Multitalented singer and rapper turns to science for inspiration on getting over a breakup

It seems there's nothing Dessa, the chameleonic poet/rapper/singer/writer/speaker, can't do. A rapper with Minneapolis' Doomtree collective, she also recently covered the Mountain Goats' “Balance” and ended up on Lin-Manuel Miranda's The Hamilton Mixtape, while also boasting a New York Times Magazine byline.

Recently, after a long, drawn-out breakup, Dessa found herself unable to move on from the relationship. And so, inspired by a TED Talk, she sought out an fMRI machine and some scientists who were willing to try to isolate the parts of her brain responsible for romantic love.

She also wrote some songs, and some of them ended up on her most recent album, Chime. Dessa is an impressive wordsmith, and she boasts a master's degree in philosophy, but her music hits the heart as hard as the head. On “Good Grief,” she parses the titular phrase and finds that the best kind of sadness is the kind you can look back on. “They say there's good grief, but how can you tell it from the bad?/Maybe it's only in the fact, good grief's the one that's in your past,” she sings, sounding less like an academic and more like someone who figured out how to move on. (Don't miss it)