© 2024 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Blue Ridge Mountains banner background
Your source for information and inspiration in Western North Carolina.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

KeiyaA: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

NPR Music's Tiny Desk series will celebrate Black History Month by featuring four weeks of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and playlists by Black artists spanning different genres and generations each week. The lineup includes both emerging and established artists who will be performing a Tiny Desk concert for the first time. This celebration highlights the beautiful cornucopia of Black music and our special way of presenting it. We hope you enjoy.

Cornrows braided back with the precision of an architect. Stiletto nails commanding a sampling machine. Gold-glinted lids to match her light-up Beads Byaree earrings. With every move, KeiyaA shines so bright, it's impossible to look away. And while your eyes are fixated on her person, the music KeiyaA conjures inside Brooklyn's Electric Garden is what leaves you completely spellbound.

Just like this awe-inducing Tiny Desk (home) concert, KeiyaA's debut album, Forever, Ya Girl, appeared last year with kismet timing, unveiling her as a fully formed star. The 2020 release is a meditation on the thin line between solitude and loneliness, one that KeiyaA traces and teeters on while defining her Black womanhood. Whether it's through jazzy woodwinds, heavy synths or prickly staccato, the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist shares waves of anguish, depletion, love and elation in a swirling stream of consciousness.

"Gone for so long I prefer to spend time in my pain, hey / Gone for so long I can barely recall the last my phone rang," she sings on "Hvnli."

While the album version of these tracks boast much of KeiyaA's own production, affirmations and layered vocals in chorus, for this live version, the 28-year-old Chicago native communicates telepathically with her all-Black bandmates and cites her sources through the creative process.

"Most of the work that has carried me has been the writings of Black women," KeiyaA says before showing off hardcover copies of works by Jayne Cortez and Ntozake Shange. We love a queen who shares her curriculum!


  • "Do Yourself a Favor"
  • "Hvnli"
  • "Finesse Without a Trace"
  • "Rectifiya"

  • KeiyaA: vocals, samplers and keyboard
  • Buz: drums, vocals
  • Nelson Bandela: keyboard, synths and vocals
  • Keenyn Omari: flute, saxophones and guitar
  • 13th Law: bass and vocals

  • Audio: Jaclyn Sanchez, Abigail Lewis, Jacob Powell
  • Video: Scott Perry, Solange Smith, Marisa Gesualdi
  • Production: Caroline Waxse, Naavin Karimbux
  • Special Thanks: Telsha Anderson, Meredith Menchel, and Beads Byaree

  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Art Director: CJ Riculan
  • Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Maia Stern
  • Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same.