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The Philharmonik: Tiny Desk Concert

NPR

While each Tiny Desk concert is special in its own way, we only publish one annually from a Tiny Desk Contest winner. This year, that winner is The Philharmonik — an up-and-coming multi-genre artist from Sacramento, Calif. — whose entry rose to the top of nearly 7,000 entries submitted by independent artists.

In that entry, singer Christian Gates and his band proved they knew how to make a song shine behind a desk, performing in an office setting in business casual attire. They keep up the act at the Tiny Desk, with Gates cosplaying as the team’s boss; he showcases his expressive stage presence and expansive musical range all while sitting in a swiveling office chair.

The group kicks off its celebratory set with its winning song, “What’s It All Mean?” Then, Gates shifts to the upright piano to perform “Drugs,” a theatrical song he says “is for all of those who have thought about doing alternative things because the paycheck was not enough.” He returns to the keyboard for “Chasing…” before flexing his rap abilities on “Colors.” The Philharmonik closes with the catchy “Pay Me,” a song I’m sure plenty of disgruntled workers will want to sing to their bosses after watching this concert.

Although Gates' life has changed overnight since winning the Contest, he stays humble throughout his set, continually crediting his team’s hard work. “This office is a group effort, and this is just another day at the office,” he says.

SET LIST

  • “What’s It All Mean?”
  • “Drugs”
  • “Chasing…”
  • “Colors”
  • “Pay Me”

MUSICIANS

  • Christian Gates: keys, lead vocals
  • Courtney Miller: drums
  • Connor Chavez: electric guitar, vocals
  • Jimmy Toor: flute
  • Sam Phelps: bass
  • Moriah Wenzel: vocals
  • Alicia Huff: vocals
  • Darius Upshaw: electric guitar
  • Jeffery Archie: keys, synth

TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producers: Elle Mannion, Bobby Carter
  • Director/Editor: Kara Frame
  • Audio Technical Director: Neil Tevault
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Alanté Serene
  • Audio Engineer: Carleigh Strange
  • Photographer: Michael Zamora
  • Tiny Desk Team: Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer 
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins