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SWV: Tiny Desk Concert

This Black Music Month, Tiny Desk is giving the ladies their flowers. We’re releasing nine Tiny Desk concerts from Black women artists, from veterans who’ve paved the way for what we hear today in Black music, to those who are carving out their own paths.

We conclude 2024’s Black Music Month celebration at the Tiny Desk with the catalyst for the all-female lineup, SWV. Year after year, I’ve begged who I consider the greatest girl group ever to come play the Desk. Like the other Black women we’ve hosted this month, SWV has yet to receive the proper acknowledgment for its influence over the past three decades. There was a moment, similar to the sing-along portion of Chaka Khan’s show, when Coko, Taj and Lelee were taken aback while the audience kept the party going after the band stopped playing “I’m So Into You.”

Sisters With Voices originated in the church before the group started recording R&B music. It broke through in the 1990s, a decade that was the pinnacle of girl groups. In a landscape including En Vogue, TLC, Xscape and dozens more, SWV remained in front of the pack, topping the charts, amassing gold and platinum plaques and breaking new ground in music, style and sexual liberation. Before playing “You’re The One,” Lelee introduced the song, reminding us that they “kinda took a beating for the team because our music was a little risqué.”

As a new appreciation for ’90s R&B has emerged over the past several years, SWV has reigned supreme. Watching the audience sway and sing to songs like “Weak” and “Rain,” I’m reminded of the lasting quality of SWV that continues to connect us.

SET LIST

  • “I'm So Into You”
  • “Right Here (Human Nature Radio Mix)”
  • “You're the One”
  • “You're Always On My Mind”
  • “Rain”
  • “Weak”
  • “Anything (Old Skool Radio Version)”


MUSICIANS

  • Coko: vocals
  • Taj: vocals
  • Lelee: vocals
  • E. Will: keys, musical direction
  • Shago Elizondo: guitar
  • CJ Mercer: bass
  • Toussaint Lipton II: drums
  • Curtis Jones Jr.: trombone
  • Theljion Allen: trumpet
  • Brent Birckhead: saxophone
  • Anisa Stoot: vocals
  • Donisha Berryman: vocals
  • Jayye Michael: vocals
  • DaNell Daymon: vocals


TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Technical Director: Josephine Nyounai
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Kara Frame, Alanté Serene
  • Audio Engineer: Valentina Rodriguez Sanchez
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Estefania Mitre
  • Animation: Jackie Lay
  • Florist: Kelanda Edwards
  • Tiny Desk Copy Editor: Hazel Cills
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

Copyright 2024 NPR

Bobby Carter
Bobby Carter is a leader on the Tiny Desk Concerts team for NPR Music. He's brought an ever growing roster of big names and emerging artists through NPR's HQ to squeeze behind the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and record standout performances, including Usher, Mac Miller, Noname, Anderson.Paak and H.E.R.