Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tiny Desk Premiere: Kiefer

For Tiny Desk concerts without a lead vocalist, I usually try to detect musicians' nonverbal conversations with each other as they perform. For Kiefer's set, there's a bonus show within the show. He plays with a sense of joy that I haven't seen in a while and when his eyes connect with a fellow player, it's as if he's thanking them each time. With decades clocked behind the piano and a strong catalog, Kiefer Shackelford is primed for the moment.

The Los Angeles pianist and producer's early instrumental projects were heavily hip-hop-based, playing the keys over drum loops and samples. His 2021 project, When There's Love Around, leaped into full-on jazz, but his latest, It's Ok, B U, finds that sweet middle ground. Between albums, he's made a name for himself in the independent scene and among the majors, booking work with Drake, Anderson .Paak and SiR. For his Tiny Desk, Kiefer brought two ensembles to highlight the best of his work. The Kiefer Trio, comprised of drummer Luke Titus and bassist Pera Krstajic, played a medley of "Why Not?" and "Cute." For "Superhero" and "Socially Awkward," Kiefer then invited Nate Smith, Carrtoons, Theo Croker and guitarist Charlie Hunter, who, shockingly, is the only musician in this combo who hasn't played at the Desk.


  • "Why Not?"
  • "Cute"
  • "Superhero"
  • "Socially Awkward"


  • Kiefer: Rhodes piano, synth
  • Luke Titus: drums
  • Pera Krstajic: bass
  • Nate Smith: drums
  • Carrtoons: bass
  • Charlie Hunter: guitar
  • Theo Croker: trumpet


  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Director/Editor: Kara Frame
  • Audio Technical Director: Kwesi Lee
  • Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Christina Shaman
  • Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
  • Production Assistant: Elle Mannion
  • Photographer: Elizabeth Gillis
  • Tiny Desk Team: Ashley Pointer, 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.