Nilüfer Yanya only has one full-length album to her name, but with it, she has established herself as one of the finest voices in indie music today. Since the release of Miss Universe in March, the album has been hailed as one of the best indie albums of the year. On the record, Yanya shows off a tremendous versatility that’s not common for a debut album, and she has proven masterful at maneuvering all the different spaces she puts herself in. Recently, she found herself in one of her smallest spaces yet: She visited NPR to put on a Tiny Desk Concert.
Accompanied by her band — Jazzi Bobbi Dreissen on sax, Luke “Lucy Lu” Bower on bass, and Ellis Dupuy on drums — she began with “Baby Luv,” from her 2018 EP Do You Like Pain? before wrapping up with a pair of Miss Universe tracks, “The Unordained” and “Angels.” While Miss Universe is a beautifully produced album, the songs don’t use that as a crutch, as evidenced by the fact that they hold up terrifically in the stripped-down environment these Tiny Desk performances create. That’s particularly evident during the closing moments of “Angels,” a big performance that transcends the size of the room.
Watch Yanya’s Tiny Desk performance above, and read our recent interview with Yanya here.