Meet Z The Author, an extraordinary artist from the 2021 Tiny Desk competition

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The 2021 Tiny Desk contest ended last month with the announcement of this winner of the year, Neffy, and her song “Wait Up”. But the contest jury saw thousands of incredible entries from across the country, and Weekend edition highlighted some of them.

One of those standout entry videos came from Zavier Thompson aka Z The Author, a rapper from Albuquerque, NM. He entered the 2021 contest with his song “Khali’s Interlude” and was featured in the first episode of our Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf series.

“Khali’s Interlude” is a powerful track that reflects racial injustice. Thompson says it was written almost overnight amid the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020.

“I originally wrote the song in my dorm in the middle of the night,” he says, “trying to find some sort of enclosure for myself in what was going on in the world – and honestly , in my neighborhood, in my Hang out and see people protesting – my family and friends and the people I grew up with, seeing them outraged and seeing them so passionate about someone who looked like me … I have thought about it for so long. the best way for me to face what i saw, and process what i saw, was to write a song about it. ”

Thompson is also inspired by the diversity of sounds and styles coming from artists in his local Albuquerque scene – including his fellow musician Khalisol, whose song is named after – and the friends who encouraged him to enter the Tiny contest. Desk this year. He says that since submitting his application on the very last day of submission, he has received encouraging comments from people around the world.

“Honestly, I just plan to get as far as I can with this music,” he says, “[to] continue to inspire the next generation and continue to say what I have on my mind and make my family and community happy. ”

Listen to Scott Simon’s interview with Z The Author in the audio player above, and watch his entry into the Tiny Desk 2021 contest below.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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