Dessy Di Lauro

Dessy Di Lauro

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Artist Biography

Dessy Di Lauro’s (pronounced D'Laro) life story has always been about overcoming adversity. From being bullied as a child due to her inter-racial background of Cuban, Brazilian, Italian descent, to surviving domestic abuse in her adulthood. Today Miss Di Lauro has grown into a strong lady with depth, integrity, and unselfishness. Now she can finally smile and share her experiences in order to help others that are going through similar trials. 

From a very young age, Dessy has always been different from the others kids. At the tender age of 4, she was already ‘’borrowing’’ her parents records of untypical artists to sing along to like Sara Vaughn, Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder,  & Luther Vandross.   It didn’t take long for her parents to notice her love for singing, so they enrolled her into Gospel choirs. Despite Dessy’s shyness, this would become a great outlet for her to express herself in front of an audience, despite her challenges of being out casted by others. Dessy found herself constantly having to physically fend for herself as a teenager against bullies in her tough Montreal East-end neighborhood.

Dessy was studying fashion design all the while signing in and around Montreal nightclubs at a young age. She became the go-to session singer being featured in Canadian platinum selling CD's such as pop/r&b band Sky's ''Paradise'', and Dubmatique's ''La Force De Comprendre'' becoming the first French-Canadian rap album to go platinum.

Her voice and name got back to the Cirque du Soleil scouting department leading to an invitation to audition for their new show La Nouba. Her jazzy soulful laid-back style was exactly what Cirque was looking for, for their feature role.  In the fall of ’98, she packed her bags and moved to Orlando, FL to begin creation rehearsals for the show.

The next three years would prove to be her most challenging times dealing with domestic abuse from the fists of her then-boyfriend.  Dessy again turned to music for sanity, having bought herself a studio microphone, a keyboard, and a computer embedded with a music production software, as she locked herself in her bedroom to create music like she never did before.  Dessy penned heartfelt songs such as My Inspiration; the un-mailed letter to her mother back home, Dear Mama; and the empowering anthem for women, Shout Out.

After finally having enough courage to leave her abusive relationship and moving back to Montreal in 2002, she would later release these songs on her first EP, ‘A Study of A Woman’s Soul’ (CrazyglueMusic, 2004) with the help of a musician/producer and McGill University Jazz Performance graduate, Ric’key Pageot. This first EP was critically acclaimed by critics in Canada, Europe and the U.S. Chris Wells, chief-editor of Echoes Magazine wrote: ‘Her interesting heritage shines through the rhythms and arrangements, putting Dessy on soul’s jazzier side – just where I like it? .

In 2008, the now-married couple decided to move to Los Angeles, CA for bigger opportunities.  Not too long after that move, Ric’key embarked on an almost two year tour with the queen of pop, Madonna (Sticky and Sweet Tour), all the while Dessy was performing in the so-called City of Angels to help broaden her fan base.  By this time, she had performed with Patti Labelle, The Neville Brothers, Deborah Cox, and punk/rock pioneer band, Social Distortion.

Upon Pageot’s return from tour, the couple would immediately begin working on new music for Dessy’s sophomore CD.  They reinvented themselves by meshing their jazz influences with a more contemporary sound, which they can only best describe as ‘’Feathered Frohawk Futuristic Art Deco Centric Harlem Renaissance Hep Music’’.

The first single and music video, Why U Raggin’? from her latest EP, Jump N’ Jivin’: Live @ The Swing House (CrazyglueMusic, 2010), won two Hollywood Music in Media Awards, including Best R&B/Soul Song of the Year. Her astute sense of fashion is also shown in the 'Raggin' video where you can see Dessy rocking her self-designed black low-cut jacket. She is planning to start her own fashion line in the near future.

Dessy feels she has a lot to give back to her audience thanks to her will of overcoming adversity.  She vows to remain what she has always been throughout her life, unique and unconventional.  Jay Sloan, Senior Director of Creative Affairs and Membership of Rhythm and Soul at ASCAP, has said about Dessy that: ‘’her music is relevant, it’s necessary.’’

Miss Di Lauro is presently working on her first full-length album entitled, ‘This Is…Neo-Ragtime’ (CrazyglueMusic), set for release in February 2013, And with the help of her undeniable determination and will, she is certainly on her way of soon making her mark in the music industry. 

courtesy of DessyDiLauro.com

(photo credit: Nilaya Sabnis)

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SoulTracks biography:

Montreal-based singer Dessy Di Lauro grew up in a Brazilian Italo-Cuban household, and the influence of each element of her family background ultimately came into play in the shaping of her musical persona. Her childhood included introductions by her parents to the world's great jazz, soul, Cuban and Brazilian artists, and she absorbed it all. At a young age she began performing around Montreal, first as part of a number of Gospel choirs, then in the R&B group Co-Soul (where she opened for a number of notable R&B artists, including Mary J. Blige), and later in the acid jazz group Bullfrog. By the end of the decade she began to receive notice as a talented songwriter, and she wrote for and sang with chart-topping Francophone rap group Dubmatique. She then spent three years as part of the critically-acclaimed Orlando troupe of Cirque du Soleil. Soon after she met up with keyboardist Ric'key Pageot, and the two worked together backing popular Canadian singer Corneille.

Ric'ky Pageot began a decade and a half of intensive classical piano training as a child, but was also exposed by his family to extensive jazz and Cuban music and expanded his understanding and appreciation for jazz while at McGill University. In 1997 he formed the Latin Jazz trio Jazzma and soon was gigging with a number of jazz, R&B and Gospel acts throughout Canada.

In 2004, Di Lauro and Pageot began collaborating on DiLauro's solo debut album. The result of their work was the six-song EP A Study of a Woman's Soul, released in March, 2005. A welcome introduction to the new talented team of Di Lauro and Pageot, A Study of a Woman's Soul is a real treat. The compositions are strong, and Pageot and the band provide a restrained but very effective backing behind Di Lauro's strong voice, which is sometimes jazzy and sometimes almost classical in its tone. The first single, "When You Need Me," is a great slice of midtempo Brazilian jazz with nice guitar work by Paolo Ramos. Perhaps even better is the second half of the disc, which has an intimate nightclub kind of feel on the fine ballads "My Inspiration" and "Dear Mama," before finishing with the Pageot instrumental, "City High."

DiLauro and Pageot were extremely active over the next several years, working around the world in several production, but it wasn't until 2011 that we again heard them on record, as Dessy released Jump 'N Jivin Live at the Swing Housewhich was an excellent updating of their sound, incorporating more swing with the other elements. The follow up, This is Neo-Ragtime, is slated for a February 2013 release.

By Chris Rizik

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