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What's In Your Tiny Desk?

Gaelynn Lea on Ask Me Another.
Gaelynn Lea on Ask Me Another.

Bob Boilen had never heard anything quite like The Beatles' "A Day In The Life" when it first came out. As Boilen relates in his book "Your Song Changed My Life," he listened to parts of that song every day for years, and it inspired him to seek a life in music. In the late 70s he worked at record stores and began writing music, ultimately forming a New Wave band called Tiny Desk Unit. Boilen eventually brought his love of music to NPR, where he created the show All Songs Considered, and later, NPR Music's popular Tiny Desk Concert series, in which a musical artist plays a short set at Boilen's desk. Boilen told host Ophira Eisenberg on the Ask Me Another stage in Brooklyn, "I still seek music that blows my mind."

The immense interest in the Tiny Desk Concert series gave way to the Tiny Desk Concert Contest. This year, the team received over 6,000 entries from all sorts of musicians hoping to receive their very own Tiny Desk concert and nation-wide tour. When asked how it's possible to select a winner, Boilen noted, "I think something happens emotionally when you see and hear a piece of music that you just connect with...I can tell what's gonna touch me fairly quickly. And I just emotionally welled up when we heard Gaelynn Lea. You're gonna find out in a minute."

After Tiny Desk Concert Contest winner Gaelynn Lea played "Someday We'll Linger in the Sun," she told The Bell House that twelve people at a pizza shop gig picked this song to be her contest submission. Winning was "the weirdest day in my life," Lea told Eisenberg. She entered on a bit of a whim, filming a video on her phone one day in her office. "I had thought about it. But it wasn't something that i put any budget into or anything so I was so surprised."

For their Ask Me Another special game, What's In YourTiny Desk?, Lea prompts Boilen to guess a list of objects you might find in a desk, and not just regular old office supplies. The only catch is she can't use any of the words used in the clue.

Heard on Bob Boilen And Gaelynn Lea: What's In Your Tiny Desk?

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