For Tiny Desk Playlists, we ask musicians, creators and folks we admire to choose the Tiny Desk concerts they've come to love. For this edition, we asked actors Zazie Beetz and David Rysdahl to pick their favorites.
Zazie Beetz is a German-American actor best known for her role as Vanessa, Donald Glover's sometimes-girlfriend on Atlanta. I also remember seeing her act in an independent film called Sollers Point (2017) and I've been a fan of hers ever since. She can currently be seen in Netflix's The Harder They Fall, a western with an all-Black cast. Her partner, David Rysdahl, is also an actor and has appeared alongside Beetz in Dead Pigs (2018) and Nine Days (2020). He is set to appear in the upcoming film, No Exit (2022). The couple also run a production company together called Sleepy Poppy. Beetz and Rysdahl say it's "a place where humans can feel like they are playing in a sand box of creativity. A place where story tellers can embrace their true, authentic selves while exploring story with joy, passion, wonder, and humility." We wanted to hear what Tiny Desk concerts they've been passionate about lately, and also, which shows were the first they ever watched. —Maia Stern
• Amadou and Mariam — Since we are a couple, we love seeing other couples perform as well. We love watching their energy together, and this concert feels so focused on the music. We listen to them a lot at home, but there is an added element of connection when you see the two of them presenting their work together. A lot of their music is about love and community (and politics!). You feel it here.
• Max Richter — To bring this grand piece into the confines of such a small space feels so sacred and intimate — like you are up close, face to face, with something you were never meant to experience in such detail. It's as if this epic tale was created just for you, and it envelops you fully, as it ricochets off of the office walls and vibrates into your body.
• Lianne La Havas — She is just loving being there! It is simple, but pure. It's so easy to see how much she is enjoying this experience — how playful she feels performing — and it is absolutely infectious! And beyond that, her velvet voice is so intoxicating, entrancing you beautifully in this sweet performance.
• Adele — This concert feels very old-school and simple. We have always appreciated Adele for the bluntness of her work. She is vulnerable, sings her story and doesn't try to decorate or disguise it. Her albums came out around the time that both of us were beginning our own journeys in love and creativity, so her voice always feel like a return to truth, rawness and vulnerability. It is grounded and strong, just like this performance.
• Dua Lipa — This concert came out during the pandemic, and this video was just such an orange sunburst in the middle of the winter quarantine doldrums. We danced to this in our home with family that was in our bubble, and it was such a refreshing dose of joy.
• Erykah Badu — The first Tiny Desk performance I watched was Erykah Badu's. Her voice accompanied so much of my youth — I suppose she was passed down to me from my mother. Erykah will always feel like my warm home and maternal energy. She carries a soulful creativity that I felt comforted by as a child, and I try to embody it in my own work as an adult. I see this so clearly in her Tiny Desk concert! Her spirit emanates! How she looks, how she expresses! Her performance truly inspires me as I look to my future in how I want to create, while also allowing me to indulge in a saccharine dose of nostalgia as well. —Zazie Beetz
• Mac Miller — Mac Miller wasn't the first Tiny Desk concert I saw, but it was the first I played on repeat. Living with an artist's music after their death can be a mystifying and haunting experience, and I felt both watching this show. But I also felt his joy and his sense of play. There's a lightness to him when he's performing — a lightness I chase and sometimes find within my own art. —David Rysdahl
Tiny Desks In This Playlist
• Amadou and Mariam
• Max Richter
• Lianne La Havas
• Dua Lipa
• Erykah Badu
• Mac Miller