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KSMU Encourages Local Participation in the NPR Tiny Desk Contest


Many of you are probably familiar with NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts. A musician or band performs at All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen’s desk at the NPR headquarters in Washington, DC and the videos are posted to YouTube. The sixth annual Tiny Desk Contest is open now for unsigned musicians ages 18 and up to enter and have the chance to perform at the iconic Tiny Desk.

KSMU is excited about local musicians from the Ozarks entering the Tiny Desk Contest. Boilen says that music from NPR member stations inspires him.  

“One of the amazing things when I go to NPR member stations is their engagement with local artists has often turned me onto music. When I go to KEXP, for example, or I go to a station in Philly, XPN, and all of those people who are musicians, I want to hear their music. And the only way I’m going to hear it, if they enter the Tiny Desk Contest,” said Boilen.

The deadline to enter the Tiny Desk Contest has been extended to April 27. The winner will perform at the Tiny Desk and then embark on the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road tour. To enter, musicians will make a video of themselves playing an original song. Make sure the performance is at a desk – any desk will do! Once the video is uploaded to YouTube, entrants will fill out a form at Boilen offers some advice about entering:

“Have a good time with it, because, that’s sort of the most important. The odds of you winning might not be great, but, you also will do something and mark a time in your art and your place in your songwriting that’s important, and that’s cool. But also, you’re going to get eyeballs and earballs, so to speak, on your music that you never would have if you sat at home and didn’t film this thing. So, there’s nothing to lose and sort of everything to win.”

As part of the national Tiny Desk Contest, KSMU will share a selection of local entry videos on social media, and on May 29, we will host KSMU’s Local Showcase, featuring favorites from NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest at Tie & Timber Beer Co. All entries from our listening area will be considered for the showcase by a committee of KSMU staff and music program hosts, as well as staff from Tie & Timber.

“People’s lives have changed because of entering this contest. And not just the six winners we’ve had over the years, but they’re many videos seen by lots. Every week we put up new videos of things we’re getting in that inspire us in some way, shape or form. So, just do it. It doesn’t hurt,” said Boilen.