Pop Shop Podcast: How Dawn Richard Went From Danity Kane to Her Futuristic R&B/Pop Opus 'Redemption'

Dawn Richard
Rob Daly

Dawn Richard

Welcome to the new episode of the Pop Shop Podcast’s Headliner Interview, Billboard's weekly long-form talk with a compelling, inspirational voice in the world of music. This week, staff writer Chris Payne sits down with former Danity Kane member and current futuristic pop purveyor Dawn Richard, who now releases music under the moniker D?WN.

When she came through the Billboard office, we were just two days removed from the shock of Donald Trump’s victory. Most of the media had been expecting far different results from the 2016 election, so D?WN’s words come at a time of shock, bewilderment and utter fear within much of the music world. But she was quick to flip those emotions into positivity -- and not just positive feelings, but positive action. Her new album, the dazzling, genre-defying Redemption arrives Friday, and though it was crafted months prior, its themes are relevant enough to jolt us out of any post-election stupor. So are her words, which you can hear in the podcast interview below. 

“It’s not just a 'one day' thing,” she says. “This has been happening. Eyes are open. If you’re an artist, you observed it. For me, coming from Louisiana, I’ve seen it a long time. It just reared its ugly head because it had a catalyst.”

So what can we do?

“You just keep going. You get innovative; you get creative. I'mma be real with you -- I’m black, I’ve had to be creative [since] long ago. If you’re Armenian, Indian, Muslim, a woman, gay -- you’ve had to be creative, because nine times out of 10, you’ve been told you’re not getting it.”

On this week’s episode, D?WN linked current events to her new album and reflected on how it all fits into her journey so far -- being a genuine weirdo in the girl group game on Making the Band, continuing her work with Puff in Diddy-Dirty Money and self-releasing her current triple-album project. Redemption follows 2015’s Blackheart and 2013’s Goldenheart. Check it out here

Listen above and click here to subscribe/rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes. The Headliner Interview runs every Thursday; previous guests include Shura, Matthew Koma and Against the Current.