Out of high-rises of a Camden council estate, rising from the depths of Soundcloud, comes Desta French, a prodigious, globally inspired talent with an ear for the ethereal.
Growing up in London, Desta describes how she was “fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of cultural diversity” and this influence is evident in the handful of songs she has released online. With a strong nod to the popular R&B from the early 2000’s, Desta’s music incorporates a lot of what it is have been an inner-city youth at the turn of the 21st century. She is of Colombian and Italian descent, with her both parents being first-generation immigrants.
“MY EVERYDAY LIFE IS THE PROCESS”
The melting pot of linguistic and cultural backgrounds in her home setting, but also in the surrounding area, has clearly had an immensely positive impact on her creatively, as her sound flows freely between Latin cumbia and salsa North American jazz and the early R&B greats. “Musically, I love grooves, rhythms and melodies that drop from the sky,” she says, referring directly to the way that her music seems to float weightlessly above real life.
Take for example, the most popular of her early releases ‘Shame.’ With the classic 00’s era rolling piano melody and tight boom-bap drum pattern, it channels the likes of Sade and Aaliyah, while preserving a more current and contemporary quality. It’s a snapshot of Desta’s day-to-day life, set to a gloriously chilled instrumental backdrop.
She explains; “My everyday life is the process, I think of ideas as I walk around doing stuff,” and it’s easy to imagine Desta strolling round on a rare sunny day in London, taking in the sights and sounds of the culturally bustling streets, taking cues from made-up stories about the people she walks past.
“In terms of when I’m actually making music, the best stuff happens when I get out my own way and let things happen naturally.”
“I LOVE GROOVES, RHYTHMS AND MELODIES THAT DROP FROM THE SKY,”
If you’re pressed to categorise, you could say that Desta’s music belongs in the tough to discern field of ‘future-R&B.’ In the vein of Awful Record’s Abra, and early BANKS’ records, Desta looks set to continue the spirit and attitude of the pioneering female artists like Lauryn Hill, Gill Scott, TLC, and the previously mentioned Sade and Aaliyah, but with the added vitality of youth and millennial multiculturalism. We don’t know where music will take young Desta French, but she’ll be pleased to know that all signs are pointing one way, skywards.
Make sure to peep Desta´s COLORS show here!
Styling: Sara Juric
Henrik Vibskov & MM6-Maison Margiela via Temporary Showroom