Dessa was able to do a bit of multi-tasking with the video for her new single, “Good For You,” premiering exclusively below.
The Minneapolis singer and songwriter (aka Margaret Wander) was already planning a vacation in Mexico City with her younger brother Max. She asked him to bring his camera along to capture images for the video — flower markets, agave drinks, a traditional Mexican candy shop and more. They were later turned over to video director Mercies May to create a clip for the song, the second one-off single Dessa has released since her 2018 album Chime.
“I’ve never scored a movie completely, but I like how somehow you can have music that really contrasts to the emotional tenor of the scene — like really beautiful pianos during a hyper-violent scene or something like that,” Dessa tells Billboard. “I wanted the Mexican footage to feel playful and intimate and not scripted. We were just goofing around, and you can tell. And then we got a really different, professional look when we shot the other half of the video in Minneapolis. I knew I wanted to try and capture a sense of longing, where the singer feels convinced the person she’s singing to has somewhat reciprocal romantic feelings he isn’t copping to. I wanted that kind of unrequited hoping to be represented.”
Something out of her own life, perhaps? “Well, I’ve got a romantic track record that provides a LOT of song possibilities,” Dessa answers with a laugh.
“Good For You” follows “Grade School Games,” which Dessa released earlier this year. She has two more new songs in motion now, and she says the fresh material is based on perceived need. “I just had these songs I’d been working on that I don’t want to sit on indefinitely,” she explains. “I didn’t want to shelve them for a year until it was formally time to enter the next (album) cycle. Plus, I’m coming through some cities I’ve visited before since (Chime) came out; I wanted to assure people they’re not going to see a rehash of the same show. That’s important to me. I really don’t like doing the same thing twice, so having new and fresh material to work with reinvigorates the show. It’s a new presentation, a new conversation on stage.”
Dessa is also preparing a new album, a live set she recorded during March with the Minnesota Orchestra, with whom she’s collaborated several times, that’s expected out this summer.
“I recorded 17 songs and did a new orchestration of ‘Grade School Games.’ It’s not a band on stage plus orchestra; The arrangements immerses the sound in, like, an acid bath and makes it something really new,” says Dessa, who will also be playing some shows this year with the hip-hop collective Doomtree. “I’m really excited to pull the sheet off this so people can see what these (orchestral) shows are all about, because they’re very special to me.”