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08.30 Thu

Rapper Has An Acclaimed Album, Debut Memoir, NYT Byline, and Her Own Bourbon

On Sept 18, rapper, NYT-published writer, singer, and monologist Dessa will release her debut memoir in essays “My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love” on Dutton.

In “My Own Devices”, Dessa gives readers a glimpse into how her brain works as it churns away during the hours spent cooped up in tour vans crisscrossing the country at all times of the night. Her philosophical mind leaps delightfully from things like the calculus of keeping your coffee from spilling while accelerating, to why it is our hearts are often bound to just one person. In the essays that make up “My Own Devices”, Dessa also writes beautifully about her unique childhood, what it’s like to move across the country to get away from love, and how poetry slams paved her way into the rap scene. By turns poignant, funny, and heartbreaking, her essays will resonate deeply with readers.

Dessa’s writing is infused with scientific research, dry wit, and an abiding tenderness for the people she tours with as well as the people she leaves behind to be on the road. “My Own Devices” proves Dessa is as ferocious on the page as she is onstage, uncompromising and eclectic. She traffics in unusual combinations, writing about neuroscience, rap tours, and romantic obsession–lacing together parts of our culture that usually don’t touch. The book marks the arrival of a unique and deft literary voice.

Aside from her hardcover debut in a few weeks, Dessa’s 2018 has been filled with these mountainous career highs:

· Her latest album ‘Chime’ was a critical success, called a “force of nature” by The A.V. Club, and praised by the likes of Billboard, Complex, The New York Times, and NPR who complimented Dessa for having “this incredible gravitas and presence and humanity to her. There’s just so much intelligence to everything she does.”

· This week Dessa published her first piece with the ‘New York Times’ Travel section. She explored London with a musical synesthete, investigating both the city and human sense perception. You can read her article HERE.

· Today Dessa has also announced a collaboration with the RockFilter Distillery in Spring Grove, MN. Together, they have created her very own bottle of her drink of choice: bourbon. After more than a year of clandestine meetings and taste testings, Dessa’s Time and Distance Organic Bourbon Whiskey was perfected and will be on shelves in Minnesota starting September 18.

· Never one to be limited by the constraints of genre or categorization, Dessa will combine razor sharp rhymes, literary-level lyrics, and ferocious live performance with the majestic magnitude of the Minnesota Orchestra on Oct. 5 & 6 when she will perform two collaborative performances at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Dessa just got back from a trip with the Minnesota Orchestra through South Africa this past month as they toured through Cape Town, Durban, Soweto, Pretoria, and Johannesburg. Dessa acted as a traveling documentarian, capturing images and stories from their trip. You can check out her travel entries here via MPR.

To learn more about Dessa’s current projects (including her book tour schedule, upcoming concerts, and some yet-to-be-announced events), visit or follow her on Twitter and Facebook at @dessadarling and on Instagram at @Dessa.