Durand Bernarr’s performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk sent Twitter into a frenzy, both for his vocals and his costume of choice.
Looking like Uncle Bobby from the Proud Family, Bernarr’s high-pitched, soulful performance surprised the Internet, but some listeners were waiting for the singer to make a big splash.
Bernarr’s backup, all of whom were men, for the performance, which included his hits “Leveled,” “Chops,” “Company,” “Sam’s Vibe,” “Mango Butter,” “Relocate,” “Freefall,” “Stuck” and “Melody,” were dressed as Proud Family characters– Penny Proud, LaCienega Boulevardez, Zoey, and Felix.
The March 31 Tiny Desk performance was a huge success. The intimate concert has garnered more than 270,000 views. The successful NPR video either matches or exceeds other recent Tiny Desk performances that have been released a few days or weeks in advance.
Durand Bernarr’s Tiny Desk performance is a 10/10 🔥pic.twitter.com/9KjsaqCX2v
— R&B (@rnbmusictweets) March 31, 2023
Existing fans enjoyed the semi-live performance, and the general public, seeing him for the first time, witnessed the meme created in response.
The neo-soul artist rose to prominence as a backup singer for neo-soul artist Erykah Badu and has collaborated with artists such as Anderson. Paak, Kaytranada and The Internet.
Before singing with Badu, he was a YouTube personality in early 2010, singing covers of popular songs. This is common as stars like Chloe x Halle, Tori Kelly, and even Justin Beiber have credited their YouTube cover songs to their breakthrough in the music business.
Bernarr’s renditions of Badu’s popular songs caught the Houston singer’s attention. Someone from her team contacted him and gave the. talented crooner the opportunity to sing backup.
Some may have been introduced to the queer Cleveland singer as a contestant on BET’s 2019 reality music competition, The Next Big Thing, where he was the runner-up.
Bernarr also made a musical guest appearance on The Terrell Show, which has more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube. Bernarr performed “I Like It,” originally by DeBarge, and as of this writing, it has garnered more than half a million views.