Meshell Ndegeocello delivers a powerful Tiny Desk (Home) Concert - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

NPR’s most recent Tiny Desk (Home) Concert featured singer-songwriter, activist, and acclaimed vocalist Meshell Ndegeocello. Despite the stripped-down nature of the performance, Ndegeocello lends a certain gravitas and weight with her insightful setlist and moving vocal performance. The black and white nature of the recording lends a further somber and evocative feeling to the intimate mini-concert.

Ndegeocello begins the concert with a spoken word rendition of her experimental neo-soul piece, “Step Into the Projects.” She shifts over form there to “Price of the Ticket” — a song from Ndegeocello’s newest project. The performance is calm despite the calamity and tragedy of the lyrics, A rolling guitar keeps constant movement, stopping only momentarily on the pivotal lyrics “Please don’t shoot me.” The songs shares the name of an anthology of James Baldwin’s work, and this is no coincidence. The song and the project are both inspired by Baldwin’s writing, and Ndegeocello takes a moment to talk about that inspiration.

From there she goes to “Forget My Name,” which keeps a slim murmur of the original reggae adjacent sound of the song’s original recording. The set ends with the intimate and resigned “Fool of Me,” rounding out Ndegeocello’s performance with four pieces from four distinct eras of her eclectic work.

Check out Ndegeocello’s full performance below.

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