Albin Lee Meldau: Tiny Desk Concert Albin Lee Meldau possesses a thunderous, deeply affecting voice, which he uses to tell some utterly dark, but demonstrably cathartic, tales.

Tiny Desk

Albin Lee Meldau

Few singers can command an audience's attention quite like Albin Lee Meldau. When I first saw him perform, at a church in Austin, Texas during South By Southwest last March, it felt like the entire audience was on the edge of its seat, hanging on every twisted word. His voice is breathtaking, soulful, thunderous and impossible to ignore.

Watching Meldau in this Tiny Desk set, the first thing you'll notice, apart from that voice, is how possessed he is by the music. The words and melodies seem to take hold of him while at the same time offering a release, if only for a moment, from the knot of emotions he's carrying inside. It's in no small part because Meldau's music is so personal, centered on desperate souls in deeply troubled times. "Lou Lou," the track he opens with and his most popular song, is a story of drug addiction and mental illness, inspired by a girl he knew while growing up in Sweden. He calls "Bloodshot," the track he closes with, "dark and horrible," about the wreckage of a tortured relationship and the crazed paranoia of jealousy. His other two songs, "Mayfly" and "Persistence," are more about hanging on when it seems there's nothing left to live for.

Meldau grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden the son of musical parents. His mother is a music teacher and jazz singer, while Meldau says his father is a "punk rocker." (Both write and record their own songs.) As a kid, Meldau originally played trumpet but mostly dreamed of being a professional soccer player. Now, as a full-time musician, he says his dream was to play the Tiny Desk.

"It's a deep honor to be here," Meldau told the NPR audience. "I've been to the BBC and now I've been here, so now I can die." So far, Albin Lee Meldau has released two EPs — Lovers late last year and Bloodshot, out today (July 21) on Astralwerks — with a debut full-length out later this year.

Bloodshot is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)


Set List

  • "Lou Lou"
  • "Mayfly"
  • "Persistence"
  • "Bloodshot"

Musicians

Albin Lee Meldau (vocals, guitar); Kalle Stenbäcken (keys, drums); Simon Andermo (bass, auxiliary percussion); Simon Söfelde (drums)

Credits

Producers: Robin Hilton, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Tsering Bista; PA: Jenna Li; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Brittany Howard plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Brittany Howard

The Alabama Shakes singer and guitarist brought an eight-piece backing band to the Tiny Desk for a set of deeply personal and affecting songs.

Charly Bliss plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

Charly Bliss

The vibrancy of the band can feel childlike and candy-coated. But the group's songs are more about the pain of entering adulthood and leaving some of that sweetness behind.

Sharon Van Etten performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Sept. 23, 2019. (Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Sharon Van Etten

Nearly a decade after her first appearance at the Tiny Desk, Sharon Van Etten returns with a full band and a bigger, bolder sound.

Molly Sarlé plays a Tiny Desk Concert. Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Molly Sarlé

After performing at the Tiny Desk as one third of the group Mountain Man, Molly Sarlé returns for a soul-stirring solo performance.

The Jonas Brothers play a Tiny Desk Concert on August 15, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Jonas Brothers

The brothers and their backing band gave a playful performance of three tracks from their latest album, Happiness Begins.

Josh Ritter (center) performs with Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell at a Tiny Desk Concert on Aug. 27, 2019. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Josh Ritter With Amanda Shires And Jason Isbell

In his second visit to the Tiny Desk, Josh Ritter had America on his mind. "We all have to fight against this notion that we're not all human beings."

Ari Lennox plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Ben de la Cruz/NPR). Ben de la Cruz/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ben de la Cruz/NPR

Ari Lennox

The R&B singer performed songs from her debut full-length, Shea Butter Baby.

Rosanne Cash plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Rosanne Cash

Roseanne Cash has been making great records for forty years, but she's never played or written better music than she's doing right now.

Y La Bamba plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Y La Bamba

Y La Bamba returns for its second Tiny Desk performance with a revised musical vision.

Nilüfer Yanya plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Nilüfer Yanya

There's a hush to the music of Nilüfer Yanya that made the Tiny Desk the perfect stage for her sound.

Back To Top