We had wanted to get MILCK (aka Connie Lim) to the Tiny Desk ever since she captured the hearts of so many by performing her song "Quiet" during the Women's March On Washington last year. Before the concert, we talked a lot with her and her production team about how to best share her deeply affecting, anthemic pop songs. Should we have a choir? Maybe a string quartet? Or should she bring out all her gear and perform as a one-woman band, live looping everything with backing tracks, to recreate the album experience? In the end she chose the simplest (and perhaps most fitting arrangement for an artist often billed as a one-woman riot): just MILCK, by herself, with a keyboard.
Few artists can wreck me so quickly and completely as MILCK does with her songs about lonely outcasts, troubled souls and survivors who soldier on in a world that doesn't believe in them. In fact, she opened this Tiny Desk with her stirring ballad "Black Sheep," a song she and I bonded over during an emotional interview earlier this year, when we discovered we were both the square pegs of our respective families. It's also a song I can barely even think about without tearing up.
Perhaps it's because the ultimate message in "Black Sheep," like pretty much all of MILCK's music, is that you are not alone. It's a celebration of universal, unconditional love, something the whole world could stand to hear and get behind. These songs also resonate so profoundly because they come from a genuine and heartfelt place – from MILCK's own experiences and not a corporate office churning out scientifically proven pop formulas (though to be sure, she has a voice as thunderous and a range as wide as some of our biggest pop music stars).
MILCK followed "Black Sheep" with a sobering version of "Quiet" before closing with a brand-new song, "Oh My My." Calling it "infuriatingly joyful," it documents the journey she's taken, and where she's landed, with one simple, beautiful refrain: "What a life, what a life, what a life, what a life."
- "Black Sheep"
- "Oh My My"
Connie Lim (vocals, piano)
Producers: Robin Hilton, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kara Frame; Production Assistant: Stefanie Fernández; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.