NPR Music

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Jason Isbell

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

Recommendation: Happy People: A Year In The Taiga

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Rihanna quietly made her first non-sampled vocal appearance since 2017

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Bob Dylan surprised fans late Thursday night with the release of the epic "Murder Most Foul," a long, delicate song about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Music artist Alicia Keys, a 15-time Grammy winner, has a new self-titled album coming out — her seventh.

She also has written a forthcoming book, More Myself, that she prefers to call a "journey" rather than a memoir.

Keys spoke to NPR in February — an interview being aired for the first time now — about her latest projects.

Her book explores her arrival into adulthood while in the spotlight, and how she learned to be herself — and that it was OK to be herself.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

When Víkingur Ólafsson was about 5 years old, he already knew what he wanted to be. "It sounds crazy, but I always saw myself as a concert pianist," he says. "Even if I wasn't a good pianist."

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. We recently extended our deadline for entries: You now have until until 11:59 p.m. ET on April 27 to enter the Contest.

"It just takes time, time to get it right." René Marie wrote that line for a tender song about an extramarital affair, but it could easily apply to the arc of her jazz career, which began when she was in her 40s.

Marie has built her career on the foundation of truth-telling songs like that one, "Go Home." She's the rare jazz vocalist who has put songwriting at the very heart of her enterprise, addressing the human condition through an unvarnished personal lens.

Twenty seconds of hand washing. 60 to 90 percent alcohol. Six feet of distance. People worldwide have absorbed these guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic has closed its fist around the world. But humans also need to keep the spirit moving, as did Charles Dickens — who lived through a few epidemics — by taking a daily "breather" in the fresh air. Here we offer recommendations for psychic health from people who go deep into their own hearts and minds: artists and writers. Creative people have been uniquely affected by the onset of the current pandemic.

A few months ago, World Cafe went to Virginia for our Sense of Place series. Last month, you may have heard us explore Charlottesville, and starting this week, we bring you stories we collected during our trip to Richmond.

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