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AP looks at the cultural phenom that is NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts

An audience watches while Becky G performs during a taping for NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Washington. AP PHOTO / STEPHANIE SCARBROUGH

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GARY GERARD HAMILTON

Entertainment Producer Gary Hamilton took an interview with rapper Juvenile and transformed it into an immersive look at the cultural importance of NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series. He secured a behind-the-scenes shoot of a concert and interviewed the creator and producers — who don’t often speak about the series — as well as artists who say it’s been an important step in their careers. Hamilton researched hundreds of concerts to identify performers across all spectrums of diversity (including gender, level of fame and disability) to target his interviews. Working with Entertainment editor Mona Lisa Malone, Hamilton crafted a story that told not only the origins of the series (giving an artist who couldn’t be heard at a performance a platform) but also its impact on artists and the specific criteria they must meet to be selected (no amplification equipment, and all the musicians must fit behind an NPR desk space.) Hamilton has long been invested in multiformat storytelling, so he went well beyond the words to craft the story. He enlisted artist Peter Hamlin to do a custom graphic for the story and engaged Dario Lopez to help to give it an immersive presentation on APNews. 

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