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Tiny Desk, Big Competition: Pellerin and Stancioff take the stage

Tiny Desk Concerts - Video
Written by Elle Lucas '16

Photo Credit: NPR

Thousands of musicians across the country are picking, synthesizing, and humming their hearts out for the chance to perform behind a tiny desk in Washington, D.C. Among the competitors in this year’s Tiny Desk Concert contest hosted by NPR Music are two talented SLUzers, Will Pellerin ’15 and Louisa Stancioff ’16.

The second-ever contest is hunting for artists and musicians to join the ranks of the NPR’s best. The online series currently has over 500 videos.

“The contest was on my radar from last year,” said Will Pellerin ‘15, whose post-graduation path has led him to Nashville, TN where he has decided to pursue his career as singer/songwriter. “My mom told me to chase my dreams,” he said, “so I did.”

The 23-year-old recorded a new original for the competition titled “Winter Song” filmed, notably, in front of a tiny desk. The video is simplistic in nature – it’s just him, his guitar, and an open notebook – but it is captivating all the same with lyrics about his hometown in Plattsburgh, New York. “It got a lot of attention from my friends and family at home,” he said, also noting that his entry was even written about in the local newspapers.

Feedback on his submission has been overwhelmingly positive and Pellerin has even received support from other competitors in the comments section of the YouTube video. “I just got lucky. It’s all about aesthetics and how you time it, and right now I’m really learning about how to market yourself as an artist,” said Pellerin who is working on releasing an EP this spring.

While Pellerin has taken the solo route in his career, senior Louisa Stancioff with her band Dyado has also submitted an entry to the Tiny Desk Concert contest. Stancioff, who is a psychology and music double major, has been playing music at SLU since day one.

“I spend a lot of time – maybe too much sometimes – playing music both casually and for school performances,” said Stancioff, who is the director of the co-ed acapella Upbeats, a lead vocalist and ukulele player for the on-campus folk band American String Circus, a member of the Rhythm & Roots Ensemble, and a jazz singer in a cover band at the Arts Annex.

Along with her charming voice, the multi-instrumentalist plucks a banjo in her most recent musical pursuit, Dyado. The band consists of Stancioff, her cousin Matt Lohan on fiddle and high school friend Emily Ramsey on guitar. Stancioff and Lohan only met two years ago but soon learned they were kindred spirits. “Matt and I realized we both love playing music, so this past summer we lived in Camden, Maine and started writing songs together and making a record,” said Stancioff. Dyado was featured this fall on a local ABC News station in Maine.

On entering the contest, Stancioff said that “the best part about sending in the video was all the amazing love I got from all my friends! People are wonderful.”

“I think Louisa’s video is so amazing,” said Pellerin of his friend and competitor. “That song (“Away”) is beautiful, the band is beautiful, it’s rad and I’m a huge fan of Louisa.” Stancioff echoed his sentiments, calling his submission “so lovely and emotional and wondrous.”

The deadline for entries to the contest has passed, but the winner will be announced March 1. In the meantime, Pellerin will be playing Friday night at the Nashville Writer’s Night at Pub 56 with fellow SLU alumni Blaine Holcomb ’14 and Mike Godwin ’15.

Indulge this weekend and check out both Will Pellerin and Dyado online for tasty tunes.

About the author

Elle Lucas '16