Dawn grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana as a regular girl wanting to make it big. She trained as a dancer through her mother’s dance studio for most of her life, and eventually became a dancer of the New Orleans Hornets NBA team, while attending the University of New Orleans. She was also tied into some lowkey independent record deals where she was signed and recorded music under the name Dawn Angelique, before eventually taking a trip to Orlando, Florida that changed her life forever.
That trip to Orlando, Florida was for an audition for a little MTV show known as ‘Making The Band,’ created by rap mogul Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs. We all know the eventual outcome lead to Dawn Richard making the cut, and becoming a member of the best girl group since 2005, Danity Kane. She even created the name herself (named after an anime character she drew in her comics — yes draws comics as well). Danity Kane went on to become a huge international success with their self-titled first album. Their first single “Show Stopper” went top 10 and the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, eventually going platinum. Their show ‘Making The Band’ top ratings list for MTV every week, and America was in love. The love grew even bigger when the group transformed from an urban-pop American success to a full-fledged international pop group with their second album Welcome To The Dollhouse. Their single “Damaged” was a huge hit which went platinum and their album debuted at #1 again, 236,000 in it’s first week. But then after “Damaged” catapulted them to superstardom, the problems started to emerge. Bigger than life group member Aubrey O’Day started to veer off the DK path and into her own thing, posing for Playboy, slutting up her image, doing Broadway while the group was on touring (missing show dates). The inner workings fo the group started to play out on camera, their boss Diddy grew angry. The girls grew angry at each other and at the politics of their deal, and they eventually split in 2008, after Diddy fired Aubrey O’Day and D. Woods from the group. Hearts of millions were broken, and the greatest thing to happen to pop music in years abruptly ended.
The months after Danity Kane were trying times for Dawn. Her family had lost everything and had relocated from New Orleans to Baltimore because of the horrific Hurricane Katrina. She didn’t have a steady income coming in and she had to support he family, so she just kept writing and writing and sending songs to Puff until he eventually asked her to join and singer Kalenna in a group known as Dirty Money. And the group went on to release one of the best albums in years with Last Train To Paris. The album featured everybody hot in the music industry from Drake to Grace Jones to Chris Brown to Lil Wayne to Justin Timberlake to Usher, and many many more. Sonically, it was so far ahead of it’s time (which is probably the reason why it wasn’t respected like it should have been). Dawn’s star continued to grow as the group delivered hit after hit (“Hello Good Morning,” Coming Home,” “Loving You No More”). But after one album, Diddy decided to disband the amazing grew, which left Dawn in an interesting predicament. She was still signed to Diddy & Bad Boy, but she wasn’t part of a group. She had the option of staying with Bad Boy and Interscope Records as a solo artist, but she didn’t want to be tied to a deal where she would be tied to a contract without putting out music, so she asked Diddy to release her, and surprisingly, he did.
‘Armor On’ EP
We got our first taste of what Dawn is capable of as a solo artist, early in 2012. She had the buzz stemming from Dirty Money and her ‘A Tell-Tale Heart’ Mixtape, but once she met up with producer Druski in 2012, a star was born. Dawn released her ‘Armor On’ EP on March 27, 2012 to rave reviews and huge sales numbers. Though she was (and still is) an independent artist, the EP made it all the way to #1 on the iTunes R&B Albums Chart, which was an insane feat for someone who only has 4 people working for her. The music was next-level; Dawn created a new sound, her niche in the R&B world by combining tribal 808s with haunting synths and dark bass and piano vibes (props to Druski). Lyrically, she was on another level as well, touching on topics like love and the her battle within the industry in an unorthodox, non-commercial way. Aside from the actual music, Dawn delivered some of the best choreographed music videos of the entire year. The girl literally put blood, sweat, and tears into her craft in 2012, and it definitely showed.
Fast forward to 2013, Dawn Richard finally has her own debut solo album in stores, entitled Goldenheart. The album is the first of a trilogy (Set to be followed by BlackHeart and RedemptionHeart) and is sonically AMAZING. When Dawn released the snippets last week, we heard not one bad song. Not one. And with an album with 16 tracks, that’s unheard of. Each song sounds like a great body of work in itself, and collectively the album is a modern masterpiece. And to say that Dawn is releasing this caliber of music as an independent artist, it’s unheard of. Honestly, we feel like GoldenHeart is the best R&B album since Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream, and before that since Adele’s ’21.’ That’s amazing company to be in, and as an independent artist, we have nothing but the UTMOST respect for Dawn Richard. 2013 is set to be a huge year for the singer, and we couldn’t be more proud of what she’s accomplished in her career thus far!
Dawn’s Debut album ‘Goldenheart’ is available online and in stores RIGHT NOW! Support The Movement!