Calling all dog lovers of the world! While our judges are studiously watching entries for important things like creativity, musical ability and content, we're asking the hard-hitting questions: Did these artists give their pooches time to shine?
If you're like me — and many of the members of the NPR Music team — your all-consuming love for dogs might rival your passion for music. Some artists who entered the Contest mixed both of these joys together, and the results were magnificent.
After scouring entry videos for cute canines (it's a tough job, but someone has to do it), we'd like to present six of our favorite dogs from this year's Contest. Now it's your turn: Which pupper is your favorite? Check them out in the entries below, and head over to the Tiny Desk Contest site to vote for the best boy of them all.
Zmoos & Salous, "Closure"
This DC-based duo with NPR-worthy radio names (here's looking at you, Corinne Zmoos and Sam Salous) gave us the inside scoop about the song in its entry video — and its fluffy mastermind.
"Cooper is a 5-month-old Cavapoo and he was the brains of the whole operation," the band writes. "He wrote the song, directed the video and even typed in the submission. The harmonies in the chorus? All auto-tuned barks.
I know it may seem like a tall tail — feel free to paws and reflect as much as you need. Cooper wishes he could send you this email himself, but he's very busy trying to eat my socks and barking at nothing."
Lo Pony, "Tiny Smoke"
Lo Pony's Contest entry features a pupper named Olivia who stands guard over the recording device for a bit before quietly snoozing on the couch. Musician Kale Chesney serenades her with a bit of banjo-driven folk and tells NPR: "She is an (almost) 8 year old basset hound who has a baritone howl and an affinity for shortcake. She my partner Kt's dog, and her full name is Olivia Benson-Corlett."
Jeanie Carlin, "Works of Art"
This entry features a sweet pup named Glory who majestically perches on songwriter Jeanie Carlin's guitar and takes in the Wisconsin air as Carlin sings an acoustic ballad. Here's what Carlin had to tell us about Glory:
"She is such a blessing! I sing for seniors and she sits on my guitar the whole hour that I entertain and lets folks pet her ... She even does a little dance for them at the end ... I used to tie a scarf on my shoulder and carry her next to the guitar. And then I thought, 'Well why not just put her on top of the guitar' and she is quite comfortable there!"
Crys Matthews, "By My Side"
Truly, dogs bring out the best of us. Songwriter Crys Matthews dedicated this song to her faithful pup, singing "If I could be half the person my dog is / Then I would be twice the human I am."
"Juice has been with me since she was eight weeks old," Matthews tells NPR. "That was over ten years ago. She's been by my side for the highs and lows, steadfastly reminding me how to love with every fiber of my being ... I wrote the song as a giant 'thank you' to Juice for the incredible friend she has been to me over the years, but I hope everyone who has ever loved an animal can relate to it."
(I'm not crying, you're crying.)
MDRN HSTRY, "San Jose"
These Bay Area boys sure do love their well-behaved furry friend. Rumor has it Bella prefers old-school hip-hop to the jangly guitar rock MDRN HSTRY makes, so maybe she's just here for pets. Here's what the band told us:
"'Bella' is short for Bellandranog-non Faltrooth Hemmingpurse. She's an 11 year old purebred Barking Mop, band mascot and sonic inspiration ...
1. She enjoys eating and yawning while in between naps under the organ bench.
2. She waits for the 'walk' signal at crosswalks.
3. She has a higher attendance level than most band members."
Chris Diller, "Wyoming Skye"
How age-old is the imagery of a man and his dog enjoying the great outdoors? Chris Diller and his dog, Skye, might have been stuck in the city when recording this entry video, but Diller's song explores the awe-inspiring power of nature. We think Skye would make a perfect companion for an adventure into the wild.
"Skye is a good boy and the most loyal roadie this side of the Mississippi," Diller tells NPR. "Like a blond Toto, he's an 18 pound Cairn Terrier who loves to play fetch ... He usually hits the stage with me during outdoor beach shows or helps me load in at local music venues ... Friends and followers are usually upset if I leave him home. If a crowd demands an encore, Skye performs his round of tricks as a closer. He's a show stopper!"