Dessy Di Lauro

Growing up in Montreal, Quebec, Dessy di Lauro was exposed to a mix of classic and contemporary music -- from Sarah Vaughan to Luther Vandross -- through her parents' record collection. She sang in gospel choirs, progressed to session work as a background singer, and relocated to Orlando, Florida after winning an audition for Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba show. While it was a positive time for her career, she endured an abusive relationship and poured herself into writing and recording in her bedroom. Di Lauro parted from her abuser, returned to Montreal, and completed the adult contemporary R&B EP A Study of a Woman's Soul (2004) with help from instrumentalist and producer Ric'key Pageot. Di Lauro and Pageot subsequently moved to Los Angeles to work on Cirque du Soleil's Delirium. The couple, who married, honed a style they dubbed neo-ragtime and debuted it in 2010 with the single "Why U Raggin'." After a couple years of performing and additional recording, Di Lauro released the playful This Is Neo-Ragtime (2013) via Crazyglue Music. ~ Andy Kellman

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