A Conversation with Dessy Di Lauro

Neo-ragtime artist Dessy Di Lauro is the latest artist to have "A Conversation" with "Jake's Take." (Photo property of Sean Alexnadder)

Neo-ragtime artist Dessy Di Lauro is the latest artist to have “A Conversation” with “Jake’s Take.” (Photo property of Sean Alexnadder)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is a pleasure to welcome Dessy Di Lauro to this edition of A Conversation.

The Montreal native turned Los Angeles transplant is at the forefront of a new kind of musical genre called: Neo-Ragtime. In order to get create this superb musical hybrid, Ms. Di Lauro took the music shaped during the Harlem Renaissance era and combined it with today’s urban beats, contemporary sounds and R&B hooks.

With the help of her husband, producer Ric’Key Pageot, Dessy created soulful tracks that caught the attention of music lovers and industry taste makers on both her debut 2004 EP: A Study Of A Woman’s Soul and her 2013 full-length studio album: This is Neo Ragtime.

After bringing the neo-ragtime sound to the Los Angeles club scene, Dessy and Ric’Key premiered their self-produced show: The Jamboree Starring Dessy Di Lauro at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’s Rose.Rabbit.Lie ballroom.

Dessy opened up about her upcoming EP, the challenges that she faces in the music industry and her hit Las Vegas show.

Jacob Elyachar: When did you get interested in music? How did that passion evolve into the desire to have a recording career?

Dessy Di Lauro: I have been interested in music since I was a child. I would sing all the time. I guess it naturally evolved into a recording career. It was never something I had to think about. I just went with what my heart led me to do.

JE: Who are your inspirations? How big of an impact did they make on your artistry?

DDL: I have so many that inspired and continue to inspire…. Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, OutKast, Sarah Vaughan, Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo…I am all this wrapped up in one. My folks listened to really old 1930’s Harlem Renaissance and I grew up in a Hip Hop Generation. These artists inspired my writing partner, Ric’Key Pageot, and me both. The mesh and morphing of these sounds came together effortlessly.

JE: What are some of the challenges that you faced while trying to break into the music industry? How did you overcome them?

DDL: I am still facing challenges. It’s very difficult to stand out and get heard in today’s music industry climate, especially as an indie. Of course, we have all these online platforms and the worldwide web but it’s still difficult because right now, major artists are also fighting for those same spots. The challenge is that we don’t make money-selling music. That’s a whole other conversation. Music is art and art is being devalued. I’ll just leave it at that. (Laughs) And I do a style of music completely different from what anyone is doing. When you push the envelope, it takes a while to get people on board. I just do what I love to do and keep moving forward. One supporter at a time. That is my thought process. The more people listen and see what we do live, the more they are drawn to it.

JE: In August, you will be releasing your five-track EP that is a follow-up to your 2013 album: “This is Neo-Ragtime.” How will the EP reflect your growth as a singer-songwriter?

DDL: It’s a lot more edgier! The sounds, the beats…. My producer/ songwriting partner, Ric’Key Pageot and I, are pushing the envelope with this neo-ragtime sound. Also lyrically, some songs are quirky but actually quite heavy in content. I really want us to keep exploring our sound and keep it fresh

JE: Last year, you and your husband premiered your self-produced production of “The Jamboree Starring Dessy Di Lauro” at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Could you describe the emotions that you experienced while you performed in the entertainment capitol of the world?

DDL: It was surreal! It is such a feat to put an actual production, which we never had done before. Ric’Key and I had experience working and touring with Cirque du Soleil, and he has also worked with Madonna on many tours therefore all that experience came in handy when we created our own production show. We had 10 musicians and 10 dancers. We were blessed to have Jason and Valerie Young, both former Madonna dancers, as our artistic directors to help us build ”The Jamboree”. It was such a trip to see our vision come to reality. What an incredible feeling! Truly magical and we had an amazing time. We had an amazing group of artists working with us as well. We definitely want to bring the show back to Vegas for a residency early next year after Ric’Key gets off the road from Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour. People loved it. We got amazing feedback.

JE: How has social media helped your fanbase evolve?

DDL: Social media has been HUGE with gaining supporters. It’s all about hashtags. It really is. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube…all at the click of a button. I’ve seen my numbers grow just in the past couple of months. Whenever there is a new write up, review, et cetera…it all goes up online and that’s how people find me.

JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring artists, who want to work in the music industry? What advice would you share with them?

DDL: To not neglect the power of social media! I would also let them know not to expect anyone to handle your career. DO IT YOURSELF! Take charge, build your brand, make it strong and keep your integrity. Never ever change or modify who you are as an artist. Stay true to yourself. Never ever trust anyone who tells you “Trust Me.” (Laughs) Do not ever sign anything you do not understand or have not had an entertainment lawyer look over for you. Read lots of books about the music industry. The music creativity part is the easy part…it’s the other side that artists need to know more of so they do not get screwed.

To learn more about Dessy’s work, visit her website!

You can also connect with Dessy on social media. Visit her Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages.

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar