alex channels her creativity into her jewelry business, embodying her passion for the subjects she writes about vinyl, record players, and home.

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