Singer Dawn Richard's journey through music hasn't been an easy one.
From her days in the girl group Danity Kane to standing alongside music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs in the group Diddy-Dirty Money, Dawn has survived the demise of two successful groups, but only because she keeps her Armor On.
The release of Armor On and its debut at number one on iTunes has confirmed to Dawn that her journey hasn't been in vain.
Dawn stopped by GlobalGrind's offices to chit-chat about the success of Armor On, keeping in touch with the girls from Danity Kane and of course, touring with Diddy.
Check out our exclusive interview below!
GlobalGrind: What’s the inspiration behind Armor On?
Dawn Richard: A Tell-Tale Heart is kind of the set up for it. For me, I was trying to do something that was honest, but I wanted a conceptual album. And so the EP had to be conceptual, too, because it had to make sense with the album, Golden Heart, which is conceptual. I got it because I wanted the music to be like the modern day Joan of Arc. Very militant, almost like you felt like you were fighting in a crusade, because I felt like my life has been a battle. It’s been that constant fight and I wanted to do it in a vivid way, almost like it sounded like a narrator to a story, and I thought people could relate to it. It’s still the same battles of love, but it’s just done differently - sonically. So the EP is the story of how and why I needed armor in my life in the first place.
Did you foresee your journey being so tough?
My father was a musician, so he told me it’d be difficult; I was prepared for the difficulty. But you can never prepare for something so brutal; the business is so brutal. So no matter how prepared I thought I was, I wasn’t. And because of that, that’s where this EP comes from. That’s where the Golden Heart theme of having a gold-shielded heart, to having the fact that I had to go through it the hard way. For me, it was a difficult reality because as prepared as I was, I still wasn’t prepared. I thought in my mind, if you were talented, you would be OK. And that’s not the reality.
When can we expect the album?
Well, the great thing is now I have options.
You have the numbers.
Oh my God, the numbers! And the pudding is right there. We can either milk this EP—I kind of want to do something really, really clever with maybe doing a different kind of re-release. I’m not going to say what, but I think—what we’re deciding to do is, always do a little bit different in our movement. There'll probably be something right before the album, maybe Fall.
Who are you listening to on your iPod?
Florence and the Machine, J Davey, Crystal Castles, The Dead Weather, Imogen Heap, Sade.
What’s been your fondest memory on tour?
For me, it was when we did Fashion Rocks with Dirty Money. It was our first concert. And, only in Puff-style, he says we’re about to perform. We’re doing are first live show. Only him would be like, "Oh, yeah, it’s Fashion Rocks. It’s 50,000 people and it’s in Brazil.” That’s the setup. You’re like “aight.” That was our first coming out and I thought it was so brilliant. We met Grace Jones that trip and that developed a relationship for us to do that record together with her. That was a surreal moment for me, being in a group and seeing everybody on stage rocking, and I could see Puff’s face smiling. It was magical. We sung for Donatella Versace so I was taking a picture next to Versace. It was really beautiful and it was a dope time for me.
If I sent you to a deserted island and you can only take three albums, which ones would you take?
Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Prince compilation CD of all his best works and Green Day’s Insomniac. They were my first concert. My very concert—I love Green Day.
What is your favorite thing to do besides make music? What does Dawn do on a regular day?
Work! I love this! I love what I do! Food Network is my shit. You can’t tell me Paula Deen ain’t my bitch. (laughs) That’s my girl. I’m such a lame. I do that and dance. I live to dance.
What was your last dream about?
Good question! I couldn’t sleep the night of the release because I dreamt that Shannon Banks from Danity Kane was in my dream. I don’t why she was in it but she was in it with me, and we got shot! She got shot in this part of her arm, and I got shot right here. I don’t know where we were; we were in a hotel or something. I think I was watching that Bond movie and then I just closed my eyes.
Do you still talk to any of the girls from Danity Kane?
Yes, all of them, except for D. I haven’t heard from her yet. I hear she changed her number. I was talking to Aubrey and she was telling me about it.
Is there anything you want to let your fans know?
Go and get the EP Armor On, and thank you so much for making us number one. This is a big deal! This is like a Cinderella story. We cried. This is blood, sweat and tears. It can only get better from here.
Photo Credit: Dimitry L Regard Magazine