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Samia: Tiny Desk Concert

There's plenty of curious timing in Samia's Tiny Desk debut. For starters, this was the final Tiny Desk concert produced by Bob Boilen — he came in for one last Monday to accommodate the performance — which meant the singer-songwriter had to endure the reluctant tributes paid to Bob as she waited patiently to perform. Then there's the timing of Samia's song selection: All five of these tracks appeared on her terrific debut album (2020's The Baby) and not this year's equally magnificent Honey. Which is saying nothing of the fact that Samia is actress Kathy Najimy's daughter, yet we opted to run this performance a full week after the conclusion of Hocus Pocus Season! What were we thinking?

Fortunately, Samia's set nevertheless provides a stunning showcase for her charisma, vocal talent and deftly detailed lyricism. She possesses a remarkable knack for specificity in her songwriting, which finds her name-dropping her favorite bands, recounting conversations in devastating detail and even shining a light on songwriting itself. ("I only write songs about things that I'm scared of," she sings in "Is There Something in the Movies?" before adding, "So here, now you're deathless in art.")

Taking advantage of the Tiny Desk's quietude, Samia and her band chose to focus on the more subdued side of their sound, even deploying the sample of her grandmother that opens "Pool." As a result, it's easier and more rewarding than ever to hang on her every word.


  • "Is There Something in the Movies?"
  • "Big Wheel"
  • "Winnebago" 
  • "Triptych"
  • "Pool"


  • Samia: vocals
  • Sam Calvo Rosenstone: keyboards
  • Boone Wallace: guitar
  • Ned Steves: bass
  • Noah Rauchwerk (Wormy): drums
  • Alycia Lang: background vocals


  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant 
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Maia Stern
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter 
  • Audio Assistant: Hannah Gluvna
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Michael Zamora
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Hazel Cills
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)