Some of you may know that I was one of the judges for this year’s Tiny Desk Contest. There were over 6,000 entries in this year’s contest. I had a great time watching some of the amazing and creative videos from artists all over the country. The pandemic made it especially a challenging process. I was even able to share some of my favorite videos with All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk host Bob Boilen.
However, we had to pick a favorite, which caused me a little anxiety. So, when all of us judges came together via Zoom (thanks COVID-19), we had a long conversation on who should receive the honor of winning this year’s Tiny Desk Contest. After giving our feedback, one artist stood out the most and it was Linda Diaz’s gorgeous and sublime “Green Tea Ice Cream.”
It happened to my number one pick after many hours of reviewing the finalists. The song gave me chills and warmth at the same time. The lyrics reminded me to slow down and take care of myself in this year of craziness. Linda’s voice is hypnotic and while listening I forgot where I was.
From the press release:
Hailing from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Diaz is a singer-songwriter — and former scholastic chess champion — with a sparkling stage presence. Her euphoric and calming music swirls R&B hooks with soulful melodies, often wrapping powerful, self-affirming messages in a warm yet refreshing sound.
Diaz’s winning song, “Green Tea Ice Cream,” is rooted in exploring her passions and honoring what brings her peace in a society that often determines someone’s value based on productivity. Her entry video, filmed by Chris Alfonsoat, was chosen out of over 6,000 entries from across the country. Diaz is joined by Jade Che on the keys, Andres Valbuena on the drums and Matthew Fishman on the bass with background vocals from Bianca Muñiz and Jacks Muñiz. Watch the entry and listen to her performance of “Green Tea Ice Cream.”
“Winning the Tiny Desk Contest is such an immense honor. I’m a firm believer that nothing you achieve is achieved alone. When I perform at the Tiny Desk I will be standing on the shoulders of a community that supports me- my family and friends, fellow musicians, my fans- many of whom are Black women speaking my name in rooms that I haven’t yet entered,” said Diaz. “I am overwhelmingly grateful to all of the folks that invest in me. I am also really proud of myself and that’s something that I want people to hear. It’s not just a win. This is an accomplishment. For me, winning the Tiny Desk Contest is an honor and a reminder that I am more than enough.”
Diaz’s entry captivated the Tiny Desk Contest judging panel — including soulful singer and songwriter Brittany Howard, 2019 Tiny Desk Contest winner Quinn Christopherson, passionate Latin pop musician Gina Chavez, Tarik Moody of Radio Milwaukee, Raina Douris of WXPN’s World Cafe, creator of the Tiny Desk series Bob Boilen and Tiny Desk producer Bobby Carter.
“I voted for Linda Diaz as the NPR Tiny Desk contest winner because I liked her lyrical style, her voice and I really dug her band,” said Brittany Howard. “The musicianship and production is really top notch and it was clear to me that Linda Diaz is ready to meet a wider audience. I’m excited to see where her career goes.”
Diaz is no stranger to NPR. Her song “Magic” was featured in NPR Music’s Heat Check series and she was a backup singer for Jordan Rakei’s Tiny Desk concert in January. In February of 2019, Diaz self-released her debut EP, “V,” which honored her late grandfather and her recent release, “Magic,” is a six-track EP produced by ThankYouFatMatt.
“Linda Diaz has a heavenly voice. Her song “Green Tea Ice Cream” encourages us all to live life to its fullest, appreciate what’s around us. It’s a song about slowing down, trying to find moments to enjoy life,”said Bob Boilen. Hearing her sing the line “you should be living out your dreams but you’re tearing at the seams,” is particularly poignant in 2020 as we all struggle to find balance in our lives.”
Linda Diaz’s Tiny Desk (home) concert will premiere on the NPR Music YouTube channel soon