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2021 Tiny Desk Contest

Submissions to the NPR Tiny Desk Contest run May 11 through June 7, 2021.

Announcing the 2021 NPR TINY DESK CONCERT CONTEST

Submissions accepted May 11-June 7, 10:59pm CT at NPR.org/tinydeskcontest 

SDPB and NPR are asking South Dakota's unsigned bands and musicians to submit their Tiny Desk Contest entries at NPR.org/tinydeskcontest,

Since 2014, emerging musicians, including those from South Dakota, have submitted videos to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in the hopes of being chosen to perform as part of NPR Music's signature music discovery series and tour the United States.

To enter NPR Music's 2021 Tiny Desk Contest, unsigned musicians record one original song at a desk (any desk — it's broadly defined!) upload a video of the performance to YouTube and submit with a completed entry form at NPR.org/tinydeskcontest. NPR Music welcomes music from all genres and entrants from previous years with new material. Artists must be at least 18 years old and live in the 50 United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands or the District of Columbia to enter.

If you win, you'll play an NPR Tiny Desk. And while there will be one winner, NPR and SDPB will share standout entries on SDPB's and NPR Music’s Instagram and Twitter. NPR will feature standouts on the All Songs Considered blog and in mashup videos. And then, when the Contest has closed and our judges have picked their favorites, we’ll start Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf: a weekly series where each judge will share their favorite entries, and even interview artists like you, on the NPR Music YouTube channel.

Locally, South Dakota musicians who enter may be featured on SDPB Radio's live music segment "Moment in Sound” on In the Moment with Lori Walsh, as well as on SDPB.org and SDPB social media, and in SDPB Magazine.

South Dakota Artists Among Select Musicians Featured on NPR.org
In 2020, two Tiny Desk Contest submissions from South Dakota artists were featured on NPR.org.

Mato Wayuhi & Treehorse, "Knots"

Sioux Falls-based Mato Wayuhi (a member of the Oglala Lakota nation) and guitarist Jacob Lemme score again af NPR Music selected their 2018"Wildberry Poptart" as a Tiny Desk Contest standout.Slinky, chill, rap-R&B with smooth horns and synth, "Knots" melds musicians recorded in-quarantine from L.A. to Philadelphia, but South Dakota ultimately represents: "Yeah, I'm turnin' Pine Ridge into Fashion Week / Native Americans are the world's greatest masterpiece." 

Eliza Blue, "Let There Be Light"

 Filmed at dusk atop the rolling prairie hills of her family's small ranch near Bison, S.D., Eliza Blue's "Let There Be Light" and its gently swelling call to better days is a soothing pandemic panacea. Singer/songwriter/banjo player Blue recorded her last album (South Dakota, First of May) with former Neil Young's Crazy Horse bassist and unlikely fellow Bison-dweller Billy Talbot. n this video, she strums her acoustic guitar and sends her clear, bright vocals out in hope across Middle America. 

Eliza Blue, "Let There Be Light"

 2021's panel of judges is phenomenal. Linda Diaz, NPR's talented 2020 Tiny Desk Contest winner, will be part of our lineup — plus fellow extraordinary Tiny Desk alums Tobe Nwigwe and Phoebe Bridgers

A few reminders about the Contest:
- Entries accepted Tuesday, May 11 at 9am CT and close Monday, June 7, at 10:59pm CT.

  • Entries accepted Tuesday, May 11 at 9am CT and close Monday, June 7, at 10:59pm CT..
  • You must be an unsigned musician and at least 18 years old to enter.
  • To enter, record a video of yourself playing one original song at a desk (any desk will do!) and upload it to YouTube.
  • Enter by submitting your entry to npr.org/tinydeskcontest.
  • The winner will play their very own Tiny Desk Concert.