Listen: A Conversation With 2018 Tiny Desk Contest Winner Naia Izumi

June 7, 2018
Photo: Naia Izumi at Tiny Desk Contest concert Globe Hall
Naia Izumi

NPR Music recently named Georgia musician Naia Izumi the winner of the 2018 Tiny Desk Contest. Now in its fourth year, the contest lets unsigned, independent musicians submit a video of themselves performing an original song for the chance to perform as part of NPR's Tiny Desk concert series

Izumi astounded the contest judges with virtuosic guitar skills and soulful vocals in his video. Those talents were on full display last week when NPR brought the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road tour to Denver's Globe Hall.

Izumi sat down with CPR's OpenAir midday host Alisha Sweeney for an interview shortly before he took the stage. He spoke about preparing for his Tiny Desk performance at NPR headquarters, how years of street performances helped him develop as a musician and teaching himself to play guitar.

Below, check out photos from last week's Tiny Desk Contest On The Road concert at Denver's Globe Hall, featuring performances from Izumi and Colorado acts Audible, Ivory Circle and Los Mocochetes.

Photo: Naia Izumi performs at the Tiny Desk Contest Tour concert at Denver's Globe Hall
Naia Izumi performs at the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road concert at Denver's Globe Hall
Photo: Alisha Sweeney at Tiny Desk Contest tour concert Globe Hall
Alisha Sweeney introduces Audible at the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road concert at Denver's Globe Hall.
Photo: Audible at the Tiny Desk Contest Tour concert at Denver's Globe Hall
Audible performs at the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road concert at Denver's Globe Hall.
Photo: Bruce Trujillo introduces Los Mocochetes at the Tiny Desk Contest Tour concert at Denver's Globe Hall
Bruce Trujillo introduces Los Mocochetes at the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road concert at Denver's Globe Hall.
Photo: Los Mocochetes perform at the Tiny Desk Contest Tour concert at Denver's Globe Hall
Los Mocochetes perform at the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road concert at Denver's Globe Hall.
Photo: Ivory Circle performs at the Tiny Desk Contest Tour concert at Denver's Globe Hall
Ivory Circle performs at the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road concert at Denver's Globe Hall.
Photo: CPR's OpenAir hosts with Bob Boilen at Tiny Desk concert
The CPR's OpenAir hosts pose for a photo with NPR Music's Bob Boilen.