Getting folks “watching and talking about new music”: That’s the goal of Michigan artists who submitted video entries into this year’s Tiny Desk Concert contest sponsored by NPR. Check out the entries here.
Tiny Desk, giant reach.
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National Public Radio’s uber-popular Tiny Desk Concerts have spotlighted a stunning array of stars over the years – Adele, Wilco, Conor Oberst, Death Cab for Cutie, T-Pain, Hozier – in cozy performances inside the NPR Music office of “All Songs Considered” host Bob Boilen.
So, it’s no surprise that hundreds of bands across the country would flood NPR with video submissions as part of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert contest.
The competition awards the winner an official Tiny Desk Concert in Washington D.C., an appearance on NPR’s “Ask Me Another” and a spot on the NPR-Lagunitas U.S. tour.
Plenty of Michigan artists have taken up the challenge in hopes of finding Tiny Desk glory, submitting videos by the Feb. 2 deadline. (The winner will be chosen the first week of March.)
Brent Shirey, of Grand Rapids rock/pop band Valentiger, which also submitted a video in last year’s contest, says it’s just fun to be “involved in the conversation” when it comes to Tiny Desk Concerts.
“We often-times shine in acoustic, stripped-down settings; we’re not shy about them. So, for us, it’s kind of a no-brainer to get something submitted and at least capture a nice performance,” he says.
“I’m not sure anyone’s goal is to win it right out of the gate. … Realistically, NPR features a few videos throughout the submission process whether they’re finalists or not. So, I think that’s a pretty good goal: to be mentioned, really. And after that, I’d say being one of the 50 finalists would be just a fantastic land.”
‘A LOT OF GREAT ENTRIES’ SHARING THEIR MUSICAL CHARMS
Indie-folk’s Max Lockwood & The Michigan Basement sent in an audition video even though chances of winning are “very slim” because the contest has attracted “a lot of great entries.”
“I decided to do one because I enjoy the Tiny Desk Concerts and because it was a good impetus to record a high-quality video with some friends,” Lockwood says, “and have fun while sharing our music in a unique and new way.”
Michiganders Rachael Davis and Dominic John Davis, who now live in Nashville, also submitted an entry, after considering it the past few years.
“I’m not sure about the odds or if that even matters,” Dominic John Davis told Local Spins. “I think the whole point of this is to get folks watching and talking about new music they hadn’t yet discovered. I think that is basically Bob Boilen’s job description. With that being the case: mission accomplished.”
Indeed, contest entries are being judged by an impressive panel: Boilen, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Son Little, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius, and “All Songs Considered” producer Robin Hilton.
As a result, the contest has attracted a lot of interest and entries from Michigan acts. Even the Traverse City’s The Accidentals submitted a video, though technically speaking they don’t meet the 21-and-older age requirement.
Here are videos submitted by West Michigan bands; vote or tout your own faves via the “Leave A Reply” comments below. And for any Michigan acts who submitted videos in the contest but aren’t listed here, email email@example.com and we’ll add your video to the roster here.
Win or lose, it all makes for a terrific, home-made, grass-roots way to sample some tremendous music from Michigan (or Michigan-bred) artists.
MAX LOCKWOOD & THE MICHIGAN BASEMENT, “Burning It Down”
THE CRANE WIVES, “Easier”
VALENTIGER, “Ugly Side of Town Neither Here Nor There)”
BROTHA JAMES, “Animal”
RACHAEL AND DOMINIC DAVIS, “Never Tell Your Sweetheart Yes”
THE ACCIDENTALS, “Parking Lot”
DAVE MENZO, “I Don’t Like Your Face No Mo”
BRIAN KOENIGSKNECHT & THE ROSETTES, “The Birds to Serenade”
JULIA & THE GREENSIDES, “Sweet Victory”
THE BOOTSTRAP BOYS, “Poverty Line”
LESS IS MORE, “Hide and Seek”
THUNDERBOLT & LIGHTFOOT, “Dark Days”
VOX VIDORRA, “Wicked Ways”
JES KRAMER, “Between the Covers”
JESSICA IN THE RAINBOW, “Mostly (Clouds & Light)”
THE NORTHERN FIRES, “The Space That We Made”
APPLESEED COLLECTIVE, “Darling”
KAITLIN ROSE, “I Get Wound Up”
LINOSPHERE (WITH CHRIS LAWRENCE), “Feels”
BENJAMMIN, “Snide Liar”
MIKE KASSEL, “Happy With Your Lot”
JACKIE CHILES, “Feeling Forsaken”
STACY NOONAN, “Play Me”
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