Tiny Desk

Adele

Download Audio

Adele: Tiny Desk Concert

There's no one way to define a great voice: Genius might lie in the phrasing, the range, the power, the control, the words themselves, or some sort of indescribable something else. But one way to diagnose genius for sure is to have a singer walk into a crowded room with little to no accompaniment, open his or her mouth, and command breathless attention in a matter of seconds.

A best-selling U.K. pop singer, Adele rocketed to fame a few years ago, alongside a handful of other soulful throwbacks. But unlike many other past recipients of the Best New Artist Grammy (Adele won the award in 2009), it's hard to imagine her fading from the public consciousness in the years to come; her voice is too pure, too charismatic. Witness this three-song Tiny Desk Concert at the NPR Music offices, wherein she belts out three songs — the heartbreaking ballad "Someone Like You," the ubiquitous hit "Chasing Pavements" and the first single from 21, "Rolling in the Deep" — with only the low-key accompaniment of keyboardist Miles Robertson and guitarist Ben Thomas.

Moments before performing, Adele breezed up to our makeshift stage with little fanfare, and proceeded to blaze through her set without so much as bothering to take off her gloves. Between songs, she showcased the mile-wide chasm between her mesmerizing singing voice and her far less polished speaking voice, occasionally even unleashing a truly magnificent cackle. At 22, Adele still isn't quite fully formed as an artist — which, after witnessing this set, is really saying something. She may well get even better, and even now, she's a marvel.

Set List
  • "Someone Like You"
  • "Chasing Pavements"
  • "Rolling In The Deep"
Credits

Michael Katzif (camera); edited by Bob Boilen; photo by Adele Hampton

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

TK Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Genevieve

See a singer with a powerful voice and extremely encouraging message.

Tiny Desk Concert with Zac Sokolow (left), Frank Fairfield and Tom Marion. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Frank Fairfield

A young man with an old musical soul has a spellbinding voice and fluid fiddle playing.

Tiny Desk Concert with Jason Vieaux and Yolanda Kondonassis. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Tiny Desk

Jason Vieaux And Yolanda Kondonassis

Watch the Grammy-winning guitarist and acclaimed harpist play music influenced by Africa and Asia.

Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Young Fathers

Intense, hip-hop-infused poetry is reduced to just the essentials in this two-song, four-minute set.

Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Camané

A star in his native Portugal, Camané evokes melancholy with a silky baritone and elegant phrasing.

Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Bellows

These are enchanting songs, with the power to drift in your head for days.

Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Eskmo

Found objects are percussion instruments in the hands of a man who's part musician, part magician.

Vijay Iyer Trio performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 20, 2015. Olivia Merrion/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Olivia Merrion/NPR

Tiny Desk

Vijay Iyer Trio

Iyer's working band transforms selections from throughout the pianist's deep and varied catalog.

Back To Top