Meet NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest Winner

March 2016
Musician Gaelynn Lea of Duluth, Minnesota is NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest winner, sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Co.

NPR Music & Lagunitas Brewing Co. name this year’s Tiny Desk Contest winner.


The votes are in! NPR Music & Lagunitas proudly present Gaelynn Lea of Duluth, Minnesota, as this year’s Tiny Desk Contest winner.

A classically trained fiddle player, Lea edged out more than 6,000 submissions from all 50 states to become this year’s contest winner. The contest was exclusively sponsored by Lagunitas Brewing Company.


Tiny Desk Contest winner Gaelynn Lea also teaches music lessons to children and adults, specializing in Celtic/American fiddle and improvisational violin.

Tiny Desk Contest winner Gaelynn Lea. Photo by Michael K. Anderson.


Dubbed as “the best thing you’ll hear all day” by Mashable, watch Lea’s original song “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun” at NPR Music

Be prepared to be blown away.  – USA Today


Selecting a Tiny Desk Contest Winner & Building a Community

The contest encouraged artists across genres and geography to submit their original songs performing with, in varied and creative ways, a desk of their own. 

Judges included All Songs Considered co-hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton. The duo were joined by Tiny Desk concert alumni Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and The Arcs, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius, and soul artist Son Little.

NPR Music’s popular contest has created a community of thousands of aspiring musicians and loyal music fans nationwide.


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The emphasis on community has also connected musicians locally, sparking meetups with contestants in the same area. For example, this local music showcase in Buffalo, NY. 

Coming Soon: NPR & Lagunitas Tiny Desk Contest Tour

Lea, the Tiny Desk Contest winner, will join an impressive roster of musicians who once played NPR’s famous Tiny Desk. She’ll play live at the NPR headquarters in Washington, DC. Her performance will be posted later on NPR Music

Lea also wins the opportunity to appear at a taping of NPR’s Ask Me Another. After the taping, she’ll embark on a cross-country tour with NPR Music and Lagunitas this spring.

The tour will include Tiny Desk Contest meetups featuring entrants hand-picked by NPR Music and Member stations, and “Lagunitas Local Favorites.” Tour updates will be posted soon on NPR Presents.



For the second year, Lagunitas Brewing Company is the contest sponsor. The brand has been prominently featured across NPR Music videos, articles and podcasts related to the contest. 

Lagunitas extended its partnership with NPR Music through co-branded recognition on their website, newsletter and social channels. Last year, the Tiny Desk Contest winner performed at the Lagunitas CouchTrippin’ showcase at SXSW in Austin.  



NPR Music: Destination for Music Lovers & Influencers 

The Tiny Desk Contest is named after the beloved NPR Music series that invites upcoming and estbalished artists to play intimate, unplugged sets at NPR.

Creating community around a shared love of music is exactly why NPR Music is essential for its fans, attracting 3.2 million unique monthly visitors online.

Brands can seamlessly align with this recognized music tastemaker on every platform. Highlights include award-winning video, chart-topping programs, diverse music coverage and dynamic live events

Learn more about creative sponsorship with NPR Music here


Can’t get enough of Tiny Desk Contest winner Gaelynn Lea? Check out her interview below to learn more about her musical career, and hear a clip of her heart-wrenching song, “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun.” 


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