Desirée Bassett performing at the Palace Theater in Stafford Springs, CT on April 27, 2013
|Birth name||Desirée Apolonio Bassett|
September 7, 1992 |
New Haven, Connecticut
|Origin||Ashford, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Genres||Hard rock, R&B, blues, pop|
|Occupation(s)||Guitarist, singer, songwriter|
|Instruments||Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals|
|Labels||Desirée Bassett LLC (independent)|
|Associated acts||Desirée and the Time Machine|
Desirée Apolonio Bassett (born September 11, 1992) is an American rock music guitarist and recording artist. Considered a child prodigy, she has performed alongside mainline performers such as Sammy Hagar, Ted Nugent, Living Colour, Barry Goudreau, the Marshall Tucker Band and members of the Allman Brothers Band. She was named "Best Musician" by Talent America in 2005, has released two studio albums and has performed on both coasts of the United States.
Bassett was born in New Haven, Connecticut to Daniel (who also acts as her manager) and Myrna Bassett. At 2 years old, Bassett's musical ability was encouraged by her parents after hearing her sing herself to sleep singing Reba McEntire songs. A year later, she began playing a half-size Lotus guitar. Her father recalls when she surpassed his ability at guitar when, at 4½, she was correcting his playing mistakes. The defining moment for him came after listening to his daughter play an intricate Joe Satriani song that he himself had spent almost ten years to learn, without success:
By the time she was 5, her father began training her on a full-sized 1983 Ibanez Roadstar II. At 8, she played her first competition at the local fair grounds playing a Joe Satriani cover, coming in second place. At the age of 9, she began taking singing and guitar lessons at the University of Connecticut music program, where it was discovered she had perfect pitch and could play by ear. She soon began giving lessons herself. Bassett counts among her influences Jeff Beck, Rik Emmett, Jimi Hendrix, Reba McEntire, the Allman Brothers and her personal idol Joe Satriani.
In 2005, Bassett was voted Talent America's "Musician of the Year" in New York City. After Bassett performed on the side stage at Ozzfest in Hartford, CT, Bassett started playing open microphone events around Connecticut. Bassist Doug Wimbish discovered Bassett at an open mic in Hartford, Connecticut and invited her to play at his annual Wim-Bash the following night. Now[when?] she plays shows in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont and performs alongside artists like Living Colour, Andy Aledort, some members of the Allman Brothers Band, Johnny Vibrato, Pete Scheips Band, and the XY Eli Band[clarification needed]. Bassett, in August 2005, recorded five songs, performing all of the instruments; selling several hundred copies of the self-made CD.
In September 2005, Bassett played an event at the Meriden Motorcycle Club and an event in Ashford. Local musicians in the area heard her play, many later offering their services as band members. The resulting group, the Time Machine, was initially composed of bassist David Stoltz (later Rob Laramie), a former member of the Dickey Betts Band and Robert Gottfried. By November, she had built a local following. In December 2005 she took second place at the Olympics of Entertainment in New York City. She played gigs in Hartford CT, with Kal David, Andy Aledort, and the band Living Colour before several hundred fans. Shortly afterwards, she performed at the 2006 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. Sponsorship followed from Peavey Amps., Schecter Guitar Research, and production agreements from Nova Sound Studios and Long View Farm Studios recording studios in North Brookfield, Massachusetts. When she returned the following year to play at the NAMM Show, she was introduced as "the future of rock and roll."
In 2008, Bassett sat in with the Marshall Tucker Band at a benefit concert in Willimantic, Connecticut, and began developing her first CD, Power & Force. During production, she continued performing locally, and in August 2008, opened for Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray Vaughan's brother. Shortly afterward, Bassett played lead guitar for Sammy Hagar and his band at the MGM Grand Foxwoods Casino.
Power & Force
Bassett released her first CD in 2008, at the age of 16. The CD was later remixed and remastered, renamed and released as Power & Force Volume II just before 2009. Darkside, a Russian online music magazine noted that the live-performance release demonstrated Bassett's youthful agility and little else, calling attention to the repetitive arrangement of "riff, solo, riff, solo, etc." After the release of Power & Force Vol. II, Bassett began working on her third CD while playing at the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. That month, Bassett also performed at the Woodstock's 40th anniversary music festival where she covered Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" with original percussionist Geraldo Velez on drums, ending the night with the song "Purple Haze". Shortly afterwards, she formed the independent label, "Desirée Bassett LLC" with her father. Her band, Desirée and The Time Machine, is Robert Gottfried and Robert Laramie, who replaced Stolz in 2008.
Cirque du Soleil
For 3 years, Bassett performed as the lead guitarist on tour with Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour which premiered in Montreal on October 2, 2011. With Bassett on Lead Guitar, the tour has performed over 400 shows in North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The tour has been labeled by Billboards as the 9th Highest Grossing Tour in History. Bassett is seen during many scenes of the show but is most recognizable during the 'Why You Wanna Trip On Me' solo as well as the infamous 'Beat It' Solo where she battles a cellist during the song. The show closed after over 400 performances on August 31, 2014 in Guadalajara, Mexico. 
Themes and musical style
Bassett considers herself primarily an instrumental player, citing the influence of Satriani's music on her. In Power & Force II, she sings on just three of the 10 songs — "Another Day," "Never Back Down" and "Love Her"; her third album will feature lyrics in about half of the 13 tracks.
In their evaluation of Power & Force, the Russian online music magazine Darkside notes that Bassett's style of play "brings back some echoes of such masters of rock guitar, like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page."
Bassett attended E. O. Smith High School in Storrs, Connecticut, graduating in 2010. She has a brother, Justin and a younger sister Jessica, a musician as well who occasionally acts as backup singer.
Bassett has stated in interviews that after high school she intends to pursue her college education at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts while continuing to perform, though she has applications in at other universities.
- Power & Force (2008)
- Power & Force Vol. II (2009)
- A Bit Above (2010)
- Dr. Matt Warnock. "Interview with Guitar Prodigy Desirée Bassett". Reston, VA: Guitar international.
- Franklin, Kelly-Ann (23 December 2009). "Young guitarist plays with 'power and force'". Entertainment. Norwich, CN: Norwich Bulletin.
- "Desirée's Biography". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "Desirée Bassett". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "An interview with Desirée Apolonio Bassett". Interviews. Southern Fried Magazine. 11 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- Sarah Wesley-Lemire (June 2009). "Jammin': You might not know who Desireé Bassett is yet...but you will". Listen. Hartford, CN: Hartford Magazine. pp. 74–74.
- Wesley-Lemire, Sarah (June 2009). "Jammin'". Hartford Magazine (Connecticut). pp. 74–75. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- "'A Local Legend,' She Can Play The Guitar: 15-year-old Working On An Album". 26 November 2007.
- Iggy (15 December 2009). "Iggy with Desirée Bassett". Webster Groves, MO: KNFS.com.
- "Sammy Hagar & Desirée Bassett Mgm Grand Foxwoods 7-20-08". LaFango. 7 January 2010.
- "Featured Junior/Teen Artist ~ March 2007".
- Lisa Smith Cotharn (23 July 2009). "Desirée Bassett: Best Girl Guitarist". The End Zone. Blogspot.
- Hammett, Kirk Lee. "Desireé Bassett & the time Machine" (in Russian).
- "Desiree Bassett performs". Desiree Bassett performs. ConnecticutStyle. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- Warnock, Matt. "Interview with Guitar Prodigy Desirée Bassett". Guitar International.