Dessy Di Lauro and Ric’key Pageot, who’ve been a couple and a creative team for more than a decade, have recently made their musical partnership official in the form of a duo called Parlor Social.

Dessy Di Lauro & Ric’key Pageot Exclusive

“We were a couple first, but the couple actually met through music and we connected through music and started writing together in Montreal. At the time it was just me as a solo artist, but we’ve been doing this for like 10 years now where we’ve been writing together. So the natural thing was to become a duo. We’ve always been that duo,” Di Lauro explained in an exclusive interview with uInterview. “We just decided to come up with a name and change our name and become a duo, make it official.”

Fortunately for Di Lauro and Pageot, despite having occasional disagreements, they’re happy to be working through the creative differences with each other rather than anyone else. They credit their common musical sensibility, understanding of one another and common goals for making it relatively easy for them to work together. For them, it wasn’t hard to settle on a sound that was inspired by the jazz of the 1930s, but thrust into modernity with the themes of the present and technology.

The end result? “Picture this — if Lauryn Hill, OutKast, and Cab Calloway had a love child it would sound like this. That’s basically the best way to describe us in a nutshell,” Pageot says. “It’s 1930s, if 1930s were today, that’s basically what it is. If the 30s had today’s technology, today’s sound, this is how we would sound like. So we’re bringing back — picking up where [Harlem Renaissance musicians] left off basically.”

In addition to preparing to tour on their first album as Parlor Social, Say Hep Hep + This Is Neo-Ragtime, Di Lauro and Pageot are doing a project with Music Heals in Haiti.

“It’s our first time going there [to work with Music Heals] so the initial thing is to just meet the teachers, meet the students. Basically interaction with them and see how they’re doing things, mentoring the kids,” Pageot, who is of Haitian descent, explained. “I’ve been wanting for a long time to be involved in some kind of charity for teaching kids somewhere. […] It’s been something that I’ve been really putting out there to the universe that I really wanted to give back and teach kids.”


Q: What is the project you are doing with Music Heals? -

[Pageot]: Basically, it’s our first time going there so the initial thing is to just meet the teachers, meet the students. Basically interaction with them and see how they’re doing things, mentoring the kids. The week that we go there, the end of that week, specifically... we chose that week because at the end of the week they have their end-of-season concert with the kids. So, we’re most likely gonna work on a song or two with the kids and perform with them at the concert on the Friday.

Q: How did you get involved with the charity? -

[Pageot]: Well, I’ve been wanting for a long time to be involved in some kind of charity for teaching kids somewhere. I don’t know whether it was gonna be in Montreal, whether it was gonna be in L.A. or anywhere, but it’s been something that I’ve been really putting out there to the universe that I really wanted to give back and teach kids. I’ve taught kids privately at the music schools in the past in Montreal, so I haven’t done something like this in a long time with life kind of getting in the way as they say.

[Lauro]: Ric’key actually tours with Madonna and the connection with J/P Hro, which is Sean Penn’s organization, that connection led him to Sarah in Music Heals International.

Q: You are a couple and perform together. Which came first? -

[Lauro]: Well, we were a couple first, but the couple actually met through music and we connected through music and started writing together in Montreal. At the time it was just me as a solo artist, but we’ve been doing this for like ten years now where we’ve been writing together. So the natural thing was to become a duo. We’ve always been that duo.

[Pageot]: We’ve always been a tag team.

[Lauro]: Yeah, so we just decided to come up with a name and change our name and become a duo, make it official. But, yeah, we’ve been doing music and happily doing music and getting along, and not killing each other yet.

[Pageot]: Actually, we’re celebrating our tenth anniversary this December.

Q: What is it like to work as a couple? -

[Lauro]: We don’t really have any — we have disagreements but we don’t really have...

[Pageot]: We have disagreements, but at the end of the day there’s nobody else I’d rather be doing this with because we have the same goals, we have the same musical... We’re on the same wavelength when it comes to music, even as a couple. But I’m saying, like, we understand each other. We share the same goals ,so it makes it so much easier. And who better to do this with than with the person that you love.

[Lauro]: I mean, unless people can’t do it. I’m not saying it works for everybody, but it certainly works for us so we’re happy doing it together.

Q: How would you describe your music? -

[Pageot]: Picture this — if Lauryn Hill, OutKast, and Cab Calloway had a love child it would sound like this. That’s basically the best way to describe us in a nutshell. It’s 1930s, if 1930s were today, that’s basically what it is. If the 30s had today’s technology, today’s sound, this is how we would sound like. So we’re bringing back — picking up where they left off basically.

[Lauro]: We like to tell people it’s not like a novelty, it’s not a throwback, it really is a an influence from the 30s brought into today. So it’s our own sound really.

[Pageot]: It’s a progressive sound.

Q: Why were you inspired by the 1930s? -

[Lauro]: Well, I was raised on all that — that era, the Harlem Renaissance period was sort of a big thing in my household. My parents played a lot of Duke Ellington, a lot of Cab Calloway — Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway were the staples musically for jazz music in my household, so everything from that era and everything from that Harlem Renaissance period was very intriguing to my parents. So I grew up with it and the great thing is that Ric’key was totally immersed in this, and is like big on Duke Ellington, Fats Waller — he loves this music, so it was a natural way to go. Something that had always been in me, but timing is of the essence for everything, I believe.

[Pageot]: It’s feel good music, I mean stride, piano, ragtime, there’s a hunt with it that always makes you feel good the second you hear it. You just wanna dance, you just wanna move your body. That was basically when jazz was pop music. “Sweet Georgia Brown” spent five weeks at number one on the charts you know, stuff like that. So, to me it’s really the fun era of jazz, when it was very social and people went out and danced to jazz music.

[Lauro]: It reached a broader audience back then as well.

Q: When is your residency in LA? -

[Pageot]: Basically, our first performances since I’ve been back from the Madonna tour. So, we’re basically letting go of the old set, the old arrangements that we used to do and we’re coming up with new arrangements. I’m approaching it kind of like a new tour, when you come up with a new tour, you rehearse the entire thing and come up new arrangements for old songs that you’ve been doing, that you don’t want to necessarily remove from your set because they’re kind of like crowd favorites, but you want to reinvent them. That’s the influence of working with the queen of doing that, that’s Madonna. She’s the queen of reinventing her songs. That’s where that comes from, and we’re approaching it that way. We’re excited because we have a lot of new sounds to introduce and new styles as well, musically.