Desanka: A Journey from Opera to Pop.
Interview by: Alexandra Giffney
Photos by: Josie Rae
Alexandra: "Who are some of your influences on your music?"
Desanka: "I really love Julia Michaels and Lennon Stella, I think what they're doing is so different from what we usually see in pop music. Their music is super unconventional and their sound is completely unique, and I love them both individually.
A: "That's awesome, how do you feel about Lennon Stella's transition from country to pop?"
D: "I think she has done it in a really seamless way. I feel like she can do any genre and her fans will still be her fans because of her vocal quality and tone is just so unique to who she is. And I think that's the difference, like she doesn't sound like a completely different artist she still sounds like her. And it's been cool to see her career from her and her sister's Youtube channel to now."
A: "You recently released a new single called, "Oh" , congrats on that! It does paint a story, what was the inspiration behind it?"
D: "Thanks, so it wasn't necessarily anything about me. I do pull my inspiration, of course, from my own experiences as well as my friends experiences too and the stories I've heard. It's really about a girl power anthem, it's about a girl, or anyone leaving a toxic relationship and having the confidence to leave something that is bad for you and living a healthier lifestyle."
A: "I love to hear that! Now you grew up in musical theater and choir, what caused the switch in pop music and why?"
D: "Yeah, I grew up in musical theater for 9 years and I was on the Broadway track. I actually transitioned into opera and went to school for opera. I then realized that isn't the career I wanted. So I transitioned and went to school as a music business major. So during all of that I had a friend who is a songwriter and he was like "hey I wrote a bunch of songs and I think you'd sound really good in them." I never really thought of being a recording artist at all, but that is what kind of sparked me to do that, and I've been doing it ever since."
A: "Awesome, how was that transition between musical theater to recording?"
D: "It's so different, obviously. It was just a lot of learning. I was pretty familiar to being in a studio since I'm an actress as well and just doing voice-over work, so I kind of understood how it all worked. It was mainly just learning new terminology and a lot on the production side. Once I got the hang of that I was good to go! But definitely different "
A: "Nice, so you said you studied opera did any of the training help you or prepare for your work today?"
D: "Oh definitely! It completely gave me a base. I tend to compare opera and training operatically as a base as a dancer training in ballet. I feel like it's the most classic form of the art and it's important to understand the most classical form of your art before you can do anything else, it just sets you up so well. I have a lot of friends on Broadway and they were trained in opera. It just provides you such a great base and how to use your voice. It gives you the science behind how to keep your vocal cords healthy and how to sustain. Like musicians go on tour and it's super hard on your voice and it's really good at teaching you how to preserve that and how to do certain things to keep it going. But I think it was super helpful and gave me a lot of confidence going into it. Since I already did the really hard parts and going into pop almost un-trained my brain from a lot of things I learned in school, so that was a tricky process."
A: "Yeah, that had to be tricky! You also have a song with Hudson Henry called "Safe & Sound" how was the writing and recording process for that?"
D: Yeah, it was so much fun! He's such an amazing artist. It was kind of crazy, I went to a art high school and once of my friends who went with me produced the whole song and he was like "I want you to sing on it". So me and Hudson met, he wrote the lyrics, and we recorded our parts separately. Then it came together to one piece, and it's interesting all the pieces of the song were done separate and never done in one studio."
A: "I was wondering if it was done together or separate, I love it when artists record apart and then a song comes together and it's amazing! I know you also mentioned acting, was music and acting something you sought out to do together or did one start and the other followed?"
D: "Growing up in musical theater I had such a love for both, and my dad is a opera composer so that sparked opera, since it's just kind of in my blood. But with acting that was my first love. I was doing a lot of musical theater and Shakespeare and that all transitioned into acting in film. I love acting, I love doing anything with horror. Horror films are my favorite jobs to book. I think they're so interesting and so fun, I love the process. It's crazy how many components go into things, like I also do commercial work and how many components go into a 30 second spot. Also visual effects and make-up artists especially for horror films are insane."
A: "Do you ever find it difficult to balance music and acting? And deciding on what to focus on that day, like today is music and tomorrow I have a shoot?"
D: "I just take it day by day and take opportunities as they come. I pretty much work simultaneously on them. I found they go very hand in hand for me and just managing my time. It was difficult in the beginning, once I learned how to manage my time and get the hang of it, it was all good. It's been pretty simple actually."
A: "Now where do you hope to see your career take you?"
D: "I just want to keep doing what I'm doing for as long as possible, whether it be making music or acting, even both. I just want to continue on the path I'm on and see where it takes me and what happens."