Dessy Di Lauro has always been a little bit different from such a young age. From the age of 4 she was borrowing her parents Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder and Luther Vandross records so she could sing along to them. But her diversity led to the most difficult times in her life and she turned to music as a way to cope with adversity. Now she has produced a hip and diverse sound she calls Neo-Ragtime, and this new sound is definitely turning some heads. We chat to Dessy Di Lauro about her influences, life and the process of creating her sound.
What is Dessy Di Lauro about?
Great question, as far as the person/ woman I am…..I am a woman that strongly believes in integrity, standing up for what I believe in, pushing the envelope, not afraid to take chances and to be different. Also loving, very passionate, honest, blatant, loyal and confidant. These are all characteristics I use in my music as well. I am doing something quite different musically. I love what I do and I can’t wait for my U.K Dukes and Duchesses to discover what I do.
Your sound is often described as Feathered Frohawk Futuristic Art Deco Centric Harlem Renaissance Hep Music. Can you break this down for us?
As a child, my mom and dad would play really old Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington music from the 1920’s and 30’s. I later emersed myself in the history of the Harlem Renaissance movement and fell in love with everything about this era. The musical movement was incredibly inspiring and innovative. Musicians/ artists were fearless when it came to the music they were playing. Cab was the ultimate. His scat was phresh. His movement was unique and his lyrics were bold. Same with Duke and Fats…..they weren’t afraid to take chances musically and with what they were expressing. I wanted to do the same with my music. I am basically mixing 1930’s stride piano/ ragtime with todays contemporary soul/ rnb and a touch of Hip Hop bass heaviness and thump. All these sounds and styles have been my influences growing up and I wanted to fuse all these sounds to create a new sound I call “Neo-Ragtime”
What do you love most about what you do?
Everything! There is no greater Blessing than the health and the gift of music! Music moves me beyond words but only through expression. Every time I have a chance to share and connect with people through music, I get butterflies in my belly. I absolutely give my all on stage and want people to enjoy themselves and feel what I am feeling. I love love love what I do!
Your first single “Jump N Jivin” was selected by the sports TV network ESPN to be featured throughout the 2013 womens NCAA basketball Final Four championships. This must have been exciting, what was your reaction to the news?
My music partner Ric’key Pageot and I were actually on KCAL News studio set based in Los Angeles when we got the news. I was just about to get interviewed when I got the email from ESPN. We were very excited to get this news.
What 5 songs are you listening to at the moment?
Hmmm….been listening to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”, Robin Thicke and Pharell William’s “Blurred Lines”, anything from Cab Calloway, anything from Caravan Palace. Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, James Blake’s new album, Tweet’s new song, “Way to love”, Hezekiah Walker’s “Grateful”, Ella Fitzgerald’s “A ticket a tasket” and last but not least Whitney Houston’s live performance of “A song for you”. I listen to lots more but will stop there, LOL. I could go on and on.
Your life has been quite a challenging one. Being in the music business what has been the biggest challenge you have had to face so far?
Great question! The biggest challenge in the music game and still ongoing challenge would have to be being heard! Because I am doing something different, new and unique and it’s a lot more challenging to stand above the rest. The industry isn’t into taking chances with a different sound altogether these days. So it is much harder to be heard and to stand out up against the “pop/ radio friendly” machine.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is life. Living. Anything that gets my senses going. Great music, great food, the love of my life, my family, great friends, any and all experiences good and bad inspires me. The sunshine and heat…..I could go on and on with this one as well.
What type of music inspires you?
Honestly, I get inspired by all musical styles but I would have to say, gospel music is at the top of the list as well. I grew up in the church singing in the choir so gospel music is always near and dear to me. But, really…..I listen to all music. If its good….you got me! My musical taste is quite diverse.
Your album ‘This Is Neo-Ragtime’ is due for release in the UK on May 7th. Is there a story to the album? If so what it is?
I would have to say that the main theme of the album is introducing folks to a new sound, a new musical movement! This is the main theme. The content of what I am talking about, throughout the album, I would have to say is strength. Going back to the question you asked earlier about my biggest challenges in the music biz is a theme on the album. You can hear the challenges in “Popularity Contest”. I talk about those challenges. Just to give you a brief synopsis on this song….It’s a love story between a couple, drawing a parallel to an artist’s fight to gain the favor of fans and the industry, and trying to get the attention through social media outlets because that’s what we must do to get ahead in this business. But there is something for everyone. I touch on love, strength, empowerment, confidence, standing up, etc.
What are you favourite tracks on the album?
“Popularity Contest” and “Lost in The Jungle” would have to be my faves. They both have strong messages. Lost in The Jungle has a double meaning as well. I won’t put it all out there but….LOL, yeah, I will let folks make their own synopsis on this one. “Loved” is also a song that is near and dear to me because it’s a song I wrote about my husband and the joy he brings to my life everyday, waking up and seeing his smiling face.
Apart from the album what else can we expect from Dessy Di Lauro in 2013?
There will be a summer release of a “Jump N’ Jivin’ club remix, which I am super stoked about and a new music video as well. There will also be performances at festivals and summer events throughout North America for now and hoping to get over to the U.K as well. You can check out my website to stay connected and see what I got coming up. DESSYDILAURO.COM
Quick fire questions
What is the best time of day to listen to your music?
Driving in your car
What was the first record you ever brought?
Wow….Michael Jackson? Not sure.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
No comment! LOL…..
Finish these sentences…..
You never leave home without…Lip Tint
The future is….very bright and exciting for Dessy Di Lauro’s Neo-Ragtime experience!
In 2013 I will…be getting everyone Hep to this Neo-Ragtime Jive, worldwide! And a world tour would be nice too…..:)
PHOTO CREDIT: Nilaya Sabnis