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Durand Bernarr: Tiny Desk Concert

Durand Bernarr is an experience. At the Tiny Desk, members of his band — clad in costumes evoking characters from the Disney Channel animated series The Proud Family — surrounded Bernarr, outfitted in a white and magenta sequined ensemble with a wig styled in a pompadour, channeling the electric energy of the soul and funk singer of the Proud Family, Uncle Bobby.

More than an experience, Bernarr is a skilled singer. He's gained a following from his catchy albums (including his most recent, Wanderlust), his time spent backing Erykah Badu on tour and his appearances on BET programming. His voice jumps from robust baritone to clear falsetto with ease. Every song takes on a different musical character as he curates the show needed for each audience.

When reflecting on his visit to the Tiny Desk, Bernarr remarked, "I had to show on this platform I'm so much more than just R&B." And he did just that, using, as he put it, "a smooth, alternative James Brown, vaudeville jingles, Quiet Storm, Chanté Moore, jazz, R&B, Patrice Rushen, hip-hop, bluegrass, country, musical theater, house, funk, opera, rock ..." to showcase his showmanship at its peak.

Bernarr told the Tiny Desk team: "I'm not meant to be understood; I'm meant to be experienced." I imagine not many Tiny Desks experiences wrap up like his did: with a shirtless performer going into a dip and Diana Ross-in-Mahogany-style twirls, and then weaving his way through the audience supplying hugs and high fives.

SET LIST

  1. "Leveled"
  2. "Chops (Reprise from STUCK.)"
  3. "Sam's Vibe"
  4. "Company"
  5. "Mango Butter"
  6. "Relocate"
  7. "Freefall
  8. "STUCK."
  9. "Melody"

MUSICIANS

  • Durand Bernarr: vocals
  • Frank Moka: drums
  • Sam Hoffman: guitar, keys
  • Egberto "Budda" Foster, Jr.: bass
  • Devin Smith: keys
  • Terron Austin: vocals 
  • Roy Pattern, Jr.: vocals
  • Jason Paul: vocals

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Estefania Mitre, Maia Stern
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen 
  • Audio Assistant: Neil Tevault
  • Production Assistants: Jill Britton, Ashley Pointer
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Pilar Galván, Sofia Seidel
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mitra I. Arthur