The tradition of incredible guitar players creating a buzz in the music industry continues. We would like to introduce Desiree’ Apolonio Bassett a rising star in the making. We have been following her journey on Facebook as a touring member in Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal Tour. After seeing some of Desiree’s YouTube videos where she has had the opportunity to jam with some of the finest musicians in rock history at such a young age we saw some serious potential. Desiree’ has just completed a three year tour with Cirque du Soleil and has some big future plans. Digital Guitar Player’s editor Stan Sher had a chance to catch up with Desiree’ for an interview to learn more about this talented musician and what the future brings.
Digital Guitar Player: How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Desiree Apolonio’ Bassett: I started at 3 years old. My dad played guitar a lot. I would always be sitting on the couch and watching him play. We were listening to bands like Triumph, Reba McEntire, Boston and the Allman Brothers Band.
DGP: Tell us about some of your equipment? (Guitars, Amps, Effects)
DAB: I play 2008 Reissues of 1969 semi hollow chambered Gibson Les Paul guitars. I am sponsored by Gibson and even have a couple of SG models. I use Marshall JBM 410s for my amplifiers. When it comes to effects I use a Zakk Wylde Wah, Zakk Wylde Overdrive, Boss distortion and many others pedals that can compliment my sound.
DGP: Who are some of your favorite guitar players?
DAB: Some of my favorite players include Joe Satriani, Rik Emmett, Dickey Betts, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix. My dad is a huge inspiration to me because it was him that introduced me to music and guitar at a young age.
DGP: Does your dad play in a band too?
DAB: No. He mostly just manages me and he plays with my band sometimes.
DGP: Tell us about the experience working with Cirque de Soleil.
DAB: When I started I had just finished high school and was working as a custodian. I was also playing local shows with my band. One day I was ironically listening to MJ and my dad gets a call from Greg Phillinganes who is a session musician that worked with Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and Toto. He was picking musicians for this project and saw my YouTube videos. My dad had presented me with the news about this opportunity and I was surprised. I had to wrap my head around this news because it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
DGP: How were the rehearsals?
DAB: Rehearsals took two month and we would be working from about 10:00 am to as long as 2:00 am some days. We would be rehearsing and recording tracks. If we made mistakes we would start over. It was hard work but I enjoyed every step of it.
DGP: How long did you play on tour?
DAB: We were on tour around the world for three years.
DGP: What kind of doors do you think this tour has opened for you?
DAB: This has opened a lot of doors. I started at 18 and not many people can say that. Here I was just graduating from high school and I was the youngest member of this family playing with 150 people. It was a large family and we were all very close. At the end it was emotional and hard to have it end. However, I built lifelong relationships and will always remember this incredible experience.
DGP: Tell us about your band.
DAPB: Desiree’ & The Time Machine is my band and we play a lot of local shows. I hope to be able to start touring more soon.
DGP: What other musicians have you played with?
DGP: I love Living Colour. I actually seem them play at least once a year. I actually met the drummer, Will Calhoun at a King’s X concert a few weeks back. How did you land a chance to play with them?
DAB: I was 12 years old and Doug Wimbish was at the bar where I played, Sully’s Pub in Hartford, CT. I was invited to play a song or two at Wimbash, an event hosted by Living Colour bassist Doug Wimbish. It was the first time I had a chance to play with a major band. I later was invited to play with Living Colour.
DGP: I noticed you covering a Joe Satriani song on YouTube. Have you ever played with Joe Satriani?
DAB: No. However, it has always been a goal for me to one day play a song or two with Joe Satriani.
DGP: Now that Cirque de Solel is over what are your plans for the future?
DAB: My plan is to work on another CD or EP. We are also working on putting together a small tour. I have always wanted to tour with my band.
DGP: What are some of your other hobbies?
DAB: I have many things that I enjoy including dirt biking, fishing, hunting, making jewelry and photography.
DGP: What was your favorite place to travel to?
DAB: My top favorite places were Japan, Germany and New Zealand.
DGP: Where do you yourself with your music career in the next 5 years?
DAB: I see myself touring for a long time. It is not just for the satisfaction of playing. I want to inspire people and represent myself as a positive role model not just for kids but people from older generations as well. I want everyone to believe in himself or herself and know that they can accomplish anything without having to aspire to doing negative things.
DGP: Anyone else in your family a musicians?
DAB: My mom sings and my sister is multi talented playing various instruments.
DGP: Well Desiree’ it has been such an honor meeting you and talking with you. I know I am truly inspired by you. On behalf of Digital Guitar Player we want to thank you for taking some time to talk to us and we wish you all of the best in the future. We are huge fans and look forward to supporting your next journey in the music world.