Yesterday, we launched our fifth Tiny Desk Contest, NPR Music's annual search for the next great undiscovered artist. We already received our first entry and we wanted to share it with you today: Maiah Wynne's "Mama."
The song opens with the sliding twang of Wynne's Merlin dulcimer, which immediately contrasts with the brightness of her voice and the raw distortion of Brooks Berg's oil can guitar. The song is a fresh take on music that echoes back to the sounds of Appalachian folk tunes.
"I wrote 'Mama' as a young teen about multiple people who weren't trustworthy in my life," Wynne tells NPR via email, explaining the inspiration behind the haunting tale of a ghost who lures unsuspecting victims to her swamp. "It's fun to get imaginative and build on the story when we perform it live." Wynne's band also includes Troy Dunn (Aliephant) on percussion, Lauren McShane on cello and Toria Beck on bass.
Wynne also entered the Contest last year, and it warms our hearts to see familiar faces in the Contest. But we're eager to meet new artists as well. (We're especially excited for our younger Tiny Desk fans because this year we're accepting entries from artists 18 years and older!) When you are recording your entry, know that the judges are not necessarily looking for a fancy video with high-tech recording gear; in fact, past Tiny Desk Contest winners filmed on cell phones and tablets. All you need is a desk and a song. You have until Sunday, April 14 at 11:59pm EST to enter via our website. Good luck!