New & Next: Meet ‘Neo-Ragtime’ Singer Dessy Di Lauro, Listen to Her Funky New EP
Taylor Ballantyne’s “New and Next” column spotlights the brightest new talents we think you should know. This week we meet Dessy Di Lauro, a Montreal-bred singer-songwriter who uses the musical language of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway to create her own soulful blend of hip-hop, soul, RnB, and ragtime. Her new EP, Say Hep Hep-The EP, is out now.

On her newly-released EP, Dessy Di Lauro’s musical style will quickly conjure images of sassy flapper dresses, cigars and swag. It’s boppity and fun, soulful and wise. This is the singer’s third EP since 2013, transforming her once acoustic sound into what she describes as “neo-ragtime” rhythm.

She spoke with ESSENCE about her “Hep Hep,” her musical journey and how she came to “Neo-ragtime.”

What exactly does “Hep Hep” mean?
It means fly, feeling good. We’re influenced by the 1930s and the Harlem Renaissance era…people do throwbacks but they don’t go that far back.

Explain “Neo-Ragtime.”
I like to describe it as, if Cab Calloway, Outkast and Lauryn Hill had a baby, this is probably what it would sound like.

Your husband Ric’key Pageot is your writing partner.
We’re so connected and we work so well together that it’s super easy. Some moments, you know, we don’t always agree on stuff, but most of the time, he hears where I’m going with stuff. This sound is our creation so there’s a synchronicity between us that we don’t even have to talk about it. We just understand each other’s language and when I’m writing a melody or got some kind of musical idea, we’ll sit down and he’ll already come up with chords.  Every now and then it doesn’t flow as easy, but most of the time, we know where we’re going with it because the sound was created by us so, I guess it just comes with the flow.

Who do you see yourself collaborating with?
I love Bilal. I really love Bilal. And it’s so funny because I look at him as the male version of me. Stevie Wonder, Outkast of course, because we have that influence…Oh yes, Dr. Dre, absolutely. Kendrick…I mean there’s so many amazing people that I’d just love to work with.

Di Lauro’s new EP, Say Hep Hep-The EP, is out now.

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