We watched thousands of Tiny Desk Contest entries from unsigned artists across the country this year. And, after weeks of sharing our Contest judges' favorites in our Top Shelf series ... we have a winner! In the seventh and final episode of Top Shelf, I talk with our 2021 Contest winner Neffy, a rising singer-songwriter from Arlington, Va., with a breathtaking, soulful, inimitable voice.
In the episode, Neffy and I talk about her winning entry, "Wait Up," which is about returning home from New York during the pandemic and finding solace in familiar surroundings. We also talk about how her music-loving family inspired her to start writing songs as a teenager, and how artists like Adele, Joan Armatrading and Tracy Chapman have influenced her music.
In addition to her Contest-winning entry, we also hear Neffy's song "Hangin' On Too Long" (which was filmed by Emergent Seed, an organization that supports emerging musicians in the Washington, D.C. area), plus her 2018 Contest entry, "Mrs. Jones."
Neffy will be performing her very own Tiny Desk (home) concert next month. And, as is Tiny Desk Contest tradition, she'll perform behind my Tiny Desk at NPR's headquarters when it's safe to do so.
Thank you to all our Contest judges who helped select this year's Tiny Desk Contest winner: Bobby Carter of NPR Music; Jewly Hight of WNXP in Nashville; John Morrison of WXPN in Philadelphia; and Tiny Desk alums Linda Diaz, Tobe Nwigwe and Phoebe Bridgers. Thank you also to the NPR staff who worked on this project: Marissa Lorusso, Jessica Goldstein, Bruce Grant, Will Mitchell, Josh Rogosin and Ron Scalzo.
"Wait Up," Neffy's 2021 entry
"Hangin' On Too Long"
"Mrs. Jones," Neffy's 2018 entry