We have less than two weeks left in this year's Tiny Desk Contest entry period, and we're seeing more and more entries (and desks) we love each day. So just as we've done for the last two weeks, we've rounded up a few of our favorites from the Contest so far.
We hope these songs inspire you to send us a song of your own if you haven't already — you've got until Sunday, April 14!
Quinn Christopherson, "Erase Me"
Quinn Christopherson's video for "Erase Me" is a work of art. In the halls of the Anchorage Museum, Christopherson puts his vulnerability on display, standing in front of a magnificent painting of Mt. Denali. The song's peaks and valleys pull the listener in close, even through the intensity of its second half.
You can hear and see how much of himself Quinn gives to his performance; the full extension of his "voice" and "power" – two concepts he sings about in "Erase Me" — reverberate throughout the room. His lyrics are honest and sobering, and the song's mounting repetition builds a monument to his story piece by piece. If you like this entry, you'll love his entry from 2018, another visually stunning piece that paid tribute to his grandmother. –Pilar Fitzgerald
Ravary, "First To The Party (de temps en temps)"
Live loop pedals can sometimes create awkward pauses and fumbles, but solo performer Ravary makes it look effortless. Starting on the guitar, the London-born musician seamlessly builds layers by weaving guitar riff loops with drums, synthesizer and vocals. "First to Party" brings '90s pop-rock anthem vibes, and Ravary's vocals have a depth that complement the rich, textured song. Throughout the video for "First to Party," Ravary repeatedly belts "Ça arrive de temps en temps" (that happens from time to time). The French phrase is accompanied by a message to push through anxiety to achieve your dreams. Ravary's mesmerizing performance leaves you uplifted and wanting more. –Nicole Schaller
Danny and Alex, "Breakup Haircut"
When relationships fade and heartbreak ensues, one question tends to frequent my mind: "Do you think I'd look good with bangs?" Danny and Alex takes on that very sentiment in a playful way in "Breakup Haircut," featuring Natalie Depergola and Sebastian Siaca. The song has an irresistible pop beat, a luscious synth chord progression and funky walk of the bass. While many break-up songs are based on bitter feelings and unrequited love, Danny and Alex assures us that this is an optimistic tune, "all about transformation rejuvenation." –Clara Maurer
STRQ x Camilla, "Moon"
Swift in its splendor, STRQ X Camilla's "Moon" is a lullaby-made-bop. The California trio's playful ode is coy and cute, and Camila Covington's vocals have a unique tone and timbre that give the song a tremendous charm. Shawn Thwaites and Alex Raymond back her up on keyboard and steelpan drum, and it's a smart instrumental choice to match the flirtatious title character. Within the first few bars, you can already visualize the night sky and smell the rain referenced in the lyrics. And the moments in which Covington, Thwaites and Raymond riff off each other are nothing short of magical. –Pilar Fitzgerald
Mwenso & The Shakes, "No Regrets"
From "No Regrets"'s explosive beginning to its mysterious verses; from the saxophone solo to the haunting outro: This song takes many twists and turns. Michael Mwenso leads Mwenso & The Shakes, which also includes Vuyo Sotashe, Mathis Picard, Savannah Harris and Ruben Fox — plus Michela Marino Lerman, who is featured tap dancing.
Especially in jazz, one indication of a performance done well is balance: Each individual musician's skill is important, but so is every member's ability to listen to the others. In "No Regrets," Mwenso & The Shakes accomplishes that task with ease, as if it's second nature. —Clara Maurer
Zac McMillan, "Once More"
Zac McMillan's entry video for "Once More" exudes a joy that's bursting at the seams. With just his own dynamic vocal range and a Boss RC-505 loop station, McMillan is able to sound like a professionally trained a capella group, seamlessly looping his own vocals throughout the performance.
Every moment McMillan is behind that microphone, he sets himself loose. As he dances, he unapologetically sings, "Once more / I have found the life I'm never leaving." You can see it on his face: He means it. With impressive control over his vocals, McMillan gives a one-man show that's a display of the freedom that comes with a life lived well, or at least the hope of one. —Fengxue Zhang
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