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What makes a great Tiny Desk Concert, according to NPR Music's Bobby Carter

This year marks the 10th anniversary of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest and submissions are now open.

The annual contest gives unsigned musicians an opportunity to perform their very own Tiny Desk concert at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The concert series is a favorite of NPR and non-NPR listeners alike. Hundreds of performers across all genres have taken up residence behind the desk, from classical musicians to rap artists. Tiny Desk producer and contest judge Bobby Carter told KVPR the set is really just a desk at the NPR office, and that can sometimes throw performers for a loop.

“It’s a unique space,” Carter said. “You know, we have to remind the bands and the artists that, hey, when you come up here, this is just a desk. This is only an office. This is not a sound stage or anything like that. There’s nothing special. What you see is actually what it is.”

The raw performances have developed a cult following online, earning hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.

How to enter this year's contest

Unsigned artists and bands who want the chance to perform their own Tiny Desk concert can submit a video performing behind their own desk at home. Videos must be submitted by February 21, 2024 to be considered. Find information on the full contest rules as well as past winners here.

Need some inspiration? Here are a few of last year's local entrants from the San Joaquin Valley.

Jehdiah - Crush (Bakersfield, CA)

Percy Wyatt - Hummingbird (Bakersfield, CA)

Tony Imperatrice - Autumn Colors (Fresno, CA)

A Valley native, Elizabeth earned her bachelor's degree in English Language Literatures from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her master's degree in journalism from New York University. She has covered a range of beats. Her agriculture reporting for the Turlock Journal earned her a first place award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. While in graduate school she covered the New Hampshire Primary for NBC Owned Television Stations and subsequently worked as a television ratings analyst for the company's business news network, CNBC. Upon returning to California, her role as a higher education public relations professional reconnected her to the Valley's media scene. She is happy to be back to her journalism roots as a local host at KVPR.
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