meet the winner
Gaelynn Lea has been playing violin for more than 20 years. She builds on a repertoire of traditional Celtic and American fiddle music, writing original songs that incorporate folk-rock influences, looping tracks and an inventive improvisatory style. Gaelynn performs throughout northern Minnesota and Wisconsin and has collaborated with fellow Midwestern musicians Alan Sparhawk and Charlie Parr. She’s also a dedicated fiddle teacher and an advocate for artists and other people with disabilities. Watch her winning video.
We were excited to welcome Gaelynn to the Tiny Desk at NPR in Washington, D.C., where she played her own Tiny Desk concert. She also wins the opportunity to appear at a taping of NPR's Ask Me Another and to tour the United States with NPR and Lagunitas.
Celebrate with us
Join us for events across the U.S. to celebrate the 2016 Tiny Desk Contest! Watch this space throughout the spring for event updates and ticketing information.
Philadelphia, Pa. • Tuesday, April 19
Brooklyn, N.Y. • Tuesday, April 26
Chicago, Ill. • Tuesday, May 3
New York, N.Y. • Wednesday, May 4
Seattle, Wash. • Sunday, May 8
Portland, Ore. • Monday, May 9
Petaluma, Calif. • Tuesday, May 10
★ Los Angeles, Calif. • Thursday, May 12 ★ just announced!
Nashville, Tenn. • Tuesday, May 24
Austin, Texas • Thursday, June 2
Tiny Desk Contest On The Road with KUTX
hear more about gaelynn lea
NPR Music's Bob Boilen announced the winner on Morning Edition.
All Things Considered's Audie Cornish spoke with Gaelynn later that day.
what the judges said
"The melody of this song wouldn't let go — it just stuck with me. It conveys an overwhelming emotion of yearning and love that’s unforgettable."
"I was profoundly moved by her song, particularly its serpentine, earworm melody and the tremendous heartache in her poetry."
"In an age of hopelessness and smirking irony in art, it is truly wonderful to see an artist like Gaelynn look us straight in the eye and express her love without a wink."
"The way her voice resonates is so unusual and beautiful, like nothing I've ever heard before. It was a voice and an arrangement that captured me immediately. I can't wait to see what she does with the Tiny Desk!"
"Hers was the one melody that stayed with me throughout the process. It's captivating and powerful."
"This song starts off with the sound of 20 old floorboards groaning and creaking in unison, and then Karen Dalton and Joanna Newsom melt together in the form of Gaelynn Lea and set about absolutely obliterating your heart."
watch the entries
Musicians across the country have made amazing things for the 2016 Tiny Desk Contest.
Watch their videos! You might discover your new favorite artist.