( ENSPIRE Music ) Breakout Black Harpist Brandee Younger Returns to NPR Tiny Desk Concert Series
ENSPIRE Contributor: Cailin Tennis
Brandee Younger’s recent performance on NPR captivated and inspired audiences. The Grammy-nominated and celebrated harpist Brandee Younger made her return to the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series the last week of June. The 20-minute set highlights Brandee on an ornate harp alongside Rashaan Carter on bass, Allan Mednard on drums, and Tatiana Mayfield on vocals. Her performance closed out Tiny Desk’s Black Music Month Celebration.
Brandee was featured this week after other notable artists including Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Charlie Wilson, and Juvenile. These artists represent the past, present, and future of Black music. During her set, Younger remarked: “When you think of harps and harpists, you don’t necessarily think of ‘Black’. And so to be a part of that conversation as a harpist, it’s a big deal.”
Brandee Younger has broken new ground for harpists over the entirety of her career and made history. She is the first Black female solo artist to be GRAMMY®-nominated for Best Instrumental Composition. This honor was recognizing her song “Beautiful is Black” from her genre-busting 2021 major-label debut album ‘Somewhere Different.’ In the past, Brandee has worked with the likes of Beyonce, John Legend, Drake & Lauryn Hill.
Her recently released album ‘Brand New Life’ (Verve Records, impulse!) honors the legendary Black harpist Dorothy Ashby. It also features icons of hip-hop and R&B, such as Pete Rock, Mumu Fresh & Meshell Ndegeocello. Each guest artist contributes dreamy vocals and urban distinctive sound to Younger’s imaginative compositions. Brandee’s album has been so popular that it has brought her to over 147,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Brandee’s aural poetry has resonated with rising artists and Black youth. She acts as a role model and changemaker for her community, as she stands proudly performing her craft. ENSPIRE is excited to promote her music and advocacy, and can’t wait to see the further greatness she will achieve. To learn more about her, watch her recent feature on Good Morning America, and listen to her album ‘Brand New Life.’ Check out the Tiny Desk Session below!