An acoustic rap performance filmed on the shore of a lake in winter. A boisterous Balkan brass band packed into a tiny classroom. Three sisters on a couch, singing in exquisite three-part harmony.
These are just a few examples of the videos that made our panel of judges hit “play” a second time. Out of thousands of entries to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest, 254 were from Massachusetts. Twenty-one of them stood out for their originality, feeling, skill and heart. You can watch those videos below.
Over the next few weeks, our panelists — hip-hop artist Akrobatik, Allston Pudding editor-in-chief Christine Varriale, singer-songwriter Mark Erelli, The ARTery's arts engagement producer Arielle Gray and me — will write about some of our personal favorites from this list. After that, we’ll announce our collective top choice. That artist will be featured as part of our Up Next series on emerging local musicians and appear in performance at CitySpace on Friday, Aug. 23. (Get your tickets here.)
In the meantime, check out these 21 excellent finalists:
40 Million Feet, "This Small Earth"
Alisa Amador, "Bloodbeats"
All The Time Always, "79th Street"
Aubrey Haddard, "National Tragedy"
Billy Dean Thomas, "Freeman"
Dom Jones, "Live Forever"
Frances Forever, "Space Girl"
Hayley Sabella, "Flew the Nest"
Kimaya Diggs, "Crazy"
Makadi, "JS LVN LFE"
Mark McQuillen, "My Brave Mom"
Oompa (& The Chocolate Factory), "Thank You"
Paranom, "Black Angelz"
Room To Spare, "Salvage"
ROY JUNO, "Parked Car"
Sarah Khatami and The Shirzans, "Afloat"
Sarma Brass Band, "Techno Čoček"
Shanell Alyssa, "Blind Love"
STL GLD, "New Normal Pt. 1"
Yael Santé, "Close"