We had the good fortune of connecting with Desiree Dorion and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Desiree, what do you want people to remember about you?
I think about this question often and recently had a discussion with my kids about this. Particularly about how we want to be remembered when we are no longer in our physical body. When I’m gone, I want people to think of me and smile. To think of my loud, and often obnoxious, laugh. To think about something that I did that made their day brighter (I love surprising people). Maybe a song that I wrote connected with them. But mostly, I want people to think of me because I made them feel good.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I released my first album when I was 13 years old. That little record compiled 9 original songs. I worked as an artist throughout most of highschool. After graduating, I went to university. When I finished university, I started digging back into music and worked to release my 2nd album in 2010. To date, I’ve released five full length albums. Each one has served as a stepping stone into what I hope will be a lifelong career in music.
I think most people would see me as a storyteller. I write songs in the country music genre that tell stories. That is one of the things that I love about country music. I’ve always been drawn to the stories contained within the lyrics. Lately however, at least with my last two singles, I’ve been venturing outside of my wheelhouse and not taking myself so seriously. I’ve been having a lot of fun writing upbeat songs.
Some of the barriers that I have faced include racism, sexism, lack of access to the internet (I only got internet in 2020 – it just wasn’t available where I live) and living rurally. I live 3.5 hours north of Winnipeg. In order to rehearse, or access an airport, I have to drive 7 hours return. I also have two daughters. It is difficult sometimes when I’m away from home and I miss them. I am always excited to get back to watch their soccer practice, or hockey games, or whatever activities they have on the go that I miss out on when I’m working.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in the country and I love doing anything that involves being outdoors. IWe have a 55km trail network that is literally less than a mile from my home. In the summer, I love biking, hiking, and running on the trail system. I also love throwing my kayak onto any body of water and paddling. I love boating, fishing, and finding little islands in Lake Manitoba to pull up, make a fire and eat lunch. In the winter, I love ice fishing, snowshoeing and cozying up to my fire with a glass of malbec.
In addition to having Indigenous ancestry, my grandpa was Finnish. I grew up with a sauna and have one at my house. Anyone who comes to visit, has to come for a sauna!
In our area, my favourite dinner spot is TR McKoys in Clear Lake. I order the same thing every single time: their penne with sea scallops and shrimp. It’s done in this amazing sundried tomato curried cream sauce. Mmmmmm. As for breakfast, I love the Ukrainian breakfast at Corrina’s in Dauphin. I mean, how can you go wrong with kolbasa and perogies for breakfast!?
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The person I have learned the most from in music is without question Alan Greyeyes. He worked as the Indigenous Music Development Program Coordinator when I released my first album as an adult. He ran programs that focused on teaching Indigenous artists the business of music to give artists like me a solid foundation upon which to build a music career. I attended many of his conferences/workshops over the years and soaked up as much information as my brain could handle. I still turn to him for guidance from time to time and he’s still just as generous to share what he knows.
K hlady photography, Dauphin, Manitoba (for the car pic)