One of the highlights of the year around the NPR Music office is the now annual Tiny Desk Contest. The winner this year is 34-year-old Naia Izumi, a busker originally from Columbus, Georgia, who now performs on the streets of Los Angeles.
It is simply inspiring to see and hear the amount of talented musicians that are out there making music. Some are hoping for a chance to make a record, others are doing it just for the sheer joy of it.
Another tradition that has come from this call out is the annual Alt.Latino sampling of Latinx musicians who submit videos.
This year, I called in some help to work through all the contestants. Stefanie Fernández, Cyrena Touros and Joshua Bote were NPR Music interns during the contest and watched thousands of submissions. The variety of styles and approaches they witnessed was impressive, especially the way young musicians are expanding, even tearing down the notion of what "Latin Music" is supposed to sound like.
We covered six of these artists on the podcast, but I encourage you to see the rest of our favorites below and visit the Tiny Desk Contest site to view all of this year's entries. You'll lose a couple of hours but your belief in the power of music to heal and to bring joy — not to mention smiles — will be fully restored.
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.