Article Review

Desirée Dawson: Meet You At The Light

Imagine how full it will feel to hear crowds singing along to these arrangements.

Meet You At The Light is the title of west coast singer-songwriter Desirée Dawson‘s new EP.

“Meet You At The Light” is also the title of track two. The musical arrangement up to that point is big but sparse. It emphasizes the vocal harmonies with only piano, synth bass, and some ambient animal chirps.

Here’s what her team writes about the project, which has seven tracks but an EP-length runtime at 21 minutes:

“Grounded and expansive, Desirée Dawson’s Meet You At The Light is a vocal-focused offering with a heartbeat giving each listener the space to breathe in every lyric and harmony. A gentle yet powerful reflection on honouring ancestors, reminding us we are here because of all of those who came before us.

Desiree Dawson photo for Meet You At The Light release
photography and press releases contributed by Uwido Music

Desirée Dawson’s team for Meet You At The Light

The leader of that team is Francis Arevalo, who started doing business in our city as Uwido Music this year.

Engineer Olivia Quan has a co-production credit alongside Arevalo and Dawson. Quan tracked and mixed the music at Afterlife Studios with bassist-engineer Erik Nielsen and with Brendan Guy, who has also worked with singer-songwriter Jasper Sloan Yip, assisting.

Elisa Pangsaeng at CPS Mastering provided the final masters, while Arevalo and Dawson collaborated on the visuals.

All three interlude tracks (1,3,5) have Dawson sharing the writer’s credits with fellow vocalist Janelle Reid.

Reid also co-wrote the standout track “Unrequited” alongside Matt Storm and the closer “I Am Here” with Arevalo.

The title song and “Mountain Tops” are collaborations between Dawson, Arevalo, and Quan, with violinist Sejal Lal also co-writing for the latter.

“Meet You At The Light” came out as a single before the EP release and features another silhouetted image of Dawson in a coast mountain paradise.

More information from Uwido Music about Dawson:

Desirée Dawson is a recording artist, songwriter, producer and yoga teacher. Desiree was born, raised and is currently residing on the, occupied, traditional, unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations (also known as “Vancouver BC”) and can often be found sharing her music internationally.

Desiree is very passionate about music’s role in collective healing, by encouraging listeners to find a connection within themselves and the people and land around them. A CBC radio favorite, Desirée’s music has been featured on numerous CBC programs, has her songs on regular rotation and won the CBC Searchlight contest in 2016.

Over the last couple years, Desirée has been chosen for numerous high profile opportunities across the industry, whether as a songwriter in the Discovery Song Camp with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, participant in the Allan Slaight JUNO Masterclass, artist in the Vancouver Folk Fest, juror in the inaugural Black Canadian Music Awards, or various sync placements.

Desirée passionately supports her community through a variety of music-based workshops and gatherings. Whether performing solo with her baritone ukulele, in harmony with her band or leading sound healing workshops, Desirée’s music is made to get us feeling and healing.

Dawson and Arevalo collaborated previously on the 2020 single “Move On”:

Grant funding

Additionally, Dawson has been successful at securing music grants over the past few years.

She won $8,000 in funding this year from Amplify BC’s Career Development program and listed her city as Surrey.

She also won $10,000 from the same back in 2018 and $7,384 from FACTOR’s Juried Sound Recording program in 2020.

Adding Uwido Music to Dawson’s team shows that her business success can level-up again soon.

Back to Meet You At The Light

Ukulele enters for track four, “Unrequited”, and is the sole instrument beneath voices. “Love is my favourite place to go,” Dawson sings. “Love is the only place I really know.”

Organ, and then Lal’s strings, shine on track six, “Mountain Tops”. But the spotlight stays on Dawson’s voice, as it does throughout the entire EP.

Imagine how full it will feel to hear crowds singing along to these arrangements.

Somehow it strips down even further for the final track, “I Am Here” and its mantra “I forgive myself”. You can hear water running through a creek behind soft chords.

Dawson has released over a dozen singles to streaming before Meet You At The Light, give or take several remixes. This EP sounds lush, even with few pieces in each track. It keeps my focus on Dawson’s message of healing.

The parts that I keep thinking about are:

  • the counter-melody ukulele on “Unrequited”
  • the refrains of “Do you know who you are?” with tender responding strings in “Mountain Tops”

It all adds up to a body of work that I’m excited to watch and was happy to discover!

Choose your streaming platform here to listen to Meet You At The Light by Desirée Dawson.

By Will Chernoff

William Ross Chernoff—known as Will to friends and colleagues—is a jazz musician, podcaster, YouTuber, and writer. He records and performs under his own name, William Chernoff.