ARLINGTON, Va. — An Arlington, Va. singer-songwriter is the winner of this year's Tiny Desk Contest by National Public Radio (NPR).
Mecca Russell, who goes by the stage name Neffy, beat out thousands of entries for this year's contest with her original song "Wait Up." The soulful folk tune was inspired by coming home to Virginia during the pandemic after spending time in New York.
"Neffy's song stood out amongst the thousands of 2021 Tiny Desk Contest entries as a universal cry to break free of constraints and celebrate nature's beauty," Tiny Desk creator Bob Boilen said in a statement. "With an acoustic guitar and that uplifting voice, Neffy wowed our judges."
Those judges included Grammy-nominated indie rock Phoebe Bridgers, rapper Tobe Nwigwe, other radio personalities and last year's Tiny Desk Contest winner Linda Diaz.
“My favorite music is the kind that can stun me into silence in its most basic form. Neffy completely took this challenge in stride and I was hooked within two seconds,” Bridgers said.
This isn't the first time Neffy has entered the Tiny Desk Contest. She also submitted entries in 2020 and 2018. In 2020, she received the Emergent Seed grant in Washington, D.C. for her song "Hanging On Too Long" and she self-released an EP called I Don't Miss You.
She's played hundreds of live shows in Washington, D.C., New York and along the east coast. She said the hard work paid off with this win.
"I would be lying if I said I hadn't dreamt about something like this," Neffy said. "Now that the time has come it doesn't feel real. But it also feels like all of the decisions I made and the work I put into taking myself seriously as an artist, led up to this moment."
"Wait Up" is available for purchase via Bandcamp.
You can watch Neffy's Tiny Desk concert performance below:
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