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Ledisi: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.

Nov. 21, 2017 | Suraya Mohamed –Singer and songwriter Ledisi is a veteran R&B queen, which she immediately affirmed at the Tiny Desk with her powerful opening tune “Let Love Rule.” It’s the title song of her latest album, and a dazzling display of vocal range and technique. And yet, it hardly showcases the full scope of her artistic expertise.

Classically trained, Ledisi is also celebrated as a jazz artist, which she clearly demonstrated when she broke out into a effortless scat outro on her second song, “I Blame You.” With nine Grammy nominations and an impressive discography, it’s easy to be awed by her musical accomplishments. But in person, what’s just as impressive as her exquisite artistry is her radiant spirit of contentment and grace.

You can see it when Terrell, her makeup artist, goes behind the desk between songs to powder her face. (It was an exceptionally hot day.) Ledisi responded to the interruptions not like a diva, but with humor, humility and gratitude. The lyrics to the third song, “Add To Me,” speak to having self-confidence and ensuring self-care in any relationship: “I’ve been in a spiritual space / So when it’s getting hard, don’t break / Show me you’re a winner, I don’t need a quitter / How you gon’ add to me?”

Ledisi finishes the set with a tribute to Prince and even more positive messaging. “High” is about being high on life — a reminder that no matter what chaos and circumstances exist, we should all find one good thing to love every day.

Set List “Let Love Rule” “I Blame You” “Add To Me” “High”

Musicians Ledisi (vocals); Sara Williams (vocals); Kerry Marshall (guitar); James Agnew (percussion)

Credits Producers: Suraya Mohamed, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Beck Harlan, Alyse Young; Production Assistant: Salvatore Maicki; Photo: Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR

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Noname: Tiny Desk Concert

Bobby Carter | April 3, 2017 – Here’s a fun fact about Noname’s Tiny Desk Concert: It almost didn’t happen. Around the time of their D.C. stop, she (born Fatimah Warner) and her bandmates got their first dose of tour sickness. Thanks to rest, medicine and our mutual excitement, she made her way into the NPR offices the following day. If there ever was a ‘Noname’ way of doing things, this is definitely her signature method. It’s in the way she’s able to muster a smile while performing a heartbreaking tale of abortion. It’s those sometimes bleak, melancholy lyrics over brilliant, colorful production. These intriguing juxtapositions are what propelled Telefone to our top 50 albums of 2016. She prefaced her performance of “Reality Check” by saying: “I kind of talk in like, scramble-think, so hopefully you guys follow it.” “Scramble-think” refers to the clever metaphors she weaves in detailing the many ways she’s dodged destiny. On “Bye Bye Baby,” she raps: Somebody let the yellow in Bye bye blue I’m gonna fall in love again These lyrics, their colors, represent the sector she commands in hip-hop today. The yellow: The bright side. (Of course, there’s plenty of gloom and doom to rap about — especially coming from Chicago — but there’s also plenty of light.) There’s an appropriate moment of silence in the office, before the applause, following her emotional medley. She asked us if we liked it. We loved it — and you likely will too.