"My mission statement is to get people to do what they love," says Desirée Dawson. She conveys just that with her debut album, Wild Heart, set to be released on Feb. 24.
Throughout her album, Dawson sings about self-awareness, growth and love. In her song "Beautiful Life" she shares words of advice to those doubting their passion: "I know comfortable doesn't always complete you/ take control of your life so your mind won't defeat you/ it's your beautiful life/ don't get stuck on a roadblock." From experience, Dawson says if you love doing what you do, and you're consistent, it all adds up.
"Winning Searchlight  really helped me realize that I am on the right path. It helped me drop the 'I'm not good enough comparisons,' all the things that I was doing before. And, once you get rid of all that ... it cleared up space to let me be who I am."
Wild Heart is a strikingly beautiful album. Each song tells a great story, drawing you in, with an eclectic mix of musical instruments, from Dawson's signature ukulele to the piano to the violin.
Below, Dawson gives us a glimpse into five tracks she wrote for Wild Heart.
"I was visiting my friend in Oakland. The whole time I was with her we were talking a lot about this urge. We both wanted to be in nature and that we were kind of sick of the city and we just needed to connect. We both wanted to move to cabins, and it was something we talked about for a long time. Some other friends joined and they were also talking about this longing for something with nature. We just started discussing that we needed to connect a little bit more. Even though we live in the city we need to realize that we are, and that's where we come from. We all have these wild hearts, and it's embracing them, and bringing that to the city. And, not just pretending that we are not connected with nature in some way."
"We all have been pushed so far away from listening to our hearts, our gut instincts and speaking about it. Men especially have been told not to share their hearts desires. This is an extremely sad and un-productive part of society. It needs to change. My main inspiration for this song was watching all the beautiful black men throughout my life be forced into boxes and told that they have no choices and are not encouraged to grow and thrive and listen to their hearts. Although I wrote this with my brothers in mind, this song is to let everyone know that they should always listen when the heart speaks. It doesn't make you weak. Learn who you truly are and share that with the world."
"We all have those people in our lives where time goes by but you can still be easily brought back to them just by hearing a song, smelling a familiar smell or feeling the seasons change."
"'Honey Dew' is probably one of my only love songs, happy love songs. I wrote it because I was in love. I went to Africa, and fell in love there. And, then I wrote a song about it."
"'Beautiful Life' is such a special song to me. I went travelling to Ghana, West Africa, and when I was there I had just got a ukulele, it was a very new instrument to me. I started playing and singing this song. Basically, it's about getting out of your comfort zone because comfort isn't everything. Sometimes you need to leave your box in order to learn new things and to grow, and be challenged."
Wild Heart will be released on Feb. 24.
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