Dessa is a rapper, songwriter, essayist, and a proud member of the Minneapolis Doomtree collective. The Utne Reader calls her, “A one-woman powerhouse…with a literary sensibility and an aversion to genre clichés.” Her most recent album, Parts of Speech, debuted at #76 on the Billboard charts.
Dessa has performed at nightclubs, theaters, and festivals across North America including Lollapalooza, the Montreal Jazz Fest, and annual appearances at South by Southwest. On stage she’s wry, ferocious, and earnest in turn; her performative charisma has earned praise from critics throughout the US and in Europe. As a speaker, she’s lectured at colleges and universities throughout the Midwest, including a keynote presentation for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.
As a lyricist, Dessa relies on a dark, fertile imagination and a writerly technique. Her striking images and miniature narratives have evoked comparisons to Tom Waits, Fiona Apple, and Mos Def. Dessa partnered with composer Jocelyn Hagen to co-write her first classical composition, “Controlled Burn.” She has also worked with musician Andy Thompson and VocalEssence to debut her first choral project, “The Good Fight.”
Dessa is represented by the Frances Goldin agency as a writer and by United Talent Agency as a performing musician.
1: (Easy) No divisi in voice parts, accompaniment doubles or supports vocal parts, diatonic, symmetrical phrases, textures mostly homophonic, simple rhythms, stepwise voice leading (conjunct), moderate ranges, no extended techniques, and limited sustained singing.
2: (Medium Easy) Limited divisi, voices somewhat independent from accompaniment, some chromatics, phrases may be longer or more fragmented, mostly homophonic, moderate rhythmic complexity, some difficult intervals (disjunct motion), moderate ranges, extended techniques are simple, limited sustained singing.
3. (Medium) Limited divisi, unaccompanied, or with independent accompaniment (voice parts not doubled), many chromatics, phrases of varying lengths, more contrapuntal textures, moderately complex rhythms, some difficult intervals (disjunct motion), moderately difficult/challenging ranges, extended techniques are potentially challenging, and some sustained singing.
4. (Medium Difficult) Abundant divisi, unaccompanied, or accompanying instruments are fully independent from voice parts, many chromatics and/or key changes, long and/or broken phrases, potentially little homophony, complex rhythms, many difficult intervals (disjunct motion), difficult/challenging ranges, potentially difficult extended techniques, and a demand for sustained singing.
5. (Difficult) Adundant divis, unaccompanied, or accompanying instruments are fully independent from voice parts, many chromatics and/or key changes, long and/or broken phrases, potentially little homophony, complex rhythms, extreme ranges, use of challenging or unusual extended vocal techniques, abundant sustained singing.