Braden McMakin

Talent show winner Dessa Outman (11) performs her original song, “Don’t Let Me Go”, at the winter pep assembly.

Shaped By Music

Talent show winner Dessa Outman shares her growth as a songwriter

Dessa Outman’s safe place consists of simply her notebook, pencil and guitar.

“I feel this need to decipher my own emotions. [Songwriting] is sort of a release for me,” Outman said. “It helps me understand how I’m feeling, how I feel about other people and how to deal with that. It’s my therapy.”

An aspiring musician, Outman, a junior, won Liberty’s second talent show and performed her original song “Don’t Let Me Go” at the Winter Pep Assembly. Her passion for songwriting, however, started long before she had the chance to step on stage.

Outman first remembers sitting on the floor of her bedroom as a child, listening and singing along to Hannah Montana songs on her radio. In second grade she discovered Taylor Swift.

“I was like, ‘she’s so good because she writes her own music’,” Outman said. Shortly after she was inspired to write her first song.

Now, songwriting has become an essential part of Outman’s everyday life. While some use writing as an escape, she has found that it helps her process life’s ups and downs. When her emotions are at a peak, she sits down and plays her guitar. She then writes the lyrics in order, beginning with the first verse and leading into the chorus.

“I normally go with the chords first and try to find a sound that fits how I’m feeling,” Outman said. “Then I try to say how I’m feeling, which is the most challenging part.”

Though finding the right words can be difficult, the second she grasps them Outman is able to create something beautiful. She is most proud of her lyrics “I’ll mold myself to you so our pieces fit together even though I know they’re not supposed to” and “I wanna know how you did it, how you draped this love on top of me ever so carefully.”

Following recent talent show success, Outman remains humble. Having no idea she was going to win, the sound of her name echoing through the auditorium was a pleasant surprise.

“There were so many incredible musicians in that talent show. It’s insane,” Outman said. “I would love to play with any of them.”

Outman is working diligently so she can pursue a career in music outside of high school. From recording to performing at open mic nights, she is beginning to make a name for herself in the community while growing as an artist. Junior Julia Bailey, a friend of Outman, has watched her flourish into the musician she is today. Bailey has been supportive throughout Outman’s journey and listens to songs she creates.

“She’s really talented,” Bailey said. “I think if she tries hard and puts in the effort she can really make it as a musician.”

When asked if she plans to become a singer/songwriter, a smile appeared on Outman’s face.

“It would be my dream job,” Outman said. “I don’t know if it will go anywhere. I think I’m just going to see where it takes me.”

Though Outman’s future is unknown, one thing is for certain: music has shaped Dessa Outman into the person she is today, forever engraving handwritten melodies onto her heart.

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