A memoir in essay form, MY OWN DEVICES: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love is a glimpse into the life and mind of one of the most unique artists in the music business, Dessa. Published in hardcover in 2018, the book was met with a diverse range of fanfare fit for a multifaceted musician like Dessa, earning praise from the likes of Lin Manuel-Miranda to NPR, it is now available in paperback. Dessa is a Minneapolis-born rapper with an inhaler in her backpack and a philosophy degree in her closet. As the only female member of the indie hip-hop collective Doomtree, Dessa stands out not just for her compelling voice, but for killer lyrics—uncompromising, honest, clever, and poignant. She’s traveled around the world singing and reporting for New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, and New York Times. Her albums have garnered praise from The New York Times, NPR, LA Times, Chicago Tribune and more.
Just as her music and performances defy traditional genre labels—from rapping at Lollapalooza to collaborating with the Minnesota Orchestra—her memoir refuses to fit into the traditional memoir form. A stunning literary debut, MY OWN DEVICES stitches together poignant insights on love, science, and language, demonstrating just how far the mind can travel while the body is on a six-hour ride to the next gig. In MY OWN DEVICES, Dessa gives readers a glimpse into how her brain works as it churns away during the hours spent cooped up in tour vans crisscrossing the country. Her philosophical mind maneuvers from calculus (as she imagines the forces that prevent a gas-station coffee from spilling as a bandmate guns the accelerator), to genetics (during a heart-to-heart with her little brother) to why romance can be as punishing as it is uplifting. In the essays that make up her memoir, Dessa writes beautifully about her unique childhood, what it’s like to move thousands of miles to escape from love, and how poetry slams paved her way into the rap scene. By turns poignant, funny, and heartbreaking, her essays will resonate deeply with readers in all walks of life.