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The MIC's Favorite 2023 NPR Tiny Desk Submissions!

One of our favorite times of the year is Tiny Desk Contest Submission Season! The time when we get to see incredibly talented independent and emerging artists showing off their skills for a coveted spot on NPR's Tiny Desk YouTube Series. Fun Fact: our very own "On The MIC" YouTube Series was inspired by their 'At Home' edition of this very show! We loved the idea of having artists come on our show for exclusive performances, where they can be creative, make their own 'at home' set up, and show off one of their originals! But for this 2023 Tiny Desk Season, we decided to put together a short list of some of our favorite submissions we've seen so far this year!

Screenager "Online"

Screenager's "Online" has an eerie old-timey setting from outfits to lighting. There is a very definite Lizzy McAlpine feeling to this track and performance, making it very on-trend. Recorded in Boonton, NJ!

Follow screenager: Instagram | Spotify


Honeybutter "Sweet Tooth"

Minnesota's Honeybutter has melodies so sweet you might get a cavity. They have the groove and the vibes paired with catchy lyrics.

Follow Honeybutter: Spotify | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook


Secret Menu "One Day"

The intro starts like MTV Cribs, and leads you into the band's shed/performance space. There is a mix between rap verses and sung choruses that are varied, and blend quite well.

Follow Secret Menu: Instagram


Sun Son "People"

From Arkansas, Sun Son's performance is an unfiltered unexpected folk favorite. This track is raw and straightforward. One instrument, one singer, but a lot of character.

Follow Sun Son: Spotify | Bandcamp |


The Ton3s "Serious"

The Ton3s (The HamilTones) are a smooth R&B trio from North Carolina. For this performance, they pull together seven pieces and flex their charisma as they put on a show for their YouTube audience.

Follow The Ton3s: Instagram | Facebook |


The Past Lives "Ego Ave"

Based out of Austin Texas, The Past Lives can rock out, and belt out a song that already sounds like a hit. Big Daisy Jones and the Six vibes.

Follow The Past Lives: Spotify | Instagram | Website


Case Watson "The Fuzz"

NYC-based singer-songwriter Case Watson's "The Fuzz" is a tender folk track that will make you want to stop and stay awhile.

Follow Case Watson: Spotify | Instagram | | Website


Anilee List "Pretty Walls"

Anilee List takes you into a room that feels like her diary. Her vocals are captivating and careening, similar to Yebba's, while she tells a relatable story about hiding behind your own walls.

Follow Anilee List: Website | Instagram | Spotify |


Naomi Nye "Magnolia"

Naomi Nye's "Magnolia" performance is nonchalant. You can easily picture yourself walking through a meadow with this track.

Follow Naomi Nye: Website | Instagram | Facebook


Kingfisher "Your New Place"

From Ann Arbor, Michigan, comes Kingfisher. Their Tiny Desk performance of their track "Your New Place" is indie rock all over. The addition of the violin and horns really make this track stand out, accompanied by the very cool projections.

Follow Kingfisher: Instagram | | Spotify


Nicolle Horbath "Florecer"

Nicolle Horbath performs an acoustic version of her single, "Florecer." This performance is soft but very rhythmic, making you feel a part of the music. This track will transport you.

Follow Nicolle Horbath: | Spotify | Instagram | Facebook


Songbird "Stubborn"

Songbird's performance of her latest release "Stubborn" is a great power ballad, made even better with her sparkly cowboy hat.

Follow Songbird: Instagram | | Spotify


Natasha Blaine "Old Habits"

This track and performance is a fresh take on a classic saying. You'll be hooked from the bass line to the sparkling flute. Blaine sounds like a jazzy Christina Aguilera.

Follow Natasha Blaine: Instagram | Spotify | Facebook | Website


Ryan Gilfillian "Crime"

"Crime" is a humorous r&b track about heartbreak. It has glossy vocals, tight playing, and lyrics that make anybody remember a time they felt the same pain.

Follow Ryan Gilfillian: Instagram | Twitter | Website


Wolves of Glendale "The Gym"

This is obviously the funniest performance. Yet, musically, it is also good. If you've ever gone to the gym, or even thought about going, this is a must listen.

Follow The Wolves of Glendale: Instagram |


Honorable Mentions

Most Fun Award: Buggy Jive "Don't Quit Your Day Job"

Not only does this performance perfectly explain what it's like to be an independent artist, he also tells the story in a really unique way. The video editing, making Buggy Jive look like he's in a room with many Buggy's is very cool. Especially as he plays every instrument.

Follow Buggy Jive: Instagram | Facebook | Website | Twitter

Boston Typewriter Orchestra "Left Blank"

This track, and group is so perfectly suited for a Tiny "Desk" performance. It's like The Office meets Stomp, an entertaining performance that you didn't know you needed to see.

Follow Boston Typewriter Orchestra: Instagram | | Facebook| Twitter | Spotify

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