DAWN - 'new breed'
(January 25, Local Action / Our Dawn Ent)
DAWN (formerly DAWN Richard, DΔWN) is one of music's most distinctive voices and songwriters, developing her own unique style through a tirelessly independent route.
After cutting her teeth as part of the girl group Danity Kane and the
quietly-influential r&b project Dirty Money, DAWN went solo in
2011, building her own self-made infrastructure and honing a style of
r&b that she describes as "genderless, colourless and genreless".
DAWN went on to release the critically acclaimed album trilogy of 'Goldenheart', 'Blackheart' and 'Redemption'. The trilogy, inspired by everything from experimental electronic music to mythology, garnered her praise in the NY Times, FACT, NME, The Guardian, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and many more, while 'Blackheart' reached #2 in the Billboard Dance charts.
Following eighteen months focused on touring 'Redemption' and collaborating - she featured on Dirty Projectors' 2017 hit single 'Cool Your Heart', as well as tracks from Kimbra, Jimmy Edgar and Mumdance - DAWN returns this winter with 'new breed', a new full-length project that sees her return to her birthplace of New Orleans both musically and spiritually, drawing from the city's rich musical heritage and traditions as well almost two decades of experience as a black independent woman in the music industry.
On the video for 'jealousy', the first single from 'new breed',
DAWN showcases the city's "strength, power, vulnerability and
culture", including local figurehead Chief Montana of the Wasashitaw
Nation, a tribe that has been in DAWN's family for generations.
DAWN even wears a traditional garb hand-sewn by Montana, making her one of the first women in history to do so. "I wanted to show New Orleans in a light most have never seen or are aware of", explains DAWN of 'new breed'. "The Black Indian and power of our traditional garb... a hand-sewn headpiece representing the power of being both King and Queen".
As with previous DAWN albums, she is an ever-present on 'new breed's production as well as on its vocals - contributing production to seven of the album's 10 tracks, often alongside regular collaborator Derek Bergheimer (who mixed 'Redemption', as well as other previous DAWN releases). Another regular collaborator returns in Kaveh Rastegar, while Hudson Mohawke, Young & Sick, PRGRSN and Christine and the Queens producer Cole M.G.N. round off the album's production roster.
Another re-occurring theme throughout 'new breed' is DAWN's growth as an independent female figure who has navigated almost every side of the music industry. On the album's defiant, driving title track, she focuses on "the evolution of a new woman. A woman unafraid to speak. A woman who wears her own suit. Who takes charge of her life and says 'enough' to hiding", while 'spaces' sees DAWN take aim at "men in power telling me I was too brave, too confident, too black, too ugly, too thin... that girl believed them, but deep inside that girl from [New Orleans ward] The Nine said 'fuck them'."
On the second half of the album's show-stopping two-part climax 'vultures | wolves', DAWN turns her attention to the industry's "packs of wolves, with suits and deeds / tempting the girls with pretty things, just to share them piece by piece", while on 'we, diamonds', she implores people to "stop calling me ambitious when I dream farther than Curry's three point range / It's not a compliment when you doubting my success in a polite way", answering critics who doubted her ability to step out on her own, casting off the restrictions of the major label system to soar as a self-sufficient indie artist.
"I never saw myself as a victim but have survived assault and I thought hiding it made me strong, bit as I've watched all these amazing strong women speak on their experiences i found courage in speaking on my story", explains DAWN. "This record is for all of us. We are the 'new breed'. We are strong, unapologetic and the future is female."
Photo by Robert Arnold
25 Jan, 2019
DAWN's 'New Breed' receives a 4 Star review in The Guardian, and is chosen as their 'Album of the Week'.