When Fred originally proposed a Little Desk performance, it wasn't apparent how he'd pull it off — not because he lacked inventiveness, but because interpreting completely electronic music at the Desk is a tough undertaking for anyone. How would an artist who performs in the style of DJ sets in front of large crowds create an intimate and one-of-a-kind experience? Yet what the British singer and producer created is a reminder of what a Tiny Desk is at its best: a chance for artists to challenge themselves in such a manner that it nearly seems like they're generating new music, all while being true to themselves. That required relearning the marimba, playing the vibraphone, singing at the keyboard, and looping sounds and beats all at the same time for Fred. He kicked off his show with "Kyle (I Found You)," replicating the song's tune on the marimba while video of featured poet Kyle "Guante" Tran Myhre reciting the poem "Love In The Time of Undeath" played on-screen. Sitting at the keyboard, he faded the fragments of "Kyle I found you)" into "Roze (forgive)," which featured Fred once again, triggering vocals taken from the singer I am Roze, whose dramatic facial emotions were amplified on a screen. In an unexpected turn, the lead vocals on the next track, "Me (heavy)," came from Fred himself, with no modification, generating a sensitive sense of intimacy in the setting. The shift to "Delilah (help me out of this)" was punctuated by a flurry of repeated piano keys, with guest vocals taken from pop singer Delilah Montagu's 2021 hit "Lost Keys." At the end of his concert, which ended with "Faisal (envelops me)," Fred was back at the piano, finally relaxing after gliding flawlessly through a jam-packed Little Desk.
"Kyle (i found you)"
"Delilah (pull me out of this)"
"Faisal (envelops me)"
Via NPR Music
When Fred again offered a Little Desk performance, it wasn't immediately evident how he would make it work—not because he lacked inventiveness, but because interpreting completely electronic music at the Desk is difficult for anyone. How can a DJ who plays to huge crowds provide an intimate and distinct experience?