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

Tiny Desk Concert with And The Kids. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

And The Kids

The trio's music is full of life, with dissonant sounds that still feel suited for singalongs.

Tiny Desk Concert with Oddisee Colin Marshall/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Colin Marshall/NPR

Tiny Desk

Oddisee

The charismatic Brooklyn-via-D.C.-area rapper creates just the right amount of space in his music.

Tiny Desk Concert with Hop Along. Maggie Starbard/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Hop Along

Frances Quinlan's raspy voice whispers one moment, then lets loose a gut-punching howl the next.

Tiny Desk Concert with Timothy Showalter, songwriter and producer of Strand of Oaks. Maggie Starbard /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard /NPR

Tiny Desk

Strand Of Oaks

Timothy Showalter's music is filled with bite and sometimes regret, but also a good deal of warmth.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Prettiots. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Prettiots

The clever trio shares its love of everything from Law & Order to old-school girl groups.

Tiny Desk Concert with Anna & Elizabeth. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Anna & Elizabeth

If you've never thought your tastes would lean to mountain music, breathe deep and soak it all in.

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.

Back To Top