The Little Desk is functioning from home for the foreseeable long term. Introducing NPR Music’s Very small Desk (household) concerts, bringing you performances from across the place and the earth. It is really the similar spirit — stripped-down sets, an personal location — just a distinctive room.

As usual, Rina Sawayama is one stage in advance of us. She’s back in the office environment, clad in a periwinkle blazer with waist minimize-outs and a substantial ponytail cleaner than the look at of the city skyline. Make no error: even in fluorescent lights, the Japanese British pop star performs with the exact same tenacity and drama you listen to in her 2020 debut album, SAWAYAMA, a lustrous pop epic peppered with early aughts R&B, nu-metallic and vintage rock.

Not able to tour due to the fact of the pandemic, the artist has been keeping onto these tracks for the past calendar year. Sawayama’s Little Desk (dwelling) concert successfully reminds us — in just a few tracks — of her variety and versatility as equally artist and performer. Tears calcify in “Dynasty,” a music like a salve to wounds inherited from generations previous. The heaviness of the music never ever overshadows her voice, which ascends heroically. “Will not you break the chain with me?” she belts out.

As if turning the other cheek, Sawayama swiftly moves into the sweet, cha-ching pop of “XS,” and later on the soft-hearted ballad “Chosen Relatives,” rendered in the design of her 2021 collaboration with Elton John. The music was reborn, in part, mainly because of John’s admiration for Sawayama and her capability to cross-pollinate genres, but also mainly because the two held “Decided on Relatives,” both equally the track and principle, dearly. Humorous sufficient, the song’s thesis — “I selected you / You chose me” — reflects their meeting, way too.

Set Checklist

  • “Dynasty”
  • “XS”
  • “Selected Family members”


  • Rina Sawayama: vocals
  • Vic Jamieson: guitar
  • Simone Odaranile: drums
  • Geordan Reid-Campbell: keys
  • Phebe Edwards: vocals
  • Desrinea Ramus: vocals
  • Braimah Kanneh-Mason: violin
  • Ayla Sahin: violin
  • Didier Osindero: viola
  • Jonah Spindel: cello


  • Movie: Chester Lockhart, Thomas Davis
  • Audio: Jon Gilmore, Ted Jensen

Tiny DESK Crew

  • Producers: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Maia Stern
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Affiliate Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Tiny Generation Crew: Kara Body, Bob Boilen
  • Government Producer: Lauren Onkey
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann