Angélique Kidjo, who was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2021–stopped by NPR to help celebrate the 1,000th Tiny Desk performance. The intimate video concert series started in 2008 as an opportunity for producer Bob Boilen to feature acoustic versions of his favorite artists and performers. The concerts have achieved global fame with artists from all over the world wanting to play at the workplace whose shelves are filled with years of awards and music collectibles.
Through the years, Tiny Desk has provided a unique stage for artists across the genre spectrum and at every phase of their careers, including performances by Megan Thee Stallion, Taylor Swift, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Freddie Gibbs, Toro y Moi, Weezer, the characters of Sesame Street and more. The NPR Music YouTube page has seven million subscribers and more than 16 million monthly viewers, and continues to attract new audiences and viewers who are passionate about music and artist discovery.
“When I started the Tiny Desk series in April of 2008, I never imagined its impact. It’s a thrill to see how NPR Music and the Tiny Desk have become such a huge platform and that so many artists’ voices have been raised and shared with all kinds of music fans worldwide,” said Boilen.
From 2020 to 2022, in response to ongoing social-distancing measures, NPR Music transitioned to Tiny Desk (home) concerts. The remote sets featured artists from around the world, with the Tiny Desk same spirit–stripped-down sets in an intimate setting–while providing a unique look into the creative spaces of artists including Lenny Kravitz, Roddy Ricch, Dirty Projectors, BEAM, Little Dragon, Soccer Mommy, Lianne La Havas, Baby Rose and more. The 1,000th concert was recorded at NPR’s headquarters and marks three months of NPR successfully returning to in-house Tiny Desks.
The impact of the Tiny Desk has been felt internally as well, with spin-off series like the Tiny Desk Contest, which is NPR’s annual search for the next undiscovered artist, and its national tour.