If the powers that be had their way, Yebba would have released her debut Dawn last year after its completion (the set has been completed since before the pandemic began). Thankfully, the album was held back in order to help protect the singer's mental health — and who didn't need a mental health break in 2020. The set is due to be released this week, however, and Yebba is in promotion mode. That includes her appearing on NPR Music's famed Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts series — her debut as a solo artist on the program — to perform a selection of songs from the album.
She starts the set with "Stand," a previously unheard track that asks that love be proven by standing by her side through ups and downs. As with everything we've heard from the singer, the song is thoughtful throughout, showcasing not only her voice but ear for details like vocal arrangements. She then leads into her 2020 single "Distance," another lovely ballad which she performs pretty faithfully to the studio version, though she gives it a few distinctions to make the performance special. After that, she brings us two other previously unheard tracks from the album, "All I Ever Wanted" and "How Many Years." The former, a slightly folk-y lament on a star-crossed love that sees her and her lover only meeting for certain nights before returning to other obligations. The latter is a highly emotional exploration of grief that she performs only with the accompaniment of keys and bass, touching on the tragic loss of her mother five years ago.
We already knew that we were in for a journey with the arrival of Dawn, but Yebba's Tiny Desk performance lets us know just how beautifully textured that journey will be.