Public Radio Goes Prime-time, For a Night

April 2016

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert made a special appearance on FOX’s hit music drama Empire on March 30. Canvas tote bags and crowded bookshelves served as the backdrop for girl-group lead singer Laura at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert on Empire, bringing a touch of public radio to prime-time television. 


Tiny Desk Concerts have gained momentum by showing stripped-down sets from new and established artists, like T-Pain’s viral performance sans auto-tune last fall, which has nearly 9 million views on YouTube. 

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert on Empire intensified the episode’s climax, capturing Laura’s evolution from girl-group lead to aspiring solo artist.

Empire chronicles the sensational lives of hip-hop stars and record label moguls across New York. How does NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert on Empire fit with the show’s deep-rooted drama? Laura rehearses a song surrounded by NPR-branded items and furniture resembling the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen – and drama ensues. 

As Billboard quipped, “it goes from Destiny’s Child to Beyoncé real quick after the Head-Lyon-In-Charge disrespects Laura and her backup squad.”


npr's tiny desk concert on empire

Music mogul Cookie Lyon (left), played by Golden Globes winner Taraji P. Henson, waits behind-the-scenes during NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert on Empire. Photo courtesy of FOX.


NPR’s iconic Tiny Desk was a welcomed surprise by many fans and press, including Teen Vogue who mused, “Who woulda thought NPR would make an appearance on this show?”


Fans React to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert on Empire



NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert on Empire is yet another example of how NPR Music is the essential destination for new and established artists of all genres. With appearances by MitskiWilco and Anthony Hamilton,  Tiny Desk Concerts deliver intimate yet powerful performances to audiences craving fresh and innovative musical experiences.

The recent Tiny Desk Concert Contest continues entertaining listeners with its 10-city tour beginning April 19. The Tiny Desk Contest on the Road Fueled by Lagunitas Tour will celebrate original musical talent nationwide, featuring performances by contest winner Gaelynn Lea, local artists and more.


Tiny Desk, Big Range

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