Dawn Richard Shouts Out That Grape Juice
Sam: Hey Dawn, how are you?
Dawn: I’m good, how are you? I’m great thank you.
Sam: It’s great to finally speak with you. How are you doing?
Dawn: I’m good, working in the studio as we speak.
Sam: What are you working on?
Dawn: I’m just writing. I’m doing a lot of writing for a couple of albums out right now, including my independent one for my soundtrack that I have with my comic book – Danity Kane comics. So (I’ve) been busy, doing a lot of writing.
Sam: With the whirlwind that has been the drama surrounding Danity Kane, you recently confirmed that the group has indeed parted ways…
Dawn: I didn’t confirm that we parted ways. I think everybody got it confused. I never confirmed it, I just told what happened, as regards when we had to show up for the recording of the new season of Making The Band. But I never confirmed whether or not we’re together or not. Because I’m still in touch with Aundrea; she and I are still moving forward with our work and stuff. So I just told the truth, as pertains to what happened in the show.
Sam: In terms of like public opinion and public perception a lot of people seem to think the whole case of like Danity Kane is like a… they didn’t see that as being resolved. What is your take on the whole apparent demise of Danity Kane?
Dawn: I don’t think of it as a demise, I think of it as ‘everything happens for a reason’. (What went down) is not at all I wanted. I wanted to walk away (from the ‘final meeting’) with all my girls because that was a formula that worked for us. That was giving us an opportunity to live our dreams. But that didn’t happen and that’s ok. And whatever happens for everybody I wish them well. You just have to move forward. You can’t keep looking in the past. So for me now I’m just looking forward and just trying to be positive in the situation I’m in.
Sam: The media and fans alike have been debating, since the climatic season finale last year, the reason for the breakup of what many looked at as one of the most promising girl collectives to emerge in recent years. What would you say was the root cause of DK split?
Dawn: I think we all made it very clear what we thought was the reason for us separating. I think the fans and a lot of people just tend to just want to believe in their head what they feel it is. And that’s totally fine and that’s totally fine because that’s opinion. But I think we told everyone that it wasn’t just one thing, it wasn’t a person who broke up Danity Kane. There were a lot of situations that happened and that we were fighting with. Whether it was bad management, people being unhappy, or you know…there was more than one thing. It wasn’t just one person it was over a period of time that it happened. But I think fans and people in general just want to have a specific answer, when a situation happens. So, when they don’t get one they tend to choose an answer for themselves.
Sam: How do you feel that the spilt could have been prevented?
Dawn: I really don’t know. I mean a lot of things in life could have been prevented, If we choose the ‘shudda coulda woulda’ way of looking at things. I mean in this case, it doesn’t really help anything. I think at the end of the day it happened and do I wish a lot of things were different. However, life happens like that, not just with our situation, but generally. The biggest thing I wish is that we didn’t have the fans so separated and segregated. I wish we didn’t have to make people pick and choose who they like, who they’re gonna follow, what story there gonna stick to and believe that story. I wish we never had to do that to our fans; that’s my biggest gripe. (Because) I really wish they could just support us no matter what and not really pick a side, as it’s really hard for us to watch fans do that.
Sam: During last season’s finale of Making The Band, it was expressed by other members of the group that they felt you were receiving preferential treatment from Diddy and was being groomed for a solo deal…
Dawn:…I think if people know Puff…like Puff does not treat people preferentially. I’ve never known him to ever treat someone preferentially. I’ve seen him treat his businesses preferentially (laughs), but not a person. And I think that if I was treated preferentially, I feel that the girls maybe would have seen me laced in new things, you know what I mean? Let’s just all be honest and real, you know. I’m real on things. If I was treated in a certain way, I would have been like ‘I’m being treated in a certain way’, you know. But I wasn’t. Puff was all for DK [Danity Kane] and I feel like till this day, he will be for DK. For people who choose to believe that, I appreciate that and people who don’t, that is there opinion. But I can’t keep trying to tell people, I don’t know how many times I can say that is not true. If people are not gonna believe me then there just not gonna believe me.
Sam: Most [loyal] fans do believe that all of the members, including youself, had a hand in the demise of DK, but how does it feel when certain people make it seem like it was 100% your fault? There was talk of a solo deal for and you being groomed for a solo deal. What would you say to those saying such things?
Dawn: It’s hurting, it’s hurting but like I said I can’t force people to believe me. But it is hurting because you know I just I went through the process. Those who really know and those who were really there know where my heart has always been. It is very frustrating when you have different things like a TV show surrounding your situation, which kinda forces people to see a certain thing and that’s the whole picture – when in reality it’s not. So I can’t be mad at the people for feeling a certain way because if they were given a perception. That said, I can be hurt because I know what it is and what it was. You know, I think if anybody else was in the situation I’m in now, and had to live it and see it, they would be feeling a little bad. You have to live it to understand it.
Sam: What was your personal take on Diddy’s initial ousting of D. Woods and Aubrey? How did you deal with their departing from the group?
Dawn: I felt awful. That’s like you having a formula that works for you, you’ve been in the situation where you’ve had a dream that’s come true for you, then you see that same dream being demolished in a second.
Just because you don’t get along with people in your life and in your work, doesn’t mean…What I’m saying is that you don’t, for example, always have the best business partners. Yet, that doesn’t mean you want to get rid of something that’s working for you and your company. That’s the person I am. We don’t have to get along at the end of the day, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t have anybody else working with me because these people are the reason why my dream is coming true. So I was devastated because those were the girls that helped me get to my dreams. People can chose whether they want to be believe that, but I know in my heart that’s the reality of how I felt.
Sam: Were recruiting new members something ever discussed?
Dawn: On the show I did mention that to Drea [Aundrea] but she said she felt uncomfortable about that and Diddy said he would address that in the next meeting. So everyone has to watch the show. It’s on tomorrow Thursday at 9pm. Check it out and see what happens!
Sam: With making the band being such an integral part of the Danity Kane movement, what do you feel was left out from the show which would have conveyed ‘the reality of Danity Kane’ to your fans, particularly in light of the recent situation – as it has come as a surprise to many. With many believing it to be a publicity stunt initially.
Dawn: Well you guys didn’t see us when we were on the road, you didn’t see the moments when you know our business manager was indicted (laughs). You didn’t see, you know (laughs), those big moments where we lost our manager twice; you know you guys didn’t see those things. So you didn’t see us at our worst moments when we had to try and pick up the pieces, sewing our own outfits on tour. You guys didn’t see those moments. So you guys didn’t see how hard it was for us to try and make it work when we had so many odds against us.
Like honestly, honestly I don’t know, I don’t know. Because I feel like if the whole thing would have been shown they (the public) still would have made the interpretation the way they wanted to make it. Like I don’t know what, because I thought that from what people saw they would get it quite easily and they didn’t (laughs). I’m getting emails the next day like ‘I hope you die’. I mean I thought it was quite clear, that it was quite obvious. I think if you were a true fan and you followed Danity Kane, you saw events and you saw how the situation went down. I don’t know, I don’t know! What else could have been seen? I think at the end people found it hard to understand what was going on, hence pledged allegiances to the members they loved most and came to their own conclusions.
Sam: You say on the current season trailer, when talking to Day26, that Danity Kane fought physically. Could you elaborate on that?
Sam: Ok. Prior to the season which saw Danity Kane return to Making The Band, you announced via your Myspace that D.woods and Aubrey had chosen to leave the group and the remaining three members would continue as Danity Kane. Since then we saw all five girls return. Many are keen to find out what exactly was the situation behind this?
Dawn: No I never said that. I know exactly what you’re talking about No! When D and Aubrey were rumoured to being going solo (as well as leaving the group), we didn’t want people to think that was true. We hadn’t talked to each other, so we said, and I’m quoting exactly what we said, ‘we support any endeavours that D. Woods and Aubrey embark on. Meanwhile, while they’re doing them, we will continue to hold down the fort.’ And everybody was like ‘Dawn has confirmed…’ You see what I’m saying… how people… I’m still learning in this business how to say things because I’m just so real, I’ll just say the reality of things, but people will take it and twist it. Then I get in trouble and I’m like ‘that’s not what I was saying’ and people start going ‘she said…’ It’s like I never said they were gone, I never said that. I said that ‘I was supporting any endeavour they embark on’. We were trying to make right for all them bad rumours that were coming up, so we were trying to ensure people that Danity Kane were still together, and that even though they were doing solo ventures we still were supporting them. But people was like ‘Dawn’s confirmed it’ and it just made me so mad. I can’t win.
Sam: I hear you. What’s your take on the handling of the group as well as the group’s success in the short while you were together?
Dawn: You know, I think it’s just not Bad Boy. I think people have it twisted, because they see certain things and just tend to put things on one label. All labels and all artist go through the same thing. I can name a couple of artist that have had first singles and the second singles take forever (to be released) and it dies out or the promotion isn’t as big on the second single and they die out. I can name a whole bunch of artists that this has happened to. That’s just the reality of this business. It’s a recession right now. Labels are losing money, artist are losing money. It’s political. There’s a lot of politics in this business. We can have a great first single then maybe for some reason another artist comes out on the label and they become top priority, so then our single is pushed to the side. That’s business. It’s just not our label, that’s every label. You know, I think people get it confused with just ours. That’s just dealing with the label it’s competitive and that’s just what you have to deal with.
Sam: Do you feel the fact you were made on a reality show impacted your credibility i.e. in the way of radio play, awards? I ask as many hail ‘Welcome To The Dollhouse’ as a great album, yet you all got very little back in the way of awards or nominations?
Dawn: Of course. We’re taken for as a joke. Our peers don’t really respect us as musicians. We had to totally fight every 5 seconds to make people believe that we did deserve to be in this industry. Our fans were amazing, we had great fans. But our peers and people that worked in the industry didn’t want to work with us, didn’t want to put us in those categories, and didn’t want to nominate us for things. I mean ‘Damaged’ did so well, yet we never got nominated for anything with that record. I mean we did get that one MTV nomination [2008 MTV Best Pop Video] and we lost to it. But it was like one of the biggest records of the summer. We just couldn’t win. It was like, no matter how much we try, how many steps we take up with our writing skills or our music, we just take 10 steps back because of the show. No, our peers don’t take us seriously at all.
Sam: Is that something you felt frustrated about or did you just feel you needed to continue striving to earn your credibility?
Dawn: I’ve learned that I’m I don’t feel frustrated about those things. I just continuously try keep walking in the light. I felt like ‘if you don’t respect my artistry now, you will eventually’. And I’ll just work for you to get it, I’m not going to be waiting for people to get it. I’m just gonna make myself better until they get it. That’s how I felt like we needed to be and I still feel like that now about myself, about the group. Some of us didn’t handle it that way, some of us did.
Sam: What’s your current status with each of the girls?
Dawn: My current status with Danity Kane is I wish them nothing but the best. And that’s for the record. I wish them nothing but the best in anything that they do cause they’ll be great in it.
Sam: Your take on Aubrey’s playboy spread?
Dawn: I’m glad she’s doing what she does. I’m glad she’s happy, I’m glad she’s doing what she loves. As long as she’s happy, I’m supportive.
Sam: You’ve gone on record to say you felt certain parts of Aubrey’s image weren’t inline with what the group were trying to perpetuate to your young audience. Yet we have songs such as ‘Bad Girl’, ‘Striptease’ and ‘Ecstacy’ from ‘Welcome To The Dollhouse’, which arguably also aren’t for that audience. Your take on this?
Dawn: I never, once again… I can’t stand this (laughs). I never had a problem with Aubrey’s status or what Aubrey does. Someone asked me ‘why did Aubrey get kicked out of Danity Kane?’ and I said what was quoted from the show! I didn’t say ‘I don’t like what she wore!’ I said ‘the reason why she was put out was because of what Puff said in the interview,’ and I wasn’t making anything up, I was just saying what was said on the show. And people said that I said it and that I was it’s like I can’t win. I didn’t ever have a problem with Aubrey… I love my group. I know who my group are – individually. I don’t have a problem with anyone. My issues were laid with the brand of the group. As long as the brand was taken care of and we were doing the right things, then I was cool. If we had an issue with our brand, that’s when I had something to say about it. Now, people ask me questions and I say exactly what was said from the man who did it and all of a sudden it was me who said it! I don’t have an issue with her in doing that. If that’s what she wants to do, then she’ll be great at what she does and that’s it.
Sam: Thanks for clearing that up.
You have evidently been blessed with an abundance of talent. What does the future hold for you? Solo deal, writing for others etc?
Dawn: Well, right now I’m working on an independent comic book soundtrack. And I have a single for it called ‘Falls Away’, which is on MySpace right now and it’s doing extremely well. It has almost 500,000 hits and I’m really excited about that. The fans have been really supportive. The follow-up leaked, a track called ‘If I Could’ and it’s amazing. The producer called ‘The Zamp’ did the track. It’s amazing. I’m really happy to just do something independent, something just my own. Nothing ‘solo’, as such; it’s not anything like that. It’s just something for me, ‘cause I write the comic book and not a lot of people do soundtracks for comic books. I love music and it’s just an opportunity to branch out and give the fans some great. I’m not putting a label on it, its nothing like that; it’s nothing like a solo career. Please, people do not get me in trouble every time I say something!
I’m writing a lot. I’m learning as a song-writer. Song writing and publishing is where you get your money and learn most from. So for me, it could be a small artist or a big artist, it’s a pay check. What’s more, it’s something that is helping me learn everyday, so I’m very happy that I get an opportunity to do it because it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like fun and I just get paid for it, so like it’s a great opportunity to learn and you never know what the future holds for me. I have a really strong work ethic. I will not stop. I have not slept in months. But it’s okay ‘cause I feel like that day when I lay my head down, that day when I get that *good good* sleep, it will be worth it because I worked so hard to get where I want to get. That’s where I’m at right now.
Sam: While Bad Boy has been a force in the past, we cannot shy away from a certain pattern that has emerged. A lot of people have followed Diddy’s career and track record. It’s no surprise that most of his artists, especially solo ones, aren’t as successful as they should be. What would be your terms & conditions to him, if he was to give you a solo deal [if he hasn’t already]?
Dawn: I don’t have any terms or conditions. I don’t know those things; I don’t know those things until I get to it. What I will say is that I don’t look at things, names and labels and all that. I just look at talent. Like I said, it’s a recession; a lot of people (including established artists) are falling with CD sales and stuff. It’s not just this label; a lot of people haven’t been doing as great as they could be doing right now because it’s a slow economy at present. Saying that, there’s always a first time or a new time for something and I feel like I have been blessed with the opportunity to have my dreams come true more than one time.
Sam: Cool. You’ve probably been asked several times, but do you feel like there is a possibility for you guys to ever get back together?
Dawn: You never know, you never know. I would never say no to that…
Sam: We’ve seen your relationship with Day26’s Qwanell blossom on television. Tell us 3 things you find special about Q.
Dawn: I think the biggest thing with him is that I am still extremely attracted to him. Like the first day I met him I still look at him sometimes and find myself like ‘dang he’s a good catch!’ I still get that as if it’s the first time we saw each other. And you’re like ‘dang ooh’… I still get that feeling with him, and it’s a good feeling. I think the second thing is, he’s my homie…like that’s my best friend. We have the best times just laughing and goofing around; we can’t separate the two. One day we’ll be all ‘lovey dovey’ and the next day it’s all about just homies day out. It’s like two friends going out and chilling you know. We just have that different dynamic. We have different elements of our relationship which I think is amazing. The third thing is you know we don’t sweat the small things. We’re very open with our relationship. We understand each others inside out, so we don’t ever let little small things affect how great we are as a team. It makes it work great. I have never had so fun much knowing someone or being with someone that I have with Q.
Sam: How do you manage to maintain your relationship with the constant cameras?
Dawn: We don’t even see them, we don’t even see them anymore. Some people say that’s a scary thing because living your relationship in public could potentially ruin it. We know that and that’s a scary thing; but are we supposed to fake it and whatnot or close up when the cameras come? That wouldn’t be us. We’re real people, it wouldn’t be us if we tried to pretend like ‘okay I’m not going to touch you when the camera comes’ because that’s just wack. It’s not real; so for us we don’t see them (the cameras). The way we are together, is the way we are together on camera.
Sam: What can we expect in the current season of making the band. Surprise appearances? Your role?
Dawn: You have to watch, there’s a lot of things that’s gonna happen with these last couple of episodes. So Thursday 9pm, stay glued to the TV because you you’ll be surprised!
Sam: With the entertainment industry being so cut-throat and ruthless, how does Dawn plan on lasting the distance
Dawn: That’s a great question. I do think this industry is extremely cut throat. For me, though, I just will not accept failure and I will not expect quitting. So if it means more hours extra hours, and what not, for this person right here, I’m gonna be the person that comes in early and leaves late. And that’s just the way it is. I’ll be damned if I see it (success) go away. Because I know what the other side is like, I’ve been homeless, I’ve seen what it’s like to be in that environment and I refuse to be there, because I worked extremely hard to get where I am. So, for me, in order to be great, you have to put in the work for it. So I’m going to make sure I know this industry back and forth, as well as my craft. Make sure I know where the snakes fly and know how to step over them, move over and get to where I need to go.
Sam: Tell us a bit about Danity Kane comics?
Dawn: Yes, the first issue is out on www.danitykane.com. The second issue will be done in the fourth quarter which is around December of this year. The soundtrack will be out at the end of March of this year 2009. I’m really excited; it will be available at www.dkcomics.com.
Sam: That’s great. Wrapping up now, which Danity Kane song is your favourite?
Dawn: That’s a hard one – I like so many. ‘Sucka for Love’…
Sam: Could you give us an acapella of ‘Sucka for Love’, please?
Dawn: OK (laughs)…
…Danity Kane… the great thing about us was that we had five leads, so I’m just trying to overlap and sing at the same time (laughs)
Sam: It’s cool (laughs).
It has been recently been announced that Michael Jackson will be returning to the stage; I don’t know if you know about that. A lot of the British press have been very cynical as to whether Michael Jackson still has ‘It.’ Do you think…
Dawn: Of course! Michael can do no wrong when it comes to music. He can just moonwalk across the stage and it just makes me smile. Even if Michael Jackson doesn’t have ‘it’, he still has ‘it’. It’s Michael, come on now (laughs).
Sam: Most definitely!
What songs or albums do you have on constant rotation at the minute?
Dawn: I just got hip to ‘Chair Lift’ and I’m really liking them. I just bought The Dream’s album. Love it. Amazing. Who else has been on heavy rotation? ‘Ryan Leslie’ his album has been on rotation and love the ‘Sheen’s’ and ‘Vampire Weekend’.
Sam: Dawn I would like to say a very big thank you for your time and it’s very much appreciated
Dawn: No worries. I enjoyed speaking with you. I love love love the site!
Sam : Thank you 🙂
Your thoughts on the interview?