NPR's Tiny Desk Contest is a deceptively simple yet powerful idea that's yielded some highly original live performances. In case you're not familiar, here's the drill: Every year, NPR invites artists from around the country to send a video of themselves performing an original song behind a desk of their choosing. The winner gets to travel to NPR HQ in Washington D.C. to play their own Tiny Desk Concert, joining a long line of venerable performers such as Yo-Yo Ma and Gucci Mane. Then, they take off on a national tour.
The Bay Area has a long history at the Tiny Desk. Grammy-winning Oakland blues artist Fantastic Negrito got his break when he won the first Tiny Desk Contest in 2015. Last year, Bernie and the Believers didn't win, but they made such a strong impression with their heartfelt entry that NPR invited them to the Tiny Desk anyway (bandleader Bernie Dalton, who has ALS, writes music that he can't sing himself). Not to mention, Bay Area artists La Misa Negra, Eki Shola and Sol Development opened for last year's winner, Naia Izumi, off the strength of their contest submissions.
If you're 18 or older and live in the U.S., you can enter the 2019 Tiny Desk contest by uploading your audition video to YouTube and then sending it to NPR through this form. Submissions are open though April 14 at 11:59 p.m. EST. For more info, read the official rules and FAQs.