It just got a little bit cooler to be from Oakland, folks.
After a much-publicized contest that saw thousands of bands coast-to-coast submitting entries in NPR's Tiny Desk Concert contest, the judges have spoken, and the winning band is Oakland's own Fantastic Negrito. Watch the winning entry, "Lost in a Crowd," below.
With a video shot in a freight elevator in Oakland behind a desk made of a steel slab and a work bench, this soulful character won our hearts. Xavier Dphrepaulezz is a singer from Oakland with a passion that felt undeniable. Though I watched thousands of videos, the moment I heard his voice and saw such conviction to his song I thought, "Wow, I think this guy could win."
The judging panel, which included comedian Reggie Watts and Bay Area musician Thao Nguyen, weren't initially aware of Dphrepaulezz's backstory, which includes quitting music, followed by "a near-deadly car accident and the resulting coma, intense rehabilitation, marriage and the birth of his son," according to the official announcement. Fantastic Negrito was born from these changes -- a name, according to Dphrepaulezz, that's a "celebration of blackness."
Fantastic Negrito's Tiny Desk Concert is slated to be filmed in late February, with its online premiere around Mar. 9. They were among dozens of Bay Area bands who submitted entries, a handful of which were rounded up by our pals at the Bay Bridged in late January.
Nearly 7,000 bands entered the contest from all over, so congratulations to Fantastic Negrito. Here's to Oakland!