Out of thousands of entries, one rose to the top.

Watch Gaelynn Lea's Tiny Desk performance now!

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

Tiny Desk Contest On The Road with WXPN

Brooklyn, N.Y.Tuesday, April 26

Gaelynn Lea appears on a live taping of NPR's Ask Me Another with WNYC

Chicago, Ill.Tuesday, May 3

Songs We Love Live with WBEZ at Lagunitas' Chicago Brewery

New York, N.Y.Wednesday, May 4

Tiny Desk Contest On The Road with WFUV

Seattle, Wash.Sunday, May 8

Tiny Desk Contest On The Road with KEXP

Portland, Ore.Monday, May 9

Songs We Love Live with Lagunitas and OPB

Petaluma, Calif.Tuesday, May 10

Songs We Love Live with KQED and KRCB at Lagunitas' Petaluma Brewery

Los Angeles, Calif.Thursday, May 12

Tiny Desk Contest On The Road

Nashville, Tenn.Tuesday, May 24

Tiny Desk Contest On The Road with WPLN

Austin, TexasThursday, 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.

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.

see the latest

See you soon

We recently had the last stop of our Tiny Desk Contest On The Road tour. With our friends KUTX in Austin, Texas, we hosted four great local bands that we discovered through our Tiny Desk Contest. As I flew back to Washington, D.C., the home of the Tiny Desk, I thought about you all, and I was thrilled.


Tiny Desk Contest entrants united at our Petaluma tour stop. Image credit: Talia Herman

Since we launched this year’s contest with a silly video back in December, we received over 6,000 video entries from every state in our nation. The contest is about discovery — not just for us, but for everyone who watches Tiny Desk concerts, eager to find unknown artists to fall in love with. This year, our winner was Gaelynn Lea, a powerful fiddle player from Duluth, Minn., who sent in a simple video of her heart-wrenching song, “Someday We’ll Linger In The Sun.” The Contest’s judges — Holly Laessig & Jess Wolfe from Lucius, Son Little, Dan Auerbach, Robin Hilton and I — were immediately captivated. Her performance at the Tiny Desk in March was equally stunning and beautiful. Gaelynn joined us on some of the tour, and I have to say she’s one of the loveliest people I’ve met.

The Contest isn’t just about finding that one special musician, though. Every single day we discovered an act we loved. We saw you perform on our 10-date tour across the country. We wrote about you on our Tumblr and in this newsletter; we hosted your videos on our site; we featured you in all sorts of Tiny Desk Contest mash-ups. You’ve given us more new music to listen to, and more great undiscovered bands to cheer for. And in return, I hope you gained confidence to pursue your craft.

When I think about the Tiny Desk Contest, the most important thing I think of is our community. I’ve been in music for a long time, and I know it’s not easy to devote yourself to your art. No matter how you arrange your life, it takes true dedication and perseverance to make music. Often you feel alone. Sometimes you feel like nobody’s listening. But when we all come together like this and amplify each other’s voices, there’s no ignoring the wonderful music hiding out in this country, just beneath the surface. It’s a joyful noise. Thank you for making it with us.

From the Tiny Desk,
Bob Boilen

P.S. You’ll be hearing from us less in the months to come, but follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with NPR Music.

Fifteen bands. One city.

Congratulations to all 15 of the great bands who played at WVXU’s Tiny Desk Contest showcase in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Saturday! It looks like an amazing time — check out the photos over at Cincy Music.

Baoku plays the WVXU showcase. Image Credit: 91.7 WVXU

Thank you, Nashville!

We had a wonderful time last night at the Basement East, where four of our favorite Nashville Tiny Desk Contest entrants played a showcase hosted by our own Bob Boilen and Ann Powers and WPLN’s Jason Moon Wilkins. Featured performers Scott Mulvahill, Leah Nobel, Quinn DeVeaux and Dead Cures all did right by Music City, and we loved getting to meet even more Contest participants throughout the night.

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve got just one more stop on the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road tour: Austin, on June 2. Request your invitation if you’ll be in town!

Photos: Kyle Dean Reinford

Thank you, Los Angeles!

We wrapped up the West Coast leg of our On The Road tour last week at No Vacancy in Los Angeles, Calif., where we heard from four local bands who entered the Tiny Desk Contest this year. Valley Queen, City City, Earth to Jupiter and KULA all played engaging, energy-packed sets in the venue’s back courtyard, and the bartender even whipped us up a special Tiny Desk cocktail. Cheers to that.

Stay tuned as we get ready for the final two stops on our 2016 tour: Nashville on May 24 and Austin on June 2!

Photo credits: Rebecca Aranda

Thank you, Petaluma!

Through warm afternoon sunshine and chilly Northern Californian dusk, we had a lovely time at Lagunitas’ TapRoom in Petaluma, Calif. last night. Gaelynn Lea performed with Alan Sparhawk before joining Thao Nguyen (of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down), Gabe Meline (of KQED), and Bob Boilen for a panel on the songs we love. Then, Thao ushered us out with a short and sweet acoustic serenade.

What we loved best last night, though, was seeing the legion of Tiny Desk Contest entrants who came out. It was a joy to meet so many of you in person. We hope to repeat that across the country, in Los Angeles on Thursday, and then Nashville on May 24th.

Image Credits: Talia Herman

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