DAWN Talks 'New Breed,' Going Back Home to New Orleans and Reuniting with DK3


After a two 12 months hiatus, singer-songwriter DAWN (previously generally known as Dawn Richard) made her return to the solo music scene this previous September with the discharge of the highly effective new track “jealousy.”

The conversational report explains how a woman from the Lower Ninth Ward views jealousy as a drug in her dealings together with her ex. It marked step one in direction of a comeback for DAWN, offering listeners with a style of her upcoming album new breed. Set to launch on Jan. 25, new breed will convey listeners into the world of a New Orleans lady who has fell in love together with her house once more.

Following her stints with Danity Kane and Diddy’s group Dirty Money, DAWN launched into a solo profession that spawned a trilogy of solo albums that garnered acclaim from Rolling Stone, Fader, and Pitchfork. After a quick reunion with Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex as DK3, DAWN flexed her appearing muscle tissues when she made a cameo look on the FOX procedural Rosewood. After taking a liking to appearing, DAWN stepped away from music and located herself starring within the 2017 movies Kinky and 5 Weddings, whereas nabbing a job on season two of Issa Rae’s hit HBO dramedy Insecure. In 2016, DAWN additionally joined Adult Swim as a content material creator and designer, penning animated shorts for Rick and Morty and extra.

Taking day off, going again to New Orleans and specializing in different ventures proved to be fruitful for the hyphenate. DAWN was in a position to rediscover her roots in a metropolis that constantly breeds creativity. New Orleans fueled her creativeness and allowed her to increase her artistry to new ranges. “I don't suppose individuals actually know who I'm as a result of I didn't get an opportunity to point out it due to Hurricane Katrina,” DAWN tells Billboard. “This album is me attending to say the issues I didn't get the possibility to say, or present issues I didn’t get to point out, about who I used to be earlier than all of this.”

The 10-track album gives essentially the most intimate portrait of DAWN’s life to date, paying tribute to the wealthy custom and vibrant tradition of her hometown. The album is a hybrid of sounds from New Orleans, mixing the normal soulful types of R&B with DAWN’s contemporary digital sound. With contributions from Cole M.G.N, Kaveh Rastegar, and Hudson Mohawke, new breed sees DAWN at her most eclectic. “I’m pushing our sound and exhibiting individuals just a little little bit of the previous and blend custom with what the long run is,” DAWN says.

Billboard spoke extra with DAWN about new breed, her day off from the music trade, transitioning into appearing and animating, and breaking down limitations by being a girl sporting a chief headdress. Check it out beneath.

You had been going robust inside the realm of music after which immediately you stepped away. What was the rationale for you taking that step again?

I had numerous respiratory to do. I launched three albums and in addition put out a complete visible course of for these tasks. I wanted a break as a result of I didn't need to overwhelm myself or everybody else round me. I did this with no assets in any respect, so for somebody that was unbiased, I had put numerous work into every album and labored actually laborious to have them be of high quality. I simply wanted the time.

I had the chance to actually go house to New Orleans since my mother and father moved again and I used to be in a position to expertise house once more. People don't understand when my profession began taking off Hurricane Katrina occurred so I used to be homeless and misplaced all the pieces. Because of what occurred, we didn't get a chance to actually showcase New Orleans, and I by no means had that probability to only be house. I used to be actually evaluating who I used to be earlier than all of the loopy, and going again to the locations that I keep in mind earlier than I acquired uprooted.

How has New Orleans impacted your work in all of the fields you’re in?

My household is rooted in New Orleans on so many alternative ranges. My mother is a Creole lady from New Iberia, Louisiana. My dad is Haitian, initially, however his total roots, musically, are stemmed in New Orleans. My uncle is within the Mardi Gras Hall of Fame for designing all of the extravagant garb that you just see the Mardi Gras Indians have as part of the Washintaw nation. That's all I've ever identified, New Orleans is in my blood. It's rooted in all the pieces from cadence, to the selection of singing, to tone, to storytelling. There's a way of delight in my artwork that I can thank New Orleans for.

What’s fueling this comeback?

Music has at all times been the foundation. That was the rationale for doing all the pieces I've ever achieved. I used to be a dancer first however I at all times fell in love with the efficiency and the music. I felt like I used to be solely going to launch music if it was prepared and time to take action. I used to be recording numerous completely different songs, and all the pieces I recorded was stemmed in New Orleans.

I sat down and, whereas listening to all of it, I observed this actually native and rooted story that I used to be telling. I used to be sincere about what it was to be a girl and actually telling my story past simply my relationship with music. The final trilogy was my relationship with music and the trade. This album is my relationship with New Orleans, me as a girl, and the way being from New Orleans has created an individual in me that acts and sees issues a sure means. "jealousy" is a chief instance of that. I simply need to provide the lady from the ninth Ward that you just guys solely met as soon as on [MTV's] Making The Band.

What’s it like realizing you’re breaking down limitations by being a girl and sporting a chief headdress?

To be completely sincere, it feels pure as a result of I really feel ladies could be kings -- I’ve at all times seen it that means. I'm honored that they let me inform this story and I wouldn't have achieved it another means. New Orleans has at all times been about respecting custom and your ancestors, so none of this could've occurred if I didn't meet with these individuals.

I hope this pushes different cultures to see ladies on this mild. I've at all times felt pharaohs and kings could possibly be ladies. We're seeing so many ladies imagine in themselves and talking up, particularly ladies of coloration. It's a ravishing time we're in the place ladies are stepping as much as the plate and being vocal about what they deserve and wish. Women are evolving, and I need to be part of that listing of gorgeous ladies who're stepping up and saying that is who we're.

Are you connecting the outdated New Orleans with up to date New Orleans on new breed?

The complete level of this album is the “new” New Orleans coming along with the outdated New Orleans, and seeing how they'll exist collectively, and the way we're simply scratching the floor. People are simply now getting New Orleans due to superior artists like Drake, Beyonce, Solange and [Big] Freedia. We knew it by way of Wayne, however we're beginning to see this reinvigoration of New Orleans by way of individuals like PJ Morton and Trombone Shorty.

I need extra of us who're from the town to point out what the town's value is. People that go to the town find it irresistible, they get an affect, and put it inside their artwork as a result of they understand how particular it's. This is the start of a motion.

We’ve seen you actually get to dive into appearing currently. Was it simple making that transition into TV and movie?

It was completely simple. My dream has at all times been to be in comedy and unbiased drama, just like the dramas that make you're feeling uncomfortable. I've at all times needed to behave, and when you have a look at my movies, they're at all times extraordinarily elaborate -- as a result of there's a way of theater and appearing that I've at all times been in love with.

The day Issa Rae known as me to do Insecure, I used to be like, ‘Fuck yeah, let's do that!’ She thought I wouldn't do it as a result of she didn't know if I felt comfy with it, however I like making enjoyable of myself, and I by no means take myself critically -- so we acquired it achieved. Just by speaking to her about carrying on and persevering with, there's this opening that's taking place for me that I'm so excited for, as a result of persons are seeing I'm doing various things they wouldn't have considered me doing.

I might like to work with Issa once more. I simply suppose she's genuine, and I'm somebody from New Orleans, the place shit may be very actual and I fear about lots of people being faux with me. She was sort, listened to me and we had some nice talks.

Out of music, appearing and animating which do you like?

I don't want. I really benefit from the potential to have the ability to be so versatile as an artist. What I like about Adult Swim and my animation is that this sense of making an attempt to domesticate a lane that may be very few and much between with individuals of coloration. I've to combat -- even me being an artist -- for individuals to see me. There are so many issues I need to do within the animation world. Most of the time after I go to those conferences, I'm the one black lady or [one of] only a few in any respect. That's not the truth, as a result of there's numerous gifted black animators on the market. I like doing that as a result of it pushes individuals to see a cool facet of a feminine artist. I don't know numerous feminine artists which are getting the alternatives to animate and work with completely different companions like Adult Swim. I'm very honored and proud to be among the many ones that do.  

Acting is a excessive that I take pleasure in. I like escaping, as a result of it's so enjoyable and I like the problem when somebody tells me I can't do it. I'm at all times able to show somebody flawed. Acting pushes me and forces me to dig deep when generally I'm not there. I benefit from the fixed self-work that's concerned with appearing. For me, music will at all times be particular due to the efficiency factor. It's past simply the studio and writing -- the stage feeds my soul and I'm happiest after I'm on stage. They all work very well, and I'm fortunate sufficient to have the ability to be an unconventional artist the place I'm in a position to do a distinct kind of introduction into this trade.

What’s the cope with the animated movie?

I've been engaged on that for one million years now! [Laughs.] I'm so enthusiastic about it, but it surely's additionally a course of whenever you pitch it to individuals, particularly as a result of we're simply getting the respect ladies deserve in a spot that doesn't even have numerous ladies. Throughout your entire strategy of pitching it, I've been constructing on it. But it's undoubtedly impressed by New Orleans. I've proven just a little little bit of the business on Adult Swim after I was engaged on the shorts there.

If I can't discover a distributor, I'm going to do it myself, like I at all times do, and discover a method to get it on the market to the world. I've achieved a comic book ebook earlier than, and a bunch of different issues, and I'd like to do a tour run with Comic Con and simply convey it to completely different locations by way of Comic Con. But that's undoubtedly within the works, and proper now I'm doing shorts for Adult Swim for Rick and Morty as a result of they're killing proper now. While doing all that, I'm secretly within the cave ensuring I'm getting concepts out-- so when it does come out, it's superb.

You’re on tour with Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex as DK3. After the scenario between you and Aubrey, how did you guys bury the hatchet and determine to go on tour?

It wasn't actually deliberate. Aubrey hit me up and needed to speak. I used to be skeptical at first, as a result of I didn't even know if it was her or not. We actually simply talked for like eight hours, and it was one thing that numerous ladies have to do, as a result of the world is so good at pitting us towards one another and having us imagine that's the appropriate method to go about issues. While speaking to one another, we realized that we're very completely different individuals and we assess issues in a different way. We didn't act proper primarily based of what we thought we knew. The music is larger that every one that stuff that went on. Women can come collectively and never at all times get alongside however we will all have a typical function. We don’t must agree however we will come collectively and do one thing actually nice and productive. That's the dialog we wanted to have.  

After patching it up, we noticed that we had been all releasing music and determined to go on tour. We want extra ladies coming collectively, as a result of there’s an excessive amount of combating happening. We're going to do that once more -- and I believe the headspace we're in now, we perceive how essential it's to not at all times be proper or flawed, however to know views.