From the smallest things can come the greatest achievements. Who’d have thought when they started the tiny desk concerts on NPR that they’d last for more than a decade and produce so much amazing music?
Here are our picks for the best tiny desk concerts ever!
This set was recorded only a month before Mac Miller sadly departed this world and it’s the only live set of his album Swimming that survives him.
It’s a deeply personal performance that really shows the thoughtful side of Mac as a musician and songwriter.
Ty Dolla $ign
This is a real testament to Ty Dolla $ign’s ability to create a world class performance out of nothing. This was one of the first “home” Tiny Desk Concert sets and it’s brilliant.
There’s so much energy and joy in this performance, you won’t be able to resist it.
This super jazzy set from the UK artist to showcase his three favorite songs from the album Geography has won him fans from around the world.
The jamming with Braxton cook in this set is out of this world and who doesn’t love lashings of saxophone?
If you’re looking for a TIny Desk Concert with standout audio quality then this set from H.E.R is incredible.
And her backing vocalists really add something fresh and exciting to the mix.
Sting And Shaggy
OK, you might not expect these two artists to have that much in common, heck, not even the generations of their listeners.
But once you hit their “Englisman (and Jamaican) in New York” then you’ll know how good this can be.
Chloe X Halle
A full five tracks from Ungodly Hour and this is a truly magical performance from Chloe X Halle.
We can’t wait to hear more from them in the future.
There has never been and may never be a concert on the Tiny Desk scene like this one and it is the most viewed Tiny Desk Concert of all time.
There’s so much charm and charisma in this performance that it would take a very hard heart, indeed, not to love it.
St. Paul And The Broken Bones
Paul Janeaway infuses this set with so much energy that it’s hard not to feel the hairs on your arms go up at times.
And the slower ending to the set is simply sublime.
The “godfather of autotune” turned on the magic to show the world that it’s not his voice that sucks, he uses autotune as an extra way to distinguish himself.
His unedited performance is slamming and “Drankin’ Patna” totally stands out as the best moment of the set.
As you’d expect from Chika, she’s a commanding presence in her own set and this is one of the most melodious sounds you’ll ever hear.
It’s a really memorable concert for all the right reasons.
Covid-19 put an end to the Tiny Desk Concerts in the studios but it didn’t stop artists from building their own Tiny Desk Concerts at home and this set from Jacob Collier is amazing.
“All I Need” is the classic track but it’s the brand new “He Won’t Hold You” that demands your attention.
This short tour of what makes Tash Sultana is immense, her multi-instrument talents shine through and this “one person band” is absolutely amazing.
Final Thoughts On The Best Tiny Desk Concerts
These are our picks for the best of the tiny desk concerts but truthfully, you can’t really go wrong with these concerts and it’s well worth spending an afternoon or two exploring the NPR YouTube channel to check out more of them.
Need something to listen to these tiny desk concerts through? Why not try out these super bookshelf speakers or some Audioengine speakers? And if you need to be a bit more subtle then these bone conduction headphones might do the trick.