On Thursday, July 16, Bob Boilen was joined by Tiny Desk Contest judge and Tiny Desk alumna Gina Chavez for episode six of Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf. Chavez shared five of her favorite entries from the 2020 Contest; she says she connected to them in particular because of the artists' emotional performances. Two artists with personal and powerful songs joined Boilen and Chavez in the livestream: Diana Gameros from New York, N.Y. and Danielle Ponder from Rochester, N.Y.
Gameros (who has now entered the Contest six times) shared that she writes in Spanish, her "soul language," whenever she needs to express profound sentiments. Her impeccable arpeggio-laden entry, "Amor A Todo," is a song that "has become a prayer and a meditation to remind me of that love and light we can see amidst any dark moment," Gameros said.
Ponder — whose entry, "Poor Man's Pain," was inspired by her work as a public defender and the injustices against Black people in the prison system — expressed admiration for the Contest as a space for underrepresented voices. Chavez and Ponder discussed the power of representation for communities of color, and Ponder mentioned that seeing Tank and the Bangas win the Contest in 2017 inspired her to enter this year.
Artists featured in this episode included:
- Ada Dyer, "Blood Sugar"
- Diana Gameros, "Amor A Todo"
- Rama Gu, "Good Egg"
- Danielle Ponder, "Poor Man's Pain"
- Mikhala Jené, "The Annunciation"
This year's Tiny Desk Contest winner will be announced soon. You can RSVP at topshelf.nprpresents.org for our final two Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf episodes.