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Home » DESSA: Can We Choose to Fall Out of Love? (Transcript)

DESSA: Can We Choose to Fall Out of Love? (Transcript)

DESSA at TEDxWanChai


Hello, my name is Dessa, and I’m a member of a hip-hop collective called Doomtree. I’m the one in the tank top. And I make my living as a performing and touring rapper and singer.

When we perform as a collective, this is what our shows look like. I’m the one in the boots. There’s a lot of jumping; there’s a lot of sweating. It’s loud; it’s very high-energy.

Sometimes there are unintentional body checks on stage. Sometimes there are completely intentional body checks on stage. It’s kind of a hybrid between an intramural hockey game and a concert.

However, when I perform my own music as a solo artist, I tend to gravitate towards more melancholy sounds.

A few years ago, I gave my mom the rough mixes of a new album, and she said, “Baby, it’s beautiful, but why is it always so sad? You always make music to bleed out to.”

And I thought, who are you hanging out with that? You know that phrase?

But over the course of my career, I’d written so many sad love songs that I got messages like this from fans: “Release new music or a book; I need help with my break-up.”

And after performing and recording and touring those songs for a long time, I found myself in a position in which my professional niche was essentially romantic devastation.

What I hadn’t been public about, however, was the fact that most of these songs had been written about the same guy. And for two years we tried to sort ourselves out. And then for five, and on and off for ten.

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