NPR Music's Tiny Desk series will celebrate Black History Month with Tiny Desk (home) concerts featuring legends in the world of R&B, jazz, gospel, and hip-hop. Each artist in this legacy lineup has helped to define Black music as we know it and will be performing a Tiny Desk concert for the first time.
The first song in Patti LaBelle's Tiny Desk (home) concert sets the tone and quickly sums up the entire 15-minute performance. "Something Special (Is Gonna Happen Tonight)" from her 1986 album Winner In You is a highlight from one of many chapters in her fabulous career. A backstage corner of a concert hall in Austin, Texas, is transformed into Patti's world, furnished with a throne, flowers and trunks full of shoes. Options are a must, given a knack for kicking off her shoes during shows. The entire band managed to fit onto the set: thirteen people, including fierce background vocals, keys, horns and more, to recreate some of the best from the Godmother of Soul.
LaBelle and company go straight into hits mode after the first number. "Love, Need and Want You" is delivered with the same vibrancy as the 1983 original, with a wink to another hit, "Dilemma," by Nelly, who sampled it 19 years later. The ballads continue with "If Only You Knew." She closes with the anthem "Lady Marmalade," which was also revived in the early 2000s by Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink and Lil' Kim.
Ms. Patti had already made Black History with Cindy Birdsong, Sara Dash and Nona Hendryx as the powerhouse group Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles (later Labelle). After the group disbanded, she forged through on her own as a pioneer in music, style and entrepreneurship. Sixty years and counting. Whether big stage or Tiny Desk, the standard-bearing icon continues to exude elegance and grace as a performer.
- "Something Special (Is Gonna Happen Tonight)"
- "Love, Need and Want You"
- "If Only You Knew"
- "Lady Marmalade"
- Patti LaBelle: vocals
- Stan Lewis: keys/music director
- Danny Nixon: keys
- Daryl Robertson: keys
- Eric Seats: drums
- Alex Evans: bass
- Eric Dubose: guitar
- Jeff Bradshaw: trombone
- Melvin Jones: trumpet
- Michael Burton: saxophone
- Debra Henry Ramsey: vocals
- Brenda Roy: Background vocals
- Anthony Williams Jr: vocals
- Aja Marie Grant: vocals
- Video Director: Whitney Thomas
- Audio Engineer: Dwayne Jones
- Recording Engineer: Brandon Snell
- Management: Zuri Edwards
- Production Manager: Joe Falcon
- Road Manager: Pamela Hobson
- Guitar Tech: Alfonso Perez
- Backline Tech: Gabriel Santana Falcon, GearHeadz Inc.
- Technical Director: Blake Addyson
TINY DESK TEAM
- Producer: Bobby Carter
- Video Producer: Joshua Bryant
- Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
- Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer, Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis
- Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
- Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann