Rising like some sort of pop music phoenix Dawn Richard has shaken off the ashes of what was once a promising and semi nostalgic return to girl group Danity Kane to emerge for the second time as the one to keep your eye on. Not only is she a clever business woman Dawn delivers on the promise of her inherent talent with a new cutting edge electronica/R&B/EDM album unabashedly displaying her unique artistic flair that transcends genres and labels. Here in her latest effort, she not only dropped a new album but somehow had time to put together a music video with some truly groundbreaking visuals, The Tide. This video follows the previous release Blow which has been revamped for the new album Blackheart.
When DK4 morphed into Dk3 Richard served up a memorable hook on the now ironic Lemonade single. Then Danity Kane finally succumbed to the problems that they never seemed to exorcise and DK3 became a hallowed out shell of sisterhood. Dawn Richard stepped right back into her main hustle. This, as if you didn’t already know is….. Herself. After all the drama and unnecessary messiness of a catfight Dawn’s pressed the reset button and delivered Blackheart, an album that she promised her fans way back in 2012. Dawn Richard is one of the few musicians that has fans begging her to “take their money”. Her last album Goldenheart was a creative highpoint with reviews like “dazzling and imperious” and “remarkably, Richard’s array of sonic weapons matches her epic, elemental vision” in The Guardian and Huffington Post Dawn was poised for the 2nd release in her trilogy of albums. Instead she decided to shelve that project for the DK reunion. It is now evident that the ambitious Blackheart and Redemption projects were simply put on pause but not forgotten.
One cannot help but be motivated, impressed and even moved by Dawn Richard’s unrelenting spirit and determined heart. The effortlessness in her moves is what really impresses. Instead of stalking her detractors online and complaining on social media she went to work (take note Tyga and Lil Wayne). Her drive and talent didn’t need an explanation or excuses and she didn’t give any and that’s a maturity and depth of thought a lot of today’s artists are missing. No label, no cosign, no group, and plenty of pressed haters and Dawn stands undefeated and seemingly unfazed by it all. She doesn’t need a label. She is her label. When fans can describe your music as “the sonic union of minds, through a ceremonial exchange of electric strings, percussion, and synths” you can’t deny Dawn Richard is a brand unto herself. She is no prefabricated mainstream approved role model but Dawn is someone we should pay attention to. She is not flaw free, on the contrary she has made mistakes and has faced professional and personal obstacles but she faces those missteps head on. While the incident with the DK members was truly disappointing what interested me was the way Dawn handled the conflict; she admitted the part she played in it, apologized and encouraged people to focus on the positive outcome of the reunion which turned out to be a much longed for and appreciated Danity Kane album. People in the entertainment industry send a lot of confusing and sometimes conflicting messages. To be 100% honest, we don’t have a lot to emulate in the people put on pedestals by the pop media but patience, hard work and being true to your dreams is something we all need to learn.
One has to admire the fact that no one, I mean nobody; no circumstance or impediment will stop Dawn from going forward. She may look back but she never steps back, her eyes are always fixed on the future. In the two months after the demise of Danity Kane’s comeback Dawn Richard had co-written and produced a dance single, shot a music video, designed a shoe collection, completed an album plus collaborated with mixed media artist Caleb Hahne on the cover art!
Dawn’s diehard fans (The Hearts) continuously praise her for making music packed with themes and messages that make them feel, “uneasy, confused and uncomfortable” because it’s also a sound that’s “beyond creative and unique”. And its true Blackheart is different but good because in today’s music scene difference is good. After listening to this latest album, I truly had to ask myself if I had done enough with all the angst in my life if this thoroughly entertaining album is the result of all the strife Dawn has been through. Ms. Richard is bold, dangerous and independent just what the music industry needs. The production by Noisecastle III is a daring and a deliberate reimagining of the music to vocalist relationship. At times the music seems to sing for Dawn and in moments her voice is used as a flawless accent to the production. For all the appearance of chaos in songs like the stand out Billie Jean or Calypso there’s an order that seamlessly blends into a cohesive narrative of a woman who will always challenge new horizons. If you ever wished you were living out the life of your wildest most improbable dreams or you’re just a human being who has an appreciation for people doing what they love, then Dawn Richard is the artist for you.
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