World Cafe 20th Anniversary

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World Cafe Archives

Join David Dye as he navigates the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

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First Timers

The World Cafe has been lucky enough to present several now famed artists at the beginning stages of their careers. Below are some of our favorite discoveries, with clips of the first time they appeared on the World Cafe. We will be running these clips throughout the month of October on the show.

Tori Amos

Tori Amos is a legend for her emotive performances and command of the piano. When she stopped by the World Cafe in 1992 she had just released her debut, Little Earthquakes; she talks about her very first tour experiences and plays from that now-classic album, including the song many people met her through “Silent All These Years.”

Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow visited the World Cafe in 1993, right after the release of her debut record, Tuesday Night Music Club. The former backup singer for Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen debuted songs like “Leaving Las Vegas” and “All I Wanna Do,” which she told David was written from lyrics she discovered in a book of poetry by Wyn Cooper. Shortly after her appearance on the World Cafe, Tuesday Night Music Club would go on to sell 7 million copies and win Crow 3 Grammys beginning what has been an incredibly successful career.

David Gray

Irish singer-songwriter David Gray stopped by the World Cafe in early 1994 to play a set of songs from his first album, A Century Ends – a full four years before Gray released his breakthrough fourth album,White Ladder, on Dave Matthew’s ATO label which made him an international star.

The Dave Matthews Band

The Dave Matthews Band was still just a local band from Charlottesville, VA, who had just released their second album, Under The Table And Dreaming, when they debuted on the World Cafe in late 1994. Dave reflected on growing up in South Africa and they played songs that would become hits the next year, including “Ants Marching.”

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five, actually a trio, released their self-titled debut album in 1995 and were on their first tour to support it when Ben talked to David Dye about his first experiences playing piano and performed singles “Underground” and “Alice Childress.” Ben Folds Five split up in 2000 and Ben Folds himself went solo, finding new collaborators such as author Nick Hornby and the actor William Shatner.


Coldplay played a session for a live audience for the World Cafe in 2001 at Philadelphia’s Indre Studios. The performance came during their first American tour as they were supporting their debut album, Parachutes. Singer Chris Martin discussed writing his breakthrough song and the band played their first two singles: “Shiver” and “Yellow.” Coldplay appear courtesy of EMI Music North America.

John Mayer

John Mayer was only 23 and his debut album, Room For Squares, was released only three weeks before he visited the World Cafe in 2001. He had initially been heading towards a career as a blues guitarist before writing his own Grammy-winning pop songs, two of which he plays here: “No Such Thing” and “My Stupid Mouth.”

Norah Jones

Norah Jones appeared on the World Cafe in February, 2002 – the same month her debut album, Come Away With Me, was released on Blue Note Records. The album grew in popularity over the next several years to sell over 20 million copies, but before that, she reflected on her move to New York and meeting her songwriting partner Jesse Harris; she played the Hank Williams cover “Cold Cold Heart” and one of the songs she helped write for her first disc “Come Away With Me.”

My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket had just released their major-label debut, It Still Moves, when they visited the World Cafe in 2003 to play live versions of future hits “Golden” and “One Big Holiday,” talk about their hometown of Louisville, KY, and discuss how they were able to create some of leader Jim James beloved reverb recording in an old silo.

TV On The Radio

TV On The Radio stopped by the World Cafe in 2004 while on tour to support their full-length debut album, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, which had just won that year’s Shortlist Prize. They discussed their home base of Brooklyn, studying film, and transitioning to music, then played the single “Staring At The Sun.”

The Black Keys

The Black Keys had been making albums in Akron, Ohio, for several years before their breakthrough third record, Rubber Factory. The album was released in 2004 - the same year that the duo first visited the World Cafe. They talked about their hometown, and played their biggest hit-to-date, “10AM Automatic.” Since then, the Keys have topped that success, winning Grammys and selling hundreds of thousands of records.


The French band Phoenix’s first time on the World Cafe was in 2005. While touring America in support of their second album, Alphabetical, they reflected on growing up in Versailles, and played their song “Everything Is Everything.” In 2009, Phoenix would top American charts with a much changed sound, and become a household name with their fourth album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

Ray LaMontagne

The soft spoken debut of Ray LaMontagne on the World Cafe happened back in 2005, a few months after he had released his debut Trouble. The excitement during this recording session was palpable as we were introduced to the title track of the disc and "Jolene"; Ray also shares the story of how he went from working in a shoe factory in Maine to becoming a musician. His popularity has steadily grown over his four albums; his latest 2010's God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise earned him the Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy.


Canadian singer Feist visited the Cafe in 2005 after the release of Let It Die, her major label solo debut; she sang the single "Mushaboom" which earned her her first radio airplay in the US as a solo artist and she shared the story of almost losing her voice touring with her previous band, the all girl punk group Placebo, and how that transformed her singing style. Two years later, with the release of The Reminder, her career exploded with the ubiquitous single "1234" taking over the iPod Nano ad campaign; the album became the year's best selling item on iTunes.

Peter, Bjorn & John

Swedish trio Peter, Bjorn & John first found success in Europe for their 2006 album Writer's Block and the single "Young Folks"; it wasn't until 2007 that the band enjoyed the same level of airplay in the United States. When the group stopped the World Cafe in May of that year, just before the single really took off, they discussed their unexpected success with Writer's Block and played "Young Folks" and another Cafe favorite "Amsterdam."

Sara Bareilles

In 2007 Sara Bareilles released her major label debut Little Voice. When she came by the Cafe she played the infectious "Love Song" and reflected on the inspiration behind it. A Top Ten hit, the song eventually sold over three million copies, and Bareilles became a hero to piano playing young women.

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend's performance on the World Cafe happened in 2008 just before the release of their self titled debut. With hard to resist tunes like "Mansard Roof," "A-Punk," "Oxford Comma" and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," the young band's African influenced punk pop sound soon took off, breaking into the Top Twenty of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and earning them numerous critical praise. They talk about how their music developed and play two of their most popular singles.

Fleet Foxes

Shortly after putting out their self titled debut in 2008, Fleet Foxes entered the Cafe studios for a performance and interview. With a stunning sense of vocal harmony, the Seattle-based band quickly won over music critics and fans, thanks to songs like "White Winter Hymnal," which they performed on the Cafe. Lead singer and principal songwriter Robin Pecknold looks back how his family influenced his early musical development; notably his sister Aja is the band's manager, and his brother Sean directed a stop-action music video for “White Winter Hymnal."


Adele is currently one of the biggest singers in popular music, but back in 2008, when she first stopped by the World Cafe, the charming young vocalist was still touring behind the release of her first album 19. She reflects on how she developed her powerful vocal style and performs her highly lauded early hit "Chasing Pavements."

Unfortunately we don't have permission to post this clip to the web, but tune in to the show October 27 to hear Adele!

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons came to the Cafe studios in October 2009 and we first aired their interview in February 2010 when the band had yet to catch on in the United States, so we put this interview on a second time in September 2010 when their fame had grown. The London-based folk quartet shared how American music had influenced them and played "White Blank Page," one of the songs from their chart busting debut Sigh No More.

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