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Watch The First Entry To The 2021 Tiny Desk Contest

The Tiny Desk Contest — our annual search for the next great undiscovered artist to play a Tiny Desk concert — opened for entries yesterday. While there's no official advantage to entering early (this year's Contest closes June 7), we admire the eager and punctual artists who enter right away. Our very first entry comes from Minneapolis-based artist Kahlen., aka songwriter Kat Noble Moore, who wasted no time; they submitted their entry just three minutes after the Contest opened.

Their song, titled "the middle of mourning," shares a sad and personal story that is likely to resonate with many people. "This song is a dedication to my dear friend who passed this past year and to anyone else who has lost someone this past year," Moore shared with NPR Music. Their voice is packed with tender emotion as they begin singing of regret and end with a melancholy gratefulness, making peace with the unsaid.

Moore's entry video is short — only two minutes and 11 seconds long — and straightforward: just Moore at their desk with an acoustic guitar. But due to the strength of the songwriting, it's able to leave a lasting impression without being a big production. It's a good reminder to anyone else entering this year's Contest that our judges won't be won't be selecting a winner based on video quality; it's the song that matters most.

This is Kahlen.'s third year entering the Contest. We love seeing musicians grow when they share their music with us year after year, and celebrate the commitment of artists who return with hopes of playing their own Tiny Desk concerts someday.

We kicked off the seventh Tiny Desk Contest this week, and we're looking forward to hearing new music from thousands more unsigned artists from across the country. We'll continue to feature entries right here on the All Songs Considered blog over the next few months. If you're an unsigned artist with a dream of playing a Tiny Desk concert, send us your song by June 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elle Mannion