July 18, 2024

Dawn Richard of Diddy’s R&B girl group Danity Kane has a new LP and attitude

Dawn Richard thegrio.com
Danity Kane’s Dawn Richard is back on the scene (Photo by Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images)

Dawn Richard is older, wiser and no longer caring what anyone thinks of her.

Richard, 35, is reuniting with Danity Kane— the urban pop girl group put together in the third season of Sean “Diddy” Combs’ reality sereies “Making the Band” that launched her into a pop star a dozen years ago— for a tour, even as she took the blame for the group’s prior breakups.

This feels different, Richard told The Los Angeles Times.

“We have an understanding of who, and what, we are,” Richard says of her band mates, who are also working on new projects, according to The Times. “In the beginning, I cared so much what people thought. I wanted to make it so bad,” she said. “But I don’t really care anymore. I don’t care if people get it. I’ve learned that there are acquired tastes— and I’m one.”

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That refreshing, independent mindset is what makes Richard’s work compelling in the first place. It is what is driving her fifth LP, “new breed”, which comes out this week. What we can expect is more of the singer-songwriter’s (who performs as DAWN) quintessential style, which she calls “genderless, colorless and genreless” after she found success with Danity Kane and a hip-hop project known as Diddy-Dirty Money.

Richard writes deeply heartfelt songs about pain, loss and triumph which is culled from her own life story. Her family was left homeless after Hurricane Katrina ravaged her community. She received her big break on “Making the Band,” when Diddy recognized her talent and put together the girl group.

Danity Kane made history as the first girl group to consecutively debut albums at No. 1 before the group was disbanded after Combs fired two members of the group.

But Richard took her shot and ran with it. Under Combs’ mentorship, she sang and wrote songs for his hip-hop fusion project, Diddy-Dirty Money. In 2011, Richard put out her own R&B mixtape R&B called The Prelude to a Tell Tale Heart and more than one million people downloaded the song in the first month.

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Since 2011, she continues to release music as an indie artist. But now, she is hoping for mainstream success.

“It’s all a numbers game,” Richard told The LA Times, when she was asked why major opportunities have eluded her. “People don’t want to take risks on things they haven’t seen a trend happen for.

“Every day that I walk out the door as a Black woman in this industry I am taking a big risk. To walk out into the world as a woman of color and try to innovate in a world where there is no color at all is such a risk. Black women are already ostracized and looked at negatively, so everything we do is a risk. … Every time we are counted against. That’s the hard part.”

With “new breed,” Richard hopes her innovation pays off in a big way. But even if it doesn’t, she no longer cares and is staying true to herself.

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