Tiny Desk Concert : NPR

This year’s Black History Month celebration at Tiny Desk features a carefully crafted lineup that spans many genres, generations and professions. Each artist has the best grades in their class and will be performing at Tiny Desk for the first time.

When Lady Wray and her band checked into NPR headquarters for the Tiny Desk concert, I overheard her tell how the excitement of the performance kept her up all night. Upstairs, the band was seated for soundcheck, and as she brushed off her nerves, something I’d never heard before happened behind her desk. The first sound was so sharp that I wondered if my ears were fooling me. It sounded like someone was singing through a loudspeaker. As Bob Boylen walked up bewildered, I asserted that I heard Lady Ray’s natural vocal cords before I could speak. “And it’s light,” she said as the band moved on to the next song.

That powerful voice has underpinned Nicole Ray’s decades-long career. In her teens, she caught the attention of fellow Virginia native Missy Her Elliott and Timbaland, lending vocals to their projects and releasing hits of her own. She continued her work with other her A-listers, from Jay-Z to The Black Keys, and partnered with singer Terry Walker to form the duo Lady in 2012. The pair split after a brief stint, but Ray took over the band name. She began making music, which she prefaced herself and was born to play solo on on Big Crown records.

For her Tiny Desk, Lady Wray brings the classic soul from her last two albums. Queen Alone When My works, “Joy & Pain”, “Guilty”, etc. She concluded with a re-orchestrated, emotional version of “Melody,” named after her daughter.

set list

  • “My works”
  • “Joy & Pain”
  • “guilty”
  • “melody”


  • Lady Ray: Vocals
  • Laura Adanna: Vocals
  • JT: key, vocal
  • Eric Hagstrom: drums
  • Kevin Martin: guitar
  • Tony Martin: bass

small desk team

  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Director: Sophia Seidel, Kara Flame
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Videographers: Sophia Seidel, Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Maia Stern
  • Editor: Maia Stern
  • Voice Assistant: Jay Shih
  • Production Assistant: Jill Britton
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior Vice President, Programming: Anya Grundmann

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