Before she was selling out shows at First Avenue's Mainroom, Dessa could be found at a poetry slam at the venue's second-floor bar.
She says she learned "what mastery of craft really looked like" watching her competitors perform there as a young adult.
Now an acclaimed artist, Dessa's story mirrors that of so many other local artists who have progressed their careers on First Avenue's stages. As the venue fights to survive the pandemic, Dessa and 18 others have donated songs for a new compilation album series to benefit First Avenue.
"First Avenue cares about music. And artists. And the culture of our city. That’s not true of everyone in this business. Let’s show them the support they’ve shown us all along," she wrote on theFirst Love Project website.