Rapper, singer, essayist, and monologist Dessa has spent years forging her own path in the music world. Her upcoming album, ‘Chime’ (out February 23rd on Doomtree Records), is the product of Dessa’s unusual trajectory. Her skill with swirling harmonies is evidence of a childhood listening to her father play classical guitar; her literary lyrics are the work of a published writer; her ferocity as a rapper was forged on stage with Doomtree (the explosive Minneapolis hip-hop collective); and her clever references reveal her academic history. ‘Chime’ showcases Dessa at her finest–she’s fierce and tender, deft, and passionately curious.
NPR recently named ‘Chime’ as one of their “hotly anticipated albums” for 2018. For her third full-length album, Dessa teamed up with GRAMMY-nominated composer/arranger Andy Thompson and Doomtree CEO/producer Lazerbeak to bring the project to life. In the opening song, “Ride,” they create a slinking, rap-noir narrative; while “Velodrome” questions just how free our free will really is. “Good Grief,” the previously released single from ‘Chime’, matches epic pop production with soaring, catchy choruses to explore the idea of curative pain. On the second half of the album, Dessa ventures into new terrain with a bass-driven, infectious “Half of You” and the playful, soulful “Jumprope,”–a song inspired by the neighborhood kids down the block. The album is available for preorder here: http://smarturl.it/DessaChime
The production for the second single, “Fire Drills,” was created using a snippet of an iPhone field recording Dessa made while in Turkey; the track’s razor-sharp lyrics provide insightful commentary on our tendency to insist that girls and women remain vigilant against the dangers of the world–instead of encouraging them to bravely forge a place in it.
2017 was a busy year for Dessa; in addition to writing, recording and touring, she made her orchestral debut with two sold-out evenings with the GRAMMY-winning Minnesota Orchestra. While on stage, in addition to performing a series of reimagined heartbreak songs she’d written about a long, difficult relationship, she unveiled her most ambitious collaboration to date: she’d enlisted a neurofeedback clinician named Penijean Gracefire and a team of neuroscientists from the University of Minnesota to try to create a protocol for falling out of love. The case study they designed, in which Dessa attempted to change her emotions by modifying her brainwaves, inspired a few of the songs on ‘Chime’–making for raw, honest songwriting that’s elevated by an unusual perspective on love, loss, and connection.