There is no doubt about it. Music can be a salvation in times of uncertainty and dread – and one artist in particular that understands the importance of this sonic relief is Austin-hailed musician DOSSEY.
For a while now, the artist has been making waves with her infectious brand of high-energy, snappy alt-pop – packed with undulating rhythms and soaring hooks. And her latest track, “Someone To Love” is no exception; a crackling, sequin-imbued earworm with empowerment at the heart of its lyricism.
We caught up with the emerging star on the power of disco, the influence of Texas, and her new single “Someone To Love”…
How has lockdown been for you? How have you stayed creative?
Lockdown has been a total rollercoaster for me. In Austin, everything shut down as soon as we found out that SX was canceled – which, I actually found out while playing a gig. At the end of a song in the set, my synth player Justin leaned over and was like, “Hey, I’m sorry, I can’t think about anything else right now, check out the TV screen in the bar.” Our Mayor was announcing the cancellation and the shut down of the city. A lot was on the table for me this year at SX – I was so excited about meetings and the showcases I had lined up – and they, in addition to any semblance of a record deal to release music I’d been working on for the past 3 years, disappeared in an instant. Since that point, I’ve run the gamut of emotions – anger, sadness, confusion, joy – I’ve had moments of serious creativity (I think I wrote 7 songs the first week and started producing them myself as well), and I have had long streams of creative bleakness. Those moments used to change daily, then they were hourly, now I’m just so busy trying to get this music I’ve already made out that I can’t sit still for long enough to sink into the pit again. haha.
How did growing up in Austin influence your sound – who did you grow up listening to?
I did not grow up in Austin – I’m from a small town called Montgomery – in East Texas. Honestly, I grew up listening to music with my dad, so it was a pretty steady stream of Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Paul Simon, with some Dolly Parton in there as well – basically, artists all super focused on harmonies, loads of drama and great, great songs. I did not start really discovering music on my own until college in Austin. Then, I was super into dance music – Shiny Toy Guns, Hot Chip, MGMT and Justice. Being in Austin since then has given me this amazing opportunity to really work out what kind of artists I was, who I am now, and who I’ll be next. Because of the sheer number of venues, as well as super-talented musical buds, It’s so easy to try new personas and vibes.
And how did you start out in the music industry?
I was a singing goat in my kindergarten’s farmyard musical. It was a pretty huge moment for me.
Your sound pulls from a lot of places – how would you describe your genre?
Thank you so much for hearing that! I’ve been into dance music for a long time, which led to electronic and more cinematic music, which is where I started with on the Dossey proiect. Lately, though, I’ve been super into disco, funk music, and more modern alt music – which, I feel like gets churned up and vomited out of my brain in a weird blend of Blondie / Nile Rodgers / Bishop Briggs. So I think that’s where we land right now.
Congratulations on “Someone to Love” – what was the inspiration behind it?
Honestly, I have been so inspired by other women standing up for themselves in public lately. Unfortunately, because I’ve been playing music for a long time, I have loads and loads of stories about dudes being super disrespectful and inappropriate with me. I mean, just because we’re vibing on a song in the studio and I am laughing at your jokes doesn’t mean I want you to jump my bones, dude… Those comments used to get me down, so much that I’d start to believe that they were my fault somehow, but one day I just realised – Yeah, you are a strong, beautiful woman. Own it and use it. You have all the power.
The song is so feel-good – what would you like fans to take from your music?
Honestly, I feel like more people (not just non-males) need to feel empowered right now. We’re lonely and we’re raw. This song, in my opinion, gives us a chance to celebrate our power and our independence. I think, with the year we’ve all had, we’re all just waiting for permission to step outside our homes and just yell into the ether at the top of our lungs, or like, set some stuff on fire and watch it burn.
You’ve been really vocal on the BLM music – why is this important as a musician coming out of Texas?
I have never, ever, been vocal (at least on social media) about issues. I just always thought that whatever I had to say, I could communicate in my songs, or help others work through their feelings through my lyrics and music. But, after Ahmaud Arbery was killed while simply out for a jog, something just shook me. I sat down at my piano and just wept. I realised that I’d been silent too long, and that’s on me. There are so many incredible voices in the black community that have seriously challenged me to finally use my own voice, or shoulder, or whatever I have to lift them up. I know I will, and have, lost “followers” since I started sharing the words of these black voices on my own feed. But it’s 100% worth it. No revolution has ever been accomplished by those sitting on the sidelines.
And how do you feel about releasing music at such an uncertain time?
Honestly, I am very scared about it, but also excited. I fully believe that artists are the ones that lead culture through moments like this in our history as a civilisation. When injustice has taken place, when things need to change, when corruption is rampant, when sadness covers us, art is the thing that helps us interpret it and experience the emotions we feel. The music I am releasing this year is not directly in response to the social and health situation we are in right now (I mean, I wrote “Someone to Love” over 2 years ago!), but it is raw, it is honest, and it is fierce. I do think that it can help others navigate through these times, or even just escape for a minute. All bets are off in my opinion. If you make stuff, and you believe in it, put it out.
What are you excited about for the rest of 2020?
LOTS of new music (my next single, “This Feeling”, comes out in August, so be ready for that!). With the loss of whatever idea of a record deal I had in March, I had to restrategise everything. I suddenly had so much more power with my art than I had had in years. The strongest strategy I could devise was to put it out one song at a time. Each song is pretty different, and I believe will reach people in different ways. Basically, I have enough music (and I’m making so much new music right now) that I could put out a single every six weeks til the end of 2021! Which is crazy, and someone may come along and tell me is a dumb plan, but, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to release new music, and I am so over it.