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The Best 2020 Tiny Desk Contest Entries We Saw This Week: Volume 1

Malena Cadiz submitted the song "Call It A Night" to the Tiny Desk Contest.
YouTube/Screenshot by NPR
Malena Cadiz submitted the song "Call It A Night" to the Tiny Desk Contest.

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. You can enter the Contest until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30. You can watch a playlist of all the entries we've featured on the blog on YouTube. If you think you've got what it takes, check out the Official Rules and fill out the eligibility checklist, then film your video and submit it here!

Malena Cadiz, "Call It A Night"

Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Pairs well with: Slow Sunday mornings, bare feet and light wash blue jeans

Malena Cadiz's entry video for "Call It A Night" presents a contrast: the atmosphere is light and calm as sunlight washes over the room, while Cadiz's raspy-yet-bold, barren voice vibrates through it. The two-time Contest entrant's song is hopeful and reassuring as Cadiz emphasizes that a whole doesn't fall apart just because some tangled threads are pulled loose: "Silver lining I tore right out of my dress / Don't worry about me baby I'll be fine / I let the ends loose, let it all unwind." —Elle Mannion

Sam Rae, "Delaine"

Hometown: Charleston, S.C.
Pairs well with: Sneaking away at a party to ponder your love life

In her entry video for "Delaine," Sam Rae plays a guitar borrowed from songwriter (and Tiny Desk alum) Brandi Carlile, for whom Rae plays cello on tour. The song shows off Rae's distinctive, rich voice — joined by harmonies from violinist Kyleen King — and takes full advantage of the natural reverb of her filming location: the bathroom at the Fillmore in Minneapolis, Minn. —Marissa Lorusso

Granite to Glass, "There's Nothing Quite Like Missing You"

Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Pairs well with: Gazing at city skylines from cold rooftops and beat up Converse

Granite to Glass' entry for "There's Nothing Quite Like Missing you" begins unassumingly with soft acoustic guitar strums and melancholy lyrics. Then the heart-soaring strings come in. These elements weave together to express the bittersweet feeling of knowing a place through a lover's lens, and then not being able to shake their ghost as you walk through the city alone. In this tender breakup song, free of hard feelings, the narrator seems to be somberly realizing that missing someone might be better than never having known them at all. —Elle Mannion

Sarah Potenza, "I Work for Me"

Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
Pairs well with: The first time you wore a blazer, a power-stance in front of a wind machine

"They told me I was too big. That's right, now I'm a giant." That's just one of many power-packed one-liners that leaps out at you in Sara Potenza's entry, "I Work for Me." Backed by four women best described as a girl-boss band, Potenza's soulful affirmation is a celebration of self, taking up space and sparkling while doing it. This is also her first time entering the Contest, which makes her confidence and charisma all the more enjoyable to watch. —Pilar Fitzgerald

6MR j.j., "femmeboy"

Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.
Pairs well with: Igniting a fire in your soul to start the day

6MR j.j. sends gratitude to the female forces in his life throughout this Tiny Desk Contest entry titled "femmeboy." In a special shoutout to his mother, j.j. proclaims: "You did more for me than you can even know / I only shine, shine in your glow," echoed by Brittany Henley on backup vocals. Layered over the groovy sounds of this track, j.j. raps about moments of inspiration that have led him towards the confidence he displays here. —Tolu Igun

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