We recently reached out to our 2022 Contest winner, Alisa Amador, about writing for the Tiny Desk Contest newsletter. She wrote about how the Contest changed her life and her advice to the Tiny Desk Contest community:
Hi. I'm Alisa (ah-LEE-sah). I won the Contest last year, and I never, ever imagined I would. Not because I don't believe in my art (although I'm sure I'm not alone when I say, sometimes it's freakin’ hard to believe in yourself!), but because I never entered the Contest for the purpose of winning. I entered every year for five years because it always introduced me to fantastic artists. It reminded me that I actually wasn't alone — as much as it can seem so when you're an independent musician. There were thousands of other independent artists all over the country, sending in their original music, too.
Since winning the Contest in May 2022, I have toured all over the country, sharing the stage with some of the people I admire most, like Lake Street Dive, Madison Cunningham and Sammy Rae & the Friends; felt overwhelming joy as one of my biggest inspirations, Puerto Rican songwriter iLe, talked about my music on NPR; and played my first tour in the U.K. and Europe. (Also, I just found out that my next show in London is sold out, so I've had to add another show!)
All of this sounds very impressive but, what means the most to me in this new chapter of being a working musician is the community — is how not alone I feel. I really want people to know that the Tiny Desk Contest is a window into a whole community, and that it's the people who make the real difference. I want you to participate in this Contest because it will change your life, even if only in a small, but still significant way. Believing in your art enough to press “send” on the application: That changes your life. When you meet a new friend and source of inspiration through the Contest: That changes your life. When you realize you're not alone in this isolating industry: That changes your life.
I am so deeply grateful for the gifts the Contest has given me — before and after I won. I am about to go on tour throughout the U.S. with Emily Scott Robinson and Violet Bell. I have an amazing team that I trust. I am learning how to take care of myself, believe in myself and fight for a healthier music industry culture.
I've never liked the word “Contest.” So, instead of calling it “entering the Contest,” let's call it “entering the community.” I invite you to enter the Tiny Desk community. Discover artists who inspire you. They might become some of your best friends (that's what happened to me with Cricket Blue, Hayley Sabella and Kaiti Jones). And remember that you are not alone. You are not alone.
Also, music is fun! I'd forgotten that for a while. I'm so grateful to be remembering it now.
The Tiny Desk Contest helped take Amador's music and career to the next level. Could you be next? Enter the Contest at npr.org/tinydeskcontest by March 13 at 11:59 p.m. ET.