Dessa remains busy even as pandemic changes approach to work


Sitting atop a building in southern Minneapolis, Dessa admits the start of the pandemic has been difficult.

“You know, curled up under the blanket trying to figure out what our new life would be like,” she said.

For performers accustomed to rehearsals, tour vans, and live concerts, pandemic life didn’t look like much. But after a while, Dessa started looking for alternatives.

“I felt ready to release new music, and I thought that because we’re in this new environment, where touring isn’t possible, there really was no reason to join the touring cycle of” time before, “” she said. “You know where you’re working on a bunch of songs, you put them out there and then you walk around promoting.”

“So I decided to do just one series instead.”

She named it the series “Ides” because she releases a song on the 15th of each month. This one called “Terry Gross” was released in April.

“Since I was a small predator
Mom is like, don’t get ahead of her
I was looking for something better than the regular
And I knew there was candy at the checkout
So not about to settle for vegetables.
Full of growth, I still have a sweet tooth
always try to climb every wall i can see you
take your wichoo influences,
everywhere you go.
Mine were Carmen Sandiego
Lauryn Hill and Terry Gross. “

She says that as she wrote she began to recognize that during the pandemic, isolated listeners who bounced off playlists on their devices would approach music differently and have different needs. Like shortened song intros.

Instead of producing a bunch of songs that could become a touring base album, Dessa created the “Ides” series, where she releases a single on the 15th of each month. Part of that was giving fans something to look forward to – but also keeping her focused on making new music.

Courtesy of Dessa

“You get to the meat of music right away because you can’t afford to mess around – for fear of being skipped,” she said. “So like looking at how the format informs the content itself.”

Dessa is known for her hard-hitting, spitfire lyrics, and she develops them by hitting the pavement, sometimes for hours on end.

“Yeah, I put a lot of miles on those boots, coming out with those lyrics,” she said.

Every now and then she takes inspiration from something she’s been walking on, but a lot of it is playing with words, cadence, and an idea or challenge. For years she had wondered about writing a song that was entirely without verbs.

Like a movie where you only see pictures, she said to herself. “So maybe there is like a lit cigarette in an ashtray. You know what I mean? And then the ice cream melts in a glass and you are creating this kind of world and story without see the action firsthand? I like it. ”

The result of these particular thoughts is the song “Talking Business” by May “Ides”.

Fake name
Number on a napkin
Please check
Room key
No more coke for the captain
Lipstick on the filter
Disconnection on the door
Seven hours before the nightly turndown service
On the second floor”

Dessa says the songs “Ides” might appear as an album at some point, but she has other projects going on as well.

She jumped at the chance to do a science podcast for the BBC World Service. The first season of “Deeply Human” ends. She says it allowed her to delve into questions such as: Why do we experience déjà vu? And why do we think it is necessary to tell everyone about it?

A woman poses for a photo.

Writer, performer and podcaster Dessa wraps up the first season of ‘Deeply Human’, a science podcast for the BBC World Service and APM.

Courtesy of Dessa | Photo by Jessy Gonzalez

“How do small children learn to lie and why do many psychologists consider this to be a really important stage in their development?” is another theme, she says.

And then there’s the show about menopause and society’s misunderstanding.

“It’s a really big deal for a lot of people, and we’ve just got a few silly hot flash sitcom jokes. It’s not enough,” she said. “And also, dang, how come I don’t know what I’m for? It wasn’t healthy [class] that I remember. “

In addition to podcasting, Dessa has made a foray into the world of radio drama (watch for an announcement on this) and also got some news accepted for publication.

From now on, Dessa wonders about the return to normal. She acknowledges the company’s enthusiasm about removing COVID-19 restrictions, but after a year of pandemic conditioning. she also sees an almost Pavlovian fear. Maybe it’s a podcast for the second series.

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