Announcing the 2022 Tiny Desk Contest Unsigned artists: Starting next week, you can submit your songs to the 2022 Contest. If you win, you'll get to play behind Bob Boilen's desk.

Want to play your own Tiny Desk concert? Enter the 2022 Tiny Desk Contest

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This next announcement is for musicians and music fans. The Tiny Desk Contest is back.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "TANK AND THE BANGAS - NPR TINY DESK CONTEST 2017")

TANK: (Singing) You.

JELLY: (Singing) You.

TANK: (Singing) You.

JELLY: (Singing) You - aye (ph).

TANK: (Singing) You.

JELLY: (Singing) You.

TANK: (Singing) You.

JELLY: (Singing) You.

TANK: (Singing) You.

JELLY: (Singing) You.

TANK: (Singing) You.

JELLY: (Singing) You.

SHAPIRO: For the eighth year, NPR Music is looking for the next great unsigned act, like previous winner Tank and the Bangas. All you need is a video of an original song.

And NPR Music's Tiny Desk producer Bobby Carter is here to explain. Hey, Bobby.

BOBBY CARTER, BYLINE: Hey, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What does the winner of this contest get other than, obviously, a Tiny Desk concert?

CARTER: Well, let's just stop there. That's huge, right? I mean...

SHAPIRO: That is huge.

CARTER: (Laughter) You know, Tiny Desk - I would like...

SHAPIRO: Joining the ranks of Lizzo and Taylor Swift.

CARTER: Right? I mean, obviously, that's huge within itself. But Tiny Desk - we've been able to sustain. And I'd like to say that Tiny Desk is bigger than ever, but that doesn't sound right. But it's - we're hot right now.

SHAPIRO: Still tiny (laughter).

CARTER: Yeah. It's still tiny. But, you know, people...

SHAPIRO: Hot and tiny.

CARTER: You know, our millions of subscribers on YouTube, millions of followers - exposure is what you get.

SHAPIRO: It's wild what some of the past winners have gone on to do. I mean, give us a couple highlights.

CARTER: You know, Fantastic Negrito won his third Grammy last year.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "FANTASTIC NEGRITO: NPR MUSIC TINY DESK CONCERT")

FANTASTIC NEGRITO: (Singing) Night has turned to day. Oh, the night has turned to day. Night has turned to day. Oh, mama, the night has turned to day.

CARTER: Tank and the Bangas just announced - I think today or a couple of days ago just announced their third project, the third album. They've gone on to play Coachella. And then let's just talk about last year's winner, Neffy, who is the only artist to play behind the real Tiny Desk in almost two years.

SHAPIRO: There are thousands of entries every year. And it's not only the winner that gets a boost from this. What have you seen from other musicians who maybe didn't win but have gone on to do great things?

CARTER: You know, if your goal is to play the Tiny Desk and you don't win the Tiny Desk, there's still an opportunity. We've had close to 10 or maybe even more artists actually play the Tiny Desk who didn't win - bands like Hobo Johnson.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "HOBO JOHNSON & THE LOVEMAKERS - PEACH SCONE [NPR TINY DESK CONTEST 2018]")

HOBO JOHNSON AND THE LOVEMAKERS: (Singing) And I love the thought of being with you, or maybe it's the thought of not being so alone.

CARTER: Haley Heynderickx played and more. So the opportunity is still there, and all hope is not lost.

SHAPIRO: So what exactly does a musician need to enter the contest this year?

CARTER: Well, for me, if you're asking me, you need to bring something very special musically. Give us your very best film or video of you playing an original song. Make sure there's a desk in the shot. You have to be 18 years or older. Yeah, and Puerto Rico - PR, all my people in Puerto Rico, you can enter this year. So that's a huge opportunity.

SHAPIRO: Oh, is that a first this year?

CARTER: That's a very, very first for us.

SHAPIRO: Nice.

CARTER: Puerto Rico can enter. So we're looking for the best of Puerto Rico, so I'll be watching.

SHAPIRO: Imagine somebody came up to you and was like, hey. You're one of the judges. Give me the secret to winning. What's the secret?

CARTER: Oh, boy. Something that you - that I never heard before. When you think about last year's winner, Neffy...

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "NEFFY, 2021 TINY DESK CONTEST WINNER: TINY DESK CONCERT")

NEFFY: (Singing) And no one could make me fight like you did. And no one can make me care like you did.

CARTER: The moment she opened her mouth, I was opened up to something brand-new, just a new tone, a new perspective on something.

If you're able to tell a story that we've never heard before, just something that you know you never seen before - look at other entries. Look at all of the winners. You know what I mean? And do your research and say, I can top that. I can give them something that they never seen before.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR Music's Bobby Carter, one of the judges of this year's Tiny Desk Contest. Get those entries in. And, Bobby, enjoy watching all those videos.

CARTER: Thank you, Ari. It's good to talk to you, man.

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