Haitian American artist Dawn Richard knows both sides of the music business. As a former member of both Danity Kane and Dirty Money, she’s seen the heights of a pop star and the sometimes lows of being an unsigned independent artist. But with the success of her Armor On EP and her upcoming disc, GOLDENHEART, she’s turned many-a-naysayers into believers. In the latest issue of ROLLING OUT, the New Orleans native talks about growing as a solo artist and what she’s done to establish a trusting support system as she builds her story through music. And chick looks fly as always while doing so. Here are the highlights:
On how she’s grown as an artist:
With music, and as well as me as a woman, I think that I have grown tremendously. I think that a lot of it has to do with being around great people, starting with Danity Kane and “Making the Band” … being thrown out there without warning, it really caused me to grow up really fast. I always describe my situation with Danity Kane and then to Dirty Money as me going from high school to college. And now with me being a solo artist, I’m ready to go out into the world and start my own career. Danity Kane groomed me for Dirty Money and what that process was like as a songwriter having to work with such amazing people like Grace Jones, Nicki Minaj, Bilal, T.I., Justin Timberlake — just all of these amazing people that I worked with on the Dirty Money project. And then to be a solo artist, and not having a label, I’ve had to take everything that I learned before, and apply it to my current situation. Because of that, I think that I have grown tremendously. I think that it has prepared me to do this alone with just five people.
On life as a solo artist after Danity Kane and Dirty Money:
It was a rude awakening. But it’s like I said before … It’s like going to college, and then having everything hand fed to you, only to get out into the real world to apply for a job, only to realize that 30 other people have a lot more experience than you. Even though you have all of these great degrees, you still have to go out and prove yourself. This is the same thing to me. I’m up for the challenge … I’ve always been one to smile in the face of danger, so this is just another obstacle that I have to cross.
On keeping a loyal support team around:
Easy, I can smell fake from 10 miles away. If it looks fake, if it smells fake, it is fake. Plain and simple, I don’t want “yes people” around me; I want smart people around me. With that being said, that’s why there are five people around me. A lot of people want to be with you and tell you “yes” to get where you are and steal the shine. You have to keep your circle tight, because if you don’t and you let everybody in, you’ll contaminate what’s pure about the whole art. Whatever is innocent, pure, raw and honest will be tainted by something that’s fake and dry and stupid. I don’t want to do that, so if you’re “yessing me” then good-bye; we can be friends from 70 feet away. I need someone who’ll tell me the truth.
On why listeners should buy her album:
I don’t have a pitch. If you want something different, buy it … it’s not even mad deep, it’s good music. I’m not here to sell you an idea; I’m here to give you good music. Now, whether or not you want to buy it, it’s up to you. I personally think that people want something new … I’m just some of that new s— — it’s that simple. I think people are tired of being sold an idea or being told to do something. I want them to figure it out for themselves. I want them to see this, hear it, buy it, check it out online, and then make their own decision about whether or not they like it. If you like great music, I think you should buy this album. I’m just doing what I can do to make this message the best it can be, but I’m not here to pitch you anything … – source
Dawn’s album GOLDENHEART is expected to drop January 15, 2012.