As promised, Dawn Richard debuts the first single off of her forthcoming album, GoldenHeart, via Interview Magazine. She chats with the magazine about the new album, her past groups Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty Money, and what to expect from her first solo studio release.
While we’re used to the R&B songstress utilizing progressive tribal drums, Dawn shows versatility with “86,” a more melodic, ’80s synth ballad. The song is preceded by a buzz single ”Pretty Wicked Things (PWT).”
For her exclusive feature, she’s styled and interviewed by Marcus Holmlund and photographed by Aaron Stern. Check out photos from the shoot, read a few excerpts from her interview, and listen to “86″ below.
Listen: Dawn Richard – “86″Dawn Richard - 86
On why Danity Kane folded:
“I think they just ran their course. I think the big difference with Danity Kane was that we were manufactured. It wasn’t organic, like sisters coming together and forming a group. I mean, it was a reality show project [Making The Band] that created us—a competition.
We were picked and at a time, we actually had a relationship, or rather, a bond that was tighter than sisters, but that was really just to survive and that’s hard to do when there’s cameras documenting your every move. So many people thought we were a joke because they watched us on the show.
We had to make people believe we were great, and we were, but it was that much harder to prove ourselves because wewere manufactured. We had success, but it ran its course for what it was…”
On why Dirty Money folded:
I think we (Dirty Money) were ahead of our time. I hear a lot of groups and artists coming out now with similar sounds. I think people are just starting to love the sound now. When we came out, Puff tried his best to show the world something different, and I believe it may have been too much for people to digest and understand then. That’s the sad thing about this industry.”
How growing up in New Orleans influences her sound:
“It’s in the drums. There’s definitely that tribal Africana thing going on in my sound. It’s that marching band, second-line music, that Creole-influence in the kick, and the snare that drives everything for me.
I think it’s really what’s separated my sound from a lot of the R&B and pop music out there. It’s what I grew up on.”
On GoldenHeart‘s theme:
“GoldenHeart is like a modern-day Joan of Arc. Think of it like medieval times-cum-2045 or Lancelot and Guinevere in 3025. It’s a new version of these battles—age-old stories for the now.
They’re stories that have always been relatable, and I like to make people dream and think and imagine and learn and study. Nowadays, music is so literal—it’s telling you, ‘This is how it is,’ and my music’s the opposite.
I come from an era where lyrics were full of imagery and metaphor, and that’s all I know. I think people miss that. I’m telling these age-old stories, just in a different way—my way.”
On her biggest musical influences:
“No, I’d have to say Björk and Phil Collins are really the ones I’ve been most inspired by. I like to combine their influence with my urban background—because it is possible, and a lot of folks never thought it was.
I think of it this way—when I’m above and looking down at the world, there is no color, there is no genre, it’s just see through. And that’s what I’m going for.”
On being compared to Brandy:
“I always tell people that I’m honored to hear that, because she’s someone I embrace. What I think is so interesting about it is people are comparing me to a veteran in the game. I haven’t even been in the game 15 years.
I’m only just now about to release my first solo album, so, I’m grateful that they’re saying that. I mean, I know it’s because we have a similar tone [to our voice], and we both share similar influences, like Imogen Heap.
I feel it’s just very human for people to compare anybody to anybody. It’s very natural, but, at the same time, we are very different artists. People need to associate others with others to figure them out. I’m not mad at it—it’s just like Britney and Christina or Rita Ora and Rihanna.
People have to find a way to make it make sense for themselves in order for them to love the music. By the time this album comes out, I think people will hear we’re totally different. I’ll let the music speak for itself.”
The first installment of GoldenHeart, which is a trilogy, is set to release on October 16th.