Today, NPR Music announced that Utah band Little Moon is the winner of the 2023 Tiny Desk Contest.
First launched in 2015, Tiny Desk Contest is NPR Music’s annual contest to find the next great undiscovered artist. Past winners include Fantastic Negrito and Tank & the Bangas. This year, according to Tiny Desk series producer Bobby Carter, the contest received nearly 6,000 entries.
Little Moon, though, stood out to the Tiny Desk Contest judges. As Carter writes, the band’s song “Wonder Eye” “moved [the judges] to tears and filled them with hope.”
Little Moon’s group members are Emma Hardyman (lead vocals/guitar), Nathan Hardyman (bass/guitar), Bly Wallentine (keys/bass), Bridget Jackson (harp), Chris Shemwell (drums), and Grace Johnson (electric guitar/keys).
Hardyman’s “deceptively strong voice” – along with “the band’s ability to take the music to places completely unexpected” – “catapulted ‘Wonder Eye’ to the top of the heap” of “wonderful” Tiny Desk entries, writes Carter. “Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten said Hardyman’s vocal range was ‘out of this world.'”
“It’s an explosive tune with a deeply emotional story,” says Tiny Desk series creator Bob Boilen. “It’s a song of grieving and understanding with a dynamic performance.”
Continues Carter: “Emma Hardyman told us the song was written under heavy circumstances: Her mother-in-law was in hospice care, while she and her husband, bassist Nathan Hardyman, were in the process of leaving the Mormon church. ‘Mormonism believes in life after death, resurrection and eternal families,’ she said. ‘There is beauty and comfort in our former beliefs of certainty, light and life; we honor and respect such teachings. But we also find deep beauty in uncertainty, darkness, chaos and death. Perhaps it’s all one and the same.'”
As winner of this year’s Tiny Desk Contest, Little Moon will headline the NPR Music’s On The Road tour, which will include stops in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Houston.
This year’s Tiny Desk Contest judging panel consisted of Tiny Desk creator and host of the All Songs Considered podcast Bob Boilen, Tiny Desk producer Bobby Carter, artists Sharon Van Etten, Baby Rose and Sudan Archives, and Albina Cabrera from NPR Member station KEXP.
Read more about Little Moon and Tiny Desk Contest on NPR.org.
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