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For Pride Month: Betty Who’s 5 Favorite Tiny Desk Concerts

Photo: Betty Who, NPR

For Tiny Desk Playlists, we ask musicians, creators and folks we admire to choose the Tiny Desk concerts they’ve come to love. For this edition, we asked singer-songwriter and Tiny Desk alum Betty Who to pick her favorites.

My good friend grew up playing cello and still has his youth-sized cello propped up in his home as a gentle reminder of his past talent. I’m sure it’s like riding a bike, right? So you’ll understand why my smile was so big when, while filming pop star Betty Who’s Tiny Desk, I watched her begin the performance by picking up her cello, which she said she had played throughout her childhood as well.

Betty Who identifies as queer, and has been a longtime advocate of LGBTQ rights — plus, her music makes you want to smile and dance. So in honor of Pride month, we wanted to hear which Tiny Desk concerts make Betty Who smile and dance as well. —Maia Stern

• Kirk Franklin — “I Smile” by Kirk Franklin has a hard “no skip” rule on my playlists. He speaks to my soul and I could watch this Tiny Desk every morning as a meditation.

• Rina Sawayama — I’ve been a huge fan of Rina for a while now so when her Tiny Desk (home) concert dropped during quarantine, I felt like it was a gift given to me personally. Her perfect voice, her fabulous outfit, her edgy band, the talented string quartet — what more could you need to know?

• Punch Brothers — Punch Brothers was a big part of my musical education when I was at Berklee. I transcribed a bunch of the group’s songs for my ear training classes, like a nerd. Their Tiny Desk has two million views, and I think one million of them are mine.

• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals — This was the first Tiny Desk I remember that genuinely stopped me in my tracks and made me say “who the f*** is that”. Anderson has become this insanely big artist and watching his first Tiny Desk again, you can see why. He is so special and he controlled that room with such an ease; I will always remember this video as being the first of a lifetime of performances of his that impress me.

• Harry Styles — What a gorgeous boy. What an iconic sweater choice. It’s so nice to hear his raspy voice, first thing in the morning, like he’s just crawled out of bed. I feel like he’s singing just to me. Right, Harry?

Tiny Desks In This Playlist

• Kirk Franklin
• Rina Sawayama
• Punch Brothers
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
• Harry Styles

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