Saturday 9/21 | 9:00-10:15 PM | Main Stage


Dessa fell in love with language as a toddler---and she just never got over it. Coming up in Minneapolis, she collected favorite words to decorate the walls of her brain; as teenager, she thrilled in metaphor; and when she started writing songs and touring, she'd always lean in to pick up on the regional slang. Now, Dessa works in most fields that traffic in words: she's recorded rap bangers as part of the fiercely independent Doomtree collective, released a live album with the Grammy-winning Minnesota Orchestra; contributed to the New York Times and National Geographic Traveler; delivered a TED Talk on the intersection of romance and neuroscience that's notched more than 4 million views; hosted two seasons of the Deeply Human radio program (BBC/American Public Media/iHeartMedia); and published a memoir recounting most of the above called My Own Devices, published by Dutton (Penguin Random House). She lives in Minneapolis and Manhattan, still tours in a rented van, and is probably eavesdropping on the neighboring table, listening for a word to add to the collection. You can listen to her music, read her writing, and check out the tour schedule at or find her on Instagram as Dessa, and on Facebook and Twitter as dessadarling.


Dessa Website