Dawn Richard

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For the Playboy Playmate, see Dawn Richard (model).
Birth name Dawn Angeliqué Richard
Born (1983-08-05) August 5, 1983 (age 33)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Genres R&B, art pop, indietronica, experimental, alternative dance
Occupation(s) Singer, Actress, Animator, Dancer, Songwriter, Record producer,
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, drums
Years active 2005–present
Labels Bad Boy (2005–2012), Our Dawn Entertainment, MBK, RED
Associated acts Danity Kane, Diddy, Diddy-Dirty Money, Dirty Projectors, Eve
Website www.dawnrichard.net www.dawnrichard.tumblr.com

Dawn Angeliqué Richard, known professionally as Dawn Richard or D∆WN (born August 5, 1983), is an American singer-songwriter, actress and animator. Richard started her career after auditioning for Making the Band 3 in 2004, During this time Richard became a member of American girl band Danity Kane, from 2005 to 2009, and reformed the group with 3 of the original 5 members in late 2013. In 2009 Richard joined Diddy-Dirty Money with label head Sean "Diddy" Combs and Kalenna Harper, disbanding in 2011.[1]

In 2011, following her departure from Bad Boy Records, Richard launched her solo career. Her debut album Goldenheart was released on January 15, 2013, by Our Dawn Entertainment; it received universal acclaim from music critics. In 2015 Richard's sophomore album Blackheart peaked at number two on Billboard's Dance/Electronic charts. On November 18, 2016 Dawn released the final installation to her album trilogy REDEMPTION.


Early life[edit]

Richard is of Louisiana Creole and Haitian descent and was born in New Orleans, Louisiana with one brother. She is currently living in Baltimore, Maryland due to being displaced after Hurricane Katrina. Music has played an influential part in her life since early childhood. Her father is Frank Richard, former lead singer and percussionist of the popular Funk/Soul band Chocolate Milk. Her mother owned a dancing school where Dawn spent much of her childhood developing her skills at choreography and singing.

Early on in her teenage life, Richard began performing with a local New Orleans group called "Realiti". Discovered as a solo artist by Kemic A. Smothers at a 2004 live performance at Tipitina's Uptown in New Orleans, Richard was soon signed under the name "Dawn Angelique" to an exclusive recording contract/development deal with Octarve Anderson, Jr. and his Atlanta independent record label, Yeah! Brother Records. Recording in Los Angeles, Atlanta and New Orleans, Dawn Richard and Yeah! Brother records, along with platinum awarded production team The NexMen, Rochad Holiday and Curtis "Sauce" Wilson, crafted a stellar studio solo album called "Been a While", featuring the single "So What" which was co-produced by Ne-Yo. Yeah! Brother Records and its New Orleans management company, Scratch Entertainment, headed by Kemic A. Smothers, Esq., agreed after negotiations with Sean "Diddy" Combs of Bad Boy Records, to postpone release of the album while arranging an immediate release from her exclusive recording contract with Yeah! Brother Records. Although it had no releases and did not chart, the studio album "Been A While" was still good enough to secure her a spot as the opening act for Anthony Hamilton in Tallahassee, Florida. During the recording of "Been A While", she focused on touring and live performances, dance, and becoming an NBA cheerleader for the New Orleans Hornets while attending the University of New Orleans[2]


2005–09: Making the Band 3 and Danity Kane[edit]

Richard live on stage

Richard's "big break" came in 2005 when she auditioned for the MTV show Making the Band 3 in Orlando, where she was chosen to compete for a spot in Combs's future girl group. After the negotiated release from her contract with Yeah! Brother Records, she elevated her career by signing with Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment. She beat out numerous contestants to secure herself a spot, along with Aubrey O'Day, Aundrea Fimbres, Wanita Woodgett (now known as "D. Woods"), and Shannon Bex.

The newly formed group became Danity Kane. The idea for the name of the group came from one of Richard's drawings. An avid fan of manga, while Danity Kane was in the studio, Richard drew a female superhero which caught the attention of Combs. When asked what the character's name was, she replied, "Danity Kane". To Combs, this represented the girls of Making the Band 3. He then decided that it should be the name of the group. The name and story were first introduced during Danity Kane's Total Request Live appearance on June 14, 2006. Richard has also remixed a song with London-based artist Cherri V, titled "Fast Car". The song has since become one of the most listened to songs on Cherri V's MySpace.[citation needed] Early in 2008, a song called "Phase" was leaked onto the Internet and featured Lil Wayne. Although it was buzzed as a Danity Kane track, only Richard's voice was featured on the song, which left speculation that it was a solo demo. In July 2008, two new tracks were released onto the internet, one called "Rush Love" which featured Flo Rida, and another track called "Strobe Light" (written by Mary Brown and produced by Chad Beatz (Tastemaker Music).[3] It is still unknown if this was part of a future solo endeavor. During a MTV News break, it was stated that Richard was working on an untitled comic book. Richard also stated in an interview that she would be releasing a soundtrack for the Danity Kane comic book, to be released in March 2009. Included would be the leaked track "Falls Away". On January 27, 2009, Richard confirmed to MTV News in an interview that Danity Kane had completely split up.[4] In that same interview, she stated that she still considered herself a member of Danity Kane (along with Aundrea Fimbres), and still had hopes that each girl would be willing to work as a group again.[5] On the April 16, 2009, episode of Making the Band, Combs revealed that he released O'Day and Woods, along with Bex, from their contracts, and would be releasing Fimbres as well. He told Richard that she will stay on the label and that if there are any future plans for a new Danity Kane, she will be the only returning member.[6] However, on the April 23, 2009 finale of the series, Combs stated that all five original members would be returning if he ever decides to reunite the group.[7]

2009–11: Diddy-Dirty Money and "The Prelude to a Tell Tale Heart"[edit]

In 2009, Richard began working with Bad Boy Records, writing for artist Cassie and Combs himself. Soon after Danity Kane's breakup, Richard was featured in a commercial on the opposition of California's Prop 8. Richard became a member of the Diddy-Dirty Money collective, which includes Combs and singer/songwriter Kalenna Harper. She featured in Keri Hilson's video for "The Way You Love Me" as "Money". She is the first member of Danity Kane to have released professional music under a major label after their split, with the Dirty Money album.

During 2010, Richard started working heavily on putting the finishing touches on her mixtape, The Prelude to A Tell Tale Heart. Before full mix-tape release Dawn has released a few songs, one of them being "Me Myself & Y" which she released as a promotional single on globalgrind.com.[8] Other are "These Tears", a heavy ballad, and "Let Love In", another ballad with heavy vocal harmonies.[9] The Mix-tape The Prelude to A Tell Tale Heart or alternate title: #ATellTaleHeart[10][11][12] was released February 7, 2011 on her official web-site. There are 15 tracks.[11][13] It called "the prelude to..." because there will be official debut studio album by Dawn Richard entitled A-Tell Tale Heart, which she is working on for past 3 years.[14] She worked with Trendsetter (the producer) on a few tracks for that album.[15][16] Celebrating the release of her mix-tape, Dawn Richard organized several club events. On February 7, 2011 at "Milan" club in Baltimore[17][18] and on February 12, 2011 at PHX – "Nightclub MIXTAPE PARTY RELEASE".[19] On June 19, 2011 a buzz track entitled "Stuck on Mad" was released to the public. Followed by a release of a remix to Frank Ocean's "Novacane". The remix which was co-written by songwriter Intyce, hit the net on June 21, 2011 and reached over 5,000 downloads within a few hours.[20]

2012–13: Armor On and GoldenHeart[edit]

Dawn released the visual for her first promotional single "SMFU (Save Me From U)" on 106 & Park in January 2012. Other promotional singles such as "Fly, Change, and Black Lipstick" came after. She quickly followed with a leading single titled "Bombs". The video was often compared to Beyonce's "Run The World (Girls)" and Nicki Minaj's "Massive Attack". The video shows heavy choreography in a desert. After the success of "Bombs", Richard's next official single from Armor On was released: "Automatic", the most urban record from the EP. The video was released June 18 and premiered on 106 & Park. The following music video was filmed in July 2012. Richard released three video trailers to YouTube for her singles "Faith" as well as "Wild N'Young" which were meshed into one music video released on August 29, 2012 as the final release from Armor On. Richard announced that her major solo debut project will be a trilogy of albums entitled Goldenheart, BlackHeart, and RedemptionHeart. GoldenHeart, the first of the trilogy, was expected to be released October 16, 2012.[21] "SMFU (Save Me from U)" was released on the internet October 31, 2011 and is set to be on the first album. The video was premiered on 106 & Park on January 5, 2012.[22] Druski is the main producer on this entire project. The sound that Dawn is going for is a progressive R&B sound.

In celebration of her one million Twitter followers, Richard introduced the set-up for her album GoldenHeart on July 17, 2012 with a record entitled "Pretty Wicked Things". "It's the story of the beautiful things in life that get ruined by the wicked," explains Dawn, produced and co-written by Armor On collaborator Druski, the track is available on iTunes. "Goldenheart's" was released on January 15, 2013 both in stores and through online retailers. Originally intended for release in October 2012, Richard delayed Goldenheart's release after signing a distribution deal with independent company Altavoz Distribution, which would release physical copies to retailers,[24] and provide a wider marketing reach.[25] The album's lead single,[26] "'86", was released as a digital download on September 26.[27]

Goldenheart was released in the United States on January 15, 2013.[28] Richard released the album independently, as she felt record labels were "taking a bit longer than we want".[24] It debuted at number 137 on the Billboard 200, number 2 on the Top Heatseekers Albums,[29] and number 10 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[30] The album also reached the top of the iTunes Store's R&B chart, which prompted music retailer f.y.e. to preemptively release its physical CD.[29]'Goldenheart received universal acclaim from music critics, who hailed Richard as one of the best new acts in pop and R&B.[31]

2013–15: DK3 and Blackheart[edit]

Dawn was scheduled to release the second installment in her album trilogy, BlackHeart in October 2013, but announced that the album will be released after the Danity Kane project. On New Year's Day of 2014, Dawn's unreleased music video for "Riot/Northern Lights" was leaked online. The video was originally shelved back in May 2013 after her and producer Drew Scott parted ways. The video received positive reviews as it continued where the "86" music video left off. During the 2013 MTV VMAs pre-show, the four remaining members of Danity Kane announced that they were reuniting and returning on their own terms without Diddy. Original group member D. Woods did not take part in the reunion. The groups first official reunion single, "Lemonade", was released on the Internet via SoundCloud. The single was produced by The Stereotypes, and features rapper Tyga over a production sampled from "Grindin'", the 2002 hit song by Clipse. On May 16, 2014, the first night of their #DKNoFilter Tour after performing several songs with Danity Kane, Fimbres announced that she would be leaving the group at the end of their tour, and O'Day, Bex, and Richard would be continuing on as a trio. On August 4, 2014 while in a Los Angeles recording studio, a fight ensued in which Richard allegedly punched O'Day. After days of speculation, O'Day and Bex released a public statement announcing the group's second disbandment. Despite the group's break-up, their third album, DK3, was released on October 27, 2014. On October 29, 2014, two days after the DK3 album release, Richard debuted the music video for her lead single "Blow" to Vevo. Along with the video, she announced the new release date for her sophomore album "Blackheart", January 15, 2015. [57][32]

2015–present: Redemption, Infrared EP[edit]

On September 28, 2015, Dawn debuted Dance, which served as the first single from The Red Era. About the single she said: "I wanted to create a vibrant atmosphere, The Red Era is about moving on, redeeming yourself, and finding redemption. The official music video premiered on October 5, 2015 mashed with "Billie Jean" from Blackheart.[33] On January 29, 2016 Not Above That was released to digital retailers as the official second single from the album. On March 12, 2016 D∆WN started her REDEMPTION Live show tour and was chose to perform the first ever YouTube live 360 performance.[34] On August 10, 2016 Dawn made a cameo appearance on Season 2 of Rosewood (TV series) with Morris Chestnut and Gabrielle Dennis. On September 15, 2016, Dawn began filming the lead role, Joyce, in the 2017 movie "Kinky" written by Jean-Claude Lamarre. In addition to Dawn in the lead starring role, the film also stars Robert Ri'chard, Gary Dourdan and Vivica A. Fox. November 10, 2016 Redemption was made available to stream exclusively on NPR one week ahead of its release. The album was officially released on November 18, 2016. Richard is the first artist to have a USB necklace album. She provided guest vocals on the song "Cool Your Heart" from Dirty Projectors' self-titled album, which was released February 21, 2017.

Personal life[edit]

Richard is vegan since 2013. She posed naked for a PETA ad campaign promoting the lifestyle.[35]


Danity Kane, Day26, and Donnie J. Klang were aired together on the second season of Making the Band 4. The series showed the two groups doing performances, living together, and the relationships between members of the bands. During the series, it showed Richard's relationship with Day26's Qwanell Mosley grow, and the two enter into a romantic relationship. The two broke up after a 5-year relationship. Richard went on to say it was Mosley's infidelity that broke them up in a radio interview for "Sway in the Morning".

Other ventures[edit]


In 2013 Richard partnered with Coco & Breezy to release her own line of sunglasses to accompany her debut album. In 2014 she launched a capsule collection of women's shoes via Lust for Life and a new addition of shades to accompany the Blackheart album release. In 2016 Dawn released a limited edition sterling silver and red USB necklace to accompany the trilogy finale REDEMPTION.

Adult Swim[edit]

Dawn began working with Adult Swim during summer 2016 as a Content Creator.


with Danity Kane
with Diddy – Dirty Money
Solo albums



  1. ^ "Dawn Richard Talks 'Armor On' EP, Departure from Bad Boy". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  2. ^ "Dawn Richard at MySpace". Retrieved 2011-03-11. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (2009-01-28). "Danity Kane Have Split Up, Dawn Richard Says. 'It's devastating for me,' Richard says of the 'Making the Band' group's dissolution". MTV. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  5. ^ Video version of January 27, 2009 MTV interview.
  6. ^ Making the Band, MTV (2009-04-16). Retrieved on 2009-04-16.
  7. ^ Making the Band, MTV (2009-04-23). Retrieved on 2009-04-23.
  8. ^ [2] Archived February 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "DawnRichardBlog.com; The Official Website and Blogging Playground of the Singer and Songwriter". Dawnrichardblog.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Mixtape Download: Dawn Richard – "#Atelltaleheart"". Concreteloop.Com. February 7, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "New Music: Dawn Richard – '#ATELLTALEHEART' [Mixtape]". Rap-Up.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  12. ^ "New Mixtape: Dawn Richard '#ATellTaleHeart'". VIBE. February 7, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  13. ^ "// Dawn Richard Releases Mixtape "A Tell Tale Heart" | Soul Sessions". Blogs.centrictv.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Get Futuristic "A Tell Tale Heart" By Dawn Richard « Get Futuristic". Getfuturistic.wordpress.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Mark Holiday Confirms Producing Songs for Dawn Richard". Bad Boy Blog. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Exclusive Interview With Dawn Richard. Via Get Futuristic « Get Futuristic". Getfuturistic.wordpress.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Twitter / Dawn Richard / NEON: Tonight..We r celebratin t". Twitter. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Dawn Richard To Host Private Mixtape Release At Milan – Baltimore Metro, MD Local News". Fwix.com. September 19, 2001. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  19. ^ "DawnRichardBlog.com; The Official Website and Blogging Playground of the Singer and Songwriter". Dawnrichardblog.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  20. ^ "New Music: Dawn Richard – 'Stuck on Mad'". Rap-Up.com. June 19, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Dawn Richard Tumblr". OurDawn Entertainment. August 21, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  22. ^ "New Music Premiere: Dawn Richard – 'SMFU (Save Me From U)'". Rap-Up.com. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  23. ^ "Dawn Richard - Gleaux - Listen". DJBooth. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Kennedy, Gerrick D. (January 22, 2013). "Dawn Richard goes solo and hits a high note with 'GoldenHeart'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ Gubbels, Jason (January 16, 2013). "Dawn Richard, 'GoldenHeart' (Altavoz)". Spin. New York. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  26. ^ "New Music: Dawn Richard – '86'". Rap-Up. Calabasas. September 25, 2012. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  27. ^ "'86: Dawn Richard: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  28. ^ Nero, Mark Edward (January 20, 2013). "R&B News N Rumors: 01/20/13 Edition". About.com. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b Hampp, Andrew. "Dawn Richard's 'NLX': Exclusive Song Premiere". Billboard. New York. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  30. ^ Pryor, Jocelynn (February 22, 2013). "Independent Artists from Super D Independent Distribution (SDID) Heat Up the Billboard Charts" (Press release). Irvine: PRWeb. Archived from the original on February 24, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  31. ^ Hyden, Steven (January 30, 2013). "Is Dawn Richard's Goldenheart Already the Album of the Year?". Grantland.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Dawn Richard Readies 'BlackHeart' for October". Rap-Up. 2013-06-17. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 
  33. ^ "Dawn Richard - Billie Jean x Dance". VEVO. October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2015. 
  34. ^ "D∆WN: the first ever YouTube Live 360 performance," [3], 20 April 2016.
  35. ^ "Dawn Richard Goes Vegan, Strips for PETA," Uptown, 23 July 2015.
  36. ^ "Dawn Richard". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 

External links[edit]