Ledisi: Tiny Desk Concert In person, the master R&B vocalist impresses not just with her exquisite artistry, but with her radiant spirit of contentment and grace. Just ask her makeup artist.

Tiny Desk

Ledisi

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: Ron T Young/NPR

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Cimafunk plays a Tiny Desk concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Cimafunk

The band from Havana brings its intoxicating mix of Afro-Cuban dance music and 1970s funk-and-soul to the Tiny Desk.

Indigo Sparke performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Nov. 21, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Indigo Sparke

The Australian singer transforms the NPR Music offices with a voice that, at moments, comes as a whisper.

Jenny Lewis plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Jenny Lewis

A consummate storyteller, going as far back to her days with her band Rilo Kiley, the words of Jenny Lewis comfort and inspire.

Chris Dave & The Drumhedz perform during a Tiny Desk concert, on Dec. 9, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Chris Dave And The Drumhedz

Chris Dave, your favorite musician's favorite drummer, takes listeners on a journey through a virtual record store, picking up different genres along the way and putting them in your bag.

Elisapie performs during tiny desk on November, 26, 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Elisapie

The Canadian singer-songwriter gives a deep, soulful performance against a sometimes moody backdrop of bass saxophone and bowed guitars.

Snoh Aalegra plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Snoh Aalegra

The Iranian-Swedish singer draws her musical cues from Brandy and Sade while racking up a list of collaborators such as Vince Staples, James Fauntleroy and, most recently, Pharrell Williams.

Laura Stevenson performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2019. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Laura Stevenson

Backed by a small string section, Stevenson performed three songs that sounded so gorgeous, an actual marriage proposal broke out shortly after her set ended.

Mount Eerie plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Mount Eerie With Julie Doiron

Phil Elverum shares his open wounds — of death, love and the loss of love — in close harmonies, accompanied only by electric and nylon-string guitars.

Baby Rose plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Kisha Ravi/NPR). Kisha Ravi/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Kisha Ravi/NPR

Baby Rose

At 25, she mixes the bluesy melisma of Nina Simone and the deep register of Sarah Vaughan — two of her influences — with songwriting as devastating as her delivery.

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra performs during tiny desk on December, 4, 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

Here's a first: Steelpans at the Tiny Desk. It's true. Nearly a thousand performances into the series and the instrument has never been featured, until now.

Back To Top