We watched more than 6,000 videos. Ten judges weighed in. Now, the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest has a winner.
We are proud to have fallen in love with the sounds of New Orleans' own Tank and the Bangas. What won me over about the band's performance of "Quick" were the interactions among lead singer Tarriona "Tank" Ball and her bandmates, and the way they seemed to surprise one another. It all felt so organic and on-the-spot, just like the best Tiny Desk concerts.
The decision was unanimous across our judging panel, which included Phish guitarist and singer Trey Anastasio. "I immediately loved this," he tells NPR's David Greene and me on Morning Edition. "Tank is a force of nature, just full of joy — and her band is killing in the background." (Hear that interview at the audio link above.)
The other judges were equally impressed. Stas THEE Boss, a hip-hop DJ at NPR Member station KEXP and a former member of THEESatisfaction, says, "Tank and the Bangas gave me life straight out of the gate."
Fellow judge Rita Houston of Member station WFUV says, simply, "There is star power all over this."
In this third year of the Tiny Desk Contest, we got more submissions than ever before. We saw submissions from every state in this country, and the variety of ages and instrumentations on display was thrilling to see. There may be only one "winner," but truth be told, every one of these videos is a testament to the joy of making music. It's a way to share what is often so personal, publicly. It's about a community of friends and sharing your art with a world beyond your bedroom. So from all of us at the Tiny Desk, thank you to everyone who submitted. Thank you for all the chances you took in putting yourself out there.
Our next step is to have Tank and the Bangas come and record a Tiny Desk concert here behind my desk at NPR in Washington, D.C. And after that, we're hitting the road with Lagunitas Brewing Company on a national tour with Tank and the Bangas and local Contest entrants we loved. Stay tuned for dates and more information — we can't wait to meet you in person.
There will be more opportunities for us to feature some of the amazing music you shared with us, and I already know I'll be spending a good deal more time listening to so many of the artists who entered. But for now, I want to thank everyone who entered the Contest for inspiring our team every day. And to Tank and the Bangas: Congratulations. Our adventure together is just beginning.