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Joyce Wrice pops with soul in refreshing 'Tiny Desk' performance

Ashley Pointer, Social Media Production Assistant, NPR Music

Warning: It's hard to keep still when listening to the infectious music of effervescent R&B powerhouse Joyce Wrice. Side effects may include an intense head bop, the occasional stank face and a mean two-step.

Wrice's Tiny Desk concert is a stunning display of her talents, showing us where the San Diego-bred, Los Angeles-based singer has been and where she's going next. Clad in all white and backed by a band wearing matching black Nike tracksuits and sneakers, they exude a vibe reminiscent of a family.

The concert commences with a sampling of her refreshing (and NPR favorite) 2021 debut album Overgrown that established her as a major voice in contemporary R&B. Accompanied by a six-piece band of tasteful musicians, Wrice opens with a soulful live arrangement of "Chandler," before smoothly transitioning into "Falling In Love." That funky bassline you hear? Courtesy of the one and only Dernst "D'Mile" Emile II, who executive-produced Overgrown and last graced the Tiny Desk for Lucky Daye's concert in 2019.

We get a taste of Wrice's new pop-influenced EP Motive, which takes an energetic turn away from her more soulful debut. As she closes out the set with "Bittersweet Goodbyes" and the Kaytranada-produced "Iced Tea," both written in collaboration with Mack Keane (who's seen here holding it down on keys), we witness an assured artist motivated to make you move.

Set list

  • "Chandler"
  • "Falling in Love"
  • "Must Be Nice"
  • "On One"
  • "Bittersweet Goodbyes"
  • "Iced Tea"


  • Joyce Wrice: vocals
  • Dernst "D'Mile" Emile II: bass
  • Branden Akinyele: drums 
  • Mack Keane: keys, vocals 
  • Christian Carey: guitar
  • D'anna Stewart: vocals
  • Astyn Turrentine: vocals

Tiny Desk team

  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Director: Kara Frame
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen
  • Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Michael Zamora
  • Audio Assistant: Hannah Copeland
  • Production Assistants: Jill Britton, Alanté Serene
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer, Maia Stern
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

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