Dawn Richard, known professionally as DAWN, is a multi-platinum American singersongwriter. 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 2008, and in 2009 joined with label head Sean “Diddy” Combs and Kalenna Harper to form the group Diddy-Dirty Money.
Being in two groups, Dawn already has 2 consecutive platinum #1 albums under her belt with Danity Kane, a platinum album “Last Train to Paris” with Diddy-Dirty Money, a gold single “Hello Good Morning”, and a 3x platinum single with Diddy-Dirty Money titled “Coming Home”.
In 2011 following her departure from Bad Boy Records, she launched her solo career. Richard has released four solo projects (ATellTaleHeart, Armor On EP, Whiteout EP, and Goldenheart). Goldenheart, was released on January 15, 2013 by Our Dawn Entertainment. The album received universal acclaim. Both Armor On and Goldenheart reached #1 on iTunes R&B/Soul in a matter of hours, reached iTunes Top 20 All Albums, and charted on 5 or more Billboard charts (all done independently with no push). Goldenheart received universal acclaim from contemporary music critics, who hailed Richard as one of the best new acts in pop and R&B. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 81, based on nine reviews. Alex Macpherson of The Guardian gave it five stars and called it “dazzling and imperious”, writing that, “remarkably, Richard’s array of sonic weapons matches her epic, elemental vision. Jason Gubbels of Spin praised her “aesthetic appreciation” and versatile singing, which he credited for “springing finely placed surprises on listeners lulled into reverie, navigating tricky spots just effortlessly enough to mask her mastery”. Giving it four-and-a-half stars, AllMusic’s Andy Kellman called Goldenheart “sumptuous and grand”, and felt that, although its intensity and indulgence can be staggering. In 2014, Dawn released her newest album as a member of multi-platinum girl group, Danity Kane. The album DK3, immediately shot to the number one spot on the iTunes R&B/Soul chart as well as reaching the Top 10 overall albums on iTunes. Richard was also a writer on the DK3 album making this her fifth number one album that she has been a writer on. Dawn wrote both “Tell Me” and “Two Sides” on the album.
After releasing the final and farewell album DK3 with her group Danity Kane, Dawn Richard readies The Black Era. “This project isn’t just about the musical experience but also the visual as well. From an incredible collaboration with visual artist Caleb Hahne for the Blackheart album cover, to a high fashion and choreography-heavy based music video for “Blow”, to the launch of her shoe line with Lust for Life, and the release of her Black Era Shades collaboration with Coco and Breezy; Dawn has set an entire brand around The Black Era.
Sonically, with influences from trip hop to electro pop to soul, this album solidifies Dawn as more than just a progressive R&B diva. This album takes her to Future Electro Stardom. The second installment to her heart trilogy differs drastically from her previous masterpiece, Goldenheart, as this work of art has much sharper edges, more experimental electro sounds, and is just more aggressive overall. You can tell Dawn chose fearless as this album’s lead companion. With Dawn producing and writing alongside her partner in crime Noisecastle III, these two make genres a thing of the past and future a thing of the now.
The release of Blackheart fell on January 15th, 2015 – which happened to be the second year anniversary of Dawn’s last critically acclaimed album, Goldenheart. Since the release of Blackheart, Richard has been receiving critical acclaim from Fact Magazine, New York Times/LA Times, and Billboard. Many are saying that this is her best work yet. Andrew Ryce of Pitchfork gave the album an 8 out of 10 saying, “Blackheart is the singular, visionary work that she’s been hinting at since she struck out on her own post-Diddy in 2011.” Alex Macpherson of Fact Magazine called Blackheart astonishing and gave the album 4.5 out of 5 stars. Blackheart peaked #1 on iTunes Electronic charts and Top 20 overall on the iTunes album charts. In addition to that, Blackheart charted as #1 on the U.S. Top Independent Albums chart on Billboard, #2 on the Billboard Electronic/Dance chart, and #3 on the U.S. Top Heatseekers chart – with no major label push (completely independent). To accompany the album, Richard released a black and white animation visual on VEVO titled “Tide: The Paradox Effect”, which is also available on iTunes. Since the album’s release, Richard has also unveiled seven additional visuals for songs from Blackheart via VEVO and iTunes. Dawn currently has nine music videos to date for this album. All have which debuted at number one on iTunes. Pitchfork recently named Blackheart as one of The Most Overlooked Records of 2015. SPIN recently included Blackheart in their 50 Best Albums of 2015 article.
Dawn recently starred in a new PETA campaign being that she is their latest celebrity/music spokesperson. In addition to that, Dawn is the latest celebrity ambassador and spokesperson for the Lymphoma Research Foundation. Dawn is officially gearing up for the third installment to her trilogy, The Red Era. “Dance”, Dawn’s lead off single for The Red Era premiered via The Fader during the last week of September. “The Red Era is about moving on, redeeming yourself, and finding redemption. It’s time for people to start feeling good and start embracing who they are while dancing in their own light. That time is now … Let’s DANCE,” said Dawn. This single is written by Ester Dean and produced by Swagg R’Celious and Noisecastle III. To coincide with the new single, Dawn released a visual for “Billie Jean x Dance” on VEVO to officially mark the end of The Black Era while also starting The Red Era. Dawn recently starred in a new PETA campaign being that she is their latest celebrity/music spokesperson. In addition to that, Dawn is the latest celebrity ambassador and spokesperson for the Lymphoma Research Foundation. This is surely a great year for the “HEARTS” (Dawn’s fanbase), as they’ve gotten an album, numerous music videos, and great content that just keeps on coming.