NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest Is A Gateway For Unsigned Artists

Fantastic Negrito performing a Tiny Desk concertEXPAND
Fantastic Negrito performing a Tiny Desk concert
Morgan McCloy/NPR

NPR Music is helping unsigned artists usher in the New Year with the Tiny Desk Contest, which gives musicians a chance to perform for the Tiny Desk Concert Series. The series is a staple for music discovery and has been attracting musicians from Rodrigo y Gabriela to Adele since 2008, capturing intimate performances at every stage in an artist’s career. Orange County musicians looking for a break should take note, considering the Tiny Desk Contest not only grants a performance in the iconic concert space, but also secures four stops on NPR Music’s U.S. tour.

The contest, now in its second year, invites unsigned artists of all genres to perform an original song behind a desk–whether in a cubicle, in the snow, in an elevator, on the beach, or in a library–and submit the Youtube clip January 12 - February 2 to Participants are encouraged to get creative with their submissions, which will be viewed by The Tiny Desk Contest’s panel of judges. The judges include Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach, the harmonizing ladies of indie outfit Lucius, and soul singer Son Little, along with NPR’s All Songs Considered co-hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton. Contest videos that strike the music team's fancy will be posted on their Tumblr page, at

Last year’s contest attracted more than 6,000 submissions from musicians across the country. Winner Fantastic Negrito ultimately scored the 2015 Tiny Desk performance, which led to gigs at SXSW and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and arguably helped the singer chart at the top of iTunes Blues chart. The 2016 Tiny Desk Contest winner will be announced in March, and will perform from Washington D.C. to Portland, Oregon - and subsequently access a gateway into the music industry. For complete rules visit (must be 21 to enter) and for more information check out

Upcoming Events

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >