"Be excellent," stated DESSA, born Margaret Wander, unapologetically on the most recent Fear No ART presents the Dinner Party. "A lot of people are worried about getting their demos straight, before they get their chords down." For musicians or fans of her work, it was an interesting evening listening to her discuss what it takes to be a successful musician.
In response to a question on giving advice to other musicians, she said:
I am probably not going to win any awards for being a vocalist, but I am cheap as hell when I work for me. Every hour that you don't have to trade earning your rent, is another hour that you can spend mastering your craft.
DESSA is an interesting and diverse character. She graduated early from college with honors and a philosophy degree. In addition to rapping music and being a member (CEO no less) of Doomtree, the Minneapolis hip-hop collective of rising stars, she is also an essayist and poet. She continues to write for journals and told me briefly, nonchalantly minutes before we were heading out on stage, that she also produces her own video blog, interviewing small farms across the Midwest. Oh yeah, just one more thing.
DESSA is not just well-educated. She is well-thought out. The Dinner Party's mix of conversation and performance is her perfect format. Anything from women's issues, social issues, pop culture and our food supply is of interest to her. And anything that interests her, she approaches with steadfast determination to study, understand and incorporate into her wit and consciousness.
To listen to more of the conversation between DESSA, film critic Richard Roeper, Michelin Star Chef Jean Joho, Tributosaurus front man and Berwyn Wire club owner Chris Neville and myself, click here. To listen to her acoustic performance, accompanied by Matthew Santos, of "Call Off Your Ghost" from here recent CD Parts of Speech, click the video below.