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Samia: Tiny Desk Concert

Samia performs at Tiny Desk.Photo: Michael Zamora

by Stephen Thompson

November 08, 2023

There's plenty of curious timing in Samia's Tiny Desk debut. For starters, this was the final Tiny Desk concert produced by Bob Boilen — he came in for one last Monday to accommodate the performance — which meant the singer-songwriter had to endure the reluctant tributes paid to Bob as she waited patiently to perform. Then there's the timing of Samia's song selection: All five of these tracks appeared on her terrific debut album (2020's The Baby) and not this year's equally magnificent Honey. Which is saying nothing of the fact that Samia is actress Kathy Najimy's daughter, yet we opted to run this performance a full week after the conclusion of Hocus Pocus Season! What were we thinking?

Fortunately, Samia's set nevertheless provides a stunning showcase for her charisma, vocal talent and deftly detailed lyricism. She possesses a remarkable knack for specificity in her songwriting, which finds her name-dropping her favorite bands, recounting conversations in devastating detail and even shining a light on songwriting itself. ("I only write songs about things that I'm scared of," she sings in "Is There Something in the Movies?" before adding, "So here, now you're deathless in art.")

Taking advantage of the Tiny Desk's quietude, Samia and her band chose to focus on the more subdued side of their sound, even deploying the sample of her grandmother that opens "Pool." As a result, it's easier and more rewarding than ever to hang on her every word.

SET LIST

  • "Is There Something in the Movies?"

  • "Big Wheel"

  • "Winnebago" 

  • "Triptych"

  • "Pool"

MUSICIANS

  • Samia: vocals

  • Sam Calvo Rosenstone: keyboards

  • Boone Wallace: guitar

  • Ned Steves: bass

  • Noah Rauchwerk (Wormy): drums

  • Alycia Lang: background vocals

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Bob Boilen

  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant 

  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin

  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Maia Stern

  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter 

  • Audio Assistant: Hannah Gluvna

  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer

  • Photographer: Michael Zamora

  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Hazel Cills

  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.