soulhead: How did you get into music? When did you fall in love with it?
Dessy Di Lauro: I got into music when I was about 4 years of age. My mom put me in the church choir. I am so grateful to her because of that. I was always in love with music. Music is my heartbeat, my passion, and a gift from God.
soulhead: What are your primary musical influences?
DD: I have so many amazing musical influences. My parents played very very old stuff. They were fascinated by the Harlem Renaissance movement, so they played a lot of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, and mix that in with Luther Vandross, Donny Hathaway, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston, Outkast, Lauryn Hill, Bilal, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Tribe Called Quest, mix it all up and what you get is my Neo-ragtime sound.
soulhead: Do you feel you are underground? Why do you think you have been able to fly under the radar for so long?
DD: Great question…I do feel I am underground and the reason for it is that people still don’t know what I do and my sound. I believe that once people get to hear me, this will change. But its a completely new sound, that hasn’t been touched on. Sure, there is 1920’s sounding music mixed with todays influence, but the Harlem Renaissance music (i.e. stride piano) mixed with today, hasn’t been done. The 30’s, Harlem Renaissance is a period that is forgotten by most. I am re-introducing it, in my own way. Once people will be open to listen to me and take the time, they will latch on. Because it is so new, it takes a little more time, but once that door opens…….
soulhead: What’s coming up for you this year?
DD: Many exciting things unfolding this year. A supporter of mine has recently started a campaign to get me and my band, The Hep Kats, to perform on the Arsenio Hall show. We have been spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for anyone and everyone to join my campaign page and send Arsenio messages saying that : We want @DessyDilauro and the Hep Kats to perform on the @ArsenioHall show #GETDESSYONARSENIO. Really excited about this. Arsenio Hall is making a comeback and the goal is to make so much noise, that he will have me perform on his show.
I also, have some great shows coming up, festivals in the works and some new music coming this Fall. Excited about whats coming.
soulhead: Do you have any plans for coming to the NYC?
DD: I am planning on coming to the NYC. No specific dates yet but its in the works. Just performed there in June at Blue Note Jazz Club for the Blue Note Jazz festival.
soulhead: Tell us about your recent album? Your unique sound?
DD: The album is called “This is Neo-Ragtime”. Its available on iTunes, cdbaby, Amazon, and the sound is a new sound and style of music called NEO-RAGTIME. It hasn’t been done before. I call it a feathered fro-hawk, futuristic, art-deco centric Harlem Renaissance Hep. I am basically a modern day female version of Cab Calloway. The music is a mix of 1930’s, Harlem Renaissance influence, mixed with today’s influences such as Outkast, Lauryn Hill……stride piano is very present throughout the album and a very present horn section.
I touch on different topics. Experiences in music industry trying to gain the favor of fans in “Popularity Contest”, Why U Raggin is about a friend going through it with her homie, lover, friend and reached her breaking point, “Lost in the Jungle” is a tribute to Duke Ellington and I am talking about getting caught up, and that it can be easy to in the Entertainment world, but to stay grounded and focused could pertain to cheating as well. It has a double meaning. Its a very empowering album, but mostly introduces people to my unique sound of music. There are songs pinpointing this as well.
soulhead: How can fans stay in touch with you
Want more? Check out this great video from her latest single “Jump ‘N’ Jivin'” from her This is Neo-Ragtime album: