This year, NPR Music is celebrating Black Music Month with a series of all-new Tiny Desk concerts — at home and behind our beloved desk. Together, these artists represent the past, present and future of black music. This month of carefully curated performances is a celebration of Black artists expressing themselves in ways we’ve never seen before, and the Tiny Desk’s unique way of showcasing this talent.
Hearing Ravyn Lenae’s voice echo behind the Tiny Desk for one of our first concerts in the building thrilled me. With her raw, unamplified voice, Lenae and her dynamic band transformed our office into a funky, futuristic space where she was completely in her element.
Hailing from Chicago, Lenae released her debut EP, moon shoes, in 2015. She has since released two more EPs, her sound permeating the world of contemporary R&B and blurring the lines between soul, funk and R&B. This year, Lenae reappeared with the release of her first feature film, HYPNOSis already shaping up to be one of the best albums of 2022.
His Tiny Desk concert starts with three songs HYPNOS. Opening with “Venom,” a bubbling electro-funk song, Lenae sings, “Why do you think I’m a fool?” His signature falsetto descends over spacey synth melodies while his drummer keeps an insistent, metallic groove. Next, Lenae performs perhaps the most vulnerable songs from her new album, including “Skin Tight,” a soulful guitar ballad that touches on a past romantic relationship and the energy that was once shared, and “Inside Out,” a love letter to herself. which channels a 90s R&B sound with dramatic piano harmonies, a soulful main melody and dynamic drums.
“I think it’s a journey of a lifetime, learning to love and trust yourself, and believing in the skin you’re in,” Lenae said of “Inside Out.” “I wrote this song when I wasn’t so sure…that’s why we sing it together.” With a ferociously energetic upsweep, she closes the show with her hit “Sticky.” As she slips into these distinct strident sounds OhI can’t help but sing along to her catchy hook – while realizing that only Lenae can do it quite like this.
LIST OF SETTINGS
- “Taut Skin”
- “Upside down”
- Ravyn Lenae: vocals
- Marcus Reddick: bass
- Danielle “Dee” Thompson: drums
- Harrison “Achee” Hawkins: Keys/MD
- Garrett Jones: guitar
- Aja Grant: vocals
- Phylicia Hill: vocals
SMALL OFFICE TEAM
- Producer: Bobby Carter
- Audio recording and mixing engineer: Josh Rogosin
- Director/Editor: Kara Frame
- Series Creator: Bob Boilen
- Videographers: Kara Frame, Josh Bryant, Michael Zamora, Pierre Kattar
- Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
- Small Office Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Jill Britton, Joby Tanseco, Maia Stern
- Vice President, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
- Senior Vice President, Programming: Anya Grundmann