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That Grape Juice Interviews Dawn Robinson (of En Vogue, Lucy Pearl)

Published: Tuesday 19th Mar 2013 by Rashad

A new dawn is undoubtedly on the horizon for R&B veteran Dawn Robinson.  The Connecticut-born beauty, who saw her claim to fame as one-fourth of R&B supergroup En Vogue, is now forging a solo path and turning the page on her already storied career.

With new music, books, and television in her sights, the Funky Diva dishes exclusively to That Grape Juice on her involvement with hit series ‘R&B Divas’ spinoff ‘R&B Divas: LA’ (alongside Kelly Price, Chantae Moore, and more), new solo music endeavors, and talks about her very public split with En Vogue.

As ever, Dawn doesn’t hold back.  This is a must read:

Dawn Robinson Shouts Out That Grape Juice!


That Grape Juice:  Good morning Dawn! How are you?

Dawn Robinson:  I’m fine! Thanks for asking and thanks for having me this morning!

TGJOur pleasure! So, let’s hop right in.  Fans were thrilled by reports indicating you would be participating in the new ‘R&B Divas’ spinoff (‘R&B Divas: LA’) on TVOne!  Tell us, what inspired you to be part of this?

Dawn:  I am so excited!  I was contacted last year around June by [television producer] Phil Thornton and was asked to do the ‘R&B Divas’ premiere show in Atlanta.  I had two concerns though:  I don’t live in Atlanta and I’m not willing to relocate. I was also busy with Maxine [of En Vogue] doing an album ‘Heir To the Throne’.  I told him I was committed to that project and didn’t want to break away from it.

Well, he said if something else came up, he’d get back around to me. Sure enough, a couple of months ago he did.

TGJ:  That’s awesome!
Dawn:  It really is.  Honestly, I was running from the reality show stigma because I thought it’s going to be dramatic in the negative sense and have women catfighting against each other.  That’s not the world I, or any of the En Vogue members, come from.  So, I didn’t want to be known for that. I kept avoiding it.

Yes, I’ve met with many production companies over the years, but nobody seemed to understand the show I wanted to do. I wanted to do something positive and uplifting for our people and women.  But, when Phil told me the premise of ‘Divas’ and the other cast members, I thought they didn’t want the drama either.  And, after I met the girls, everything was positive so I decided to do it.

TGJ:  What should we expect from your involvement with the show? 

Dawn:  Well, I can’t say much now.  But, I will say it’s going to be positive.  I’ll be talking about my life and all that I’ve gone through as far as where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I’m going.

It’s like the underdog on her way back to the top.  It’s the story I’ve always wanted to see on a reality show, but never do.  We never got a chance to know who Pep really was. Yes, we know her from Salt-N-Pepa, but we never knew who Sandy was.  We know Chilli, but we don’t know who Rozonda is.  Even Flava Flav – he’s a great character, but who is he as a person?

So, I hope the show really shows who we are as people and not just as artists.

TGJ:  Well, we look forward to that.  When should we expect it on the air?

Dawn:  I think around June.  If not, it will definitely earlier in the year than later.

TGJ:  So, switching gears a bit, let’s talk about your budding solo career.  What new music is in the works?

Dawn:  I have a lot of things in the works. I’m listening to tracks now and trying to find producers.  If I could find a team or even just one producer that works for me, that would be great.

I’m just looking for the best fit for my voice.  Not every producer is equal to the artist and vice versa.  I’m not just looking for tracks.  Like Michael Jackson did with Quincy Jones – they created a masterpiece, not just a record full of tracks.  I’m looking to create an amazing body of work. I’m really wanting to do an album with more of a live feel.

TGJ:  Who would be your “Quincy Jones” so to speak?  Any dream collaborators?

Dawn:  I like to find young, up-and-coming producers that no one knows yet, mainly to give them a chance to be heard. There’s a lot of untapped talent out there and I want to find the next Timbaland or Rodney Jerkins.

But, I’d love to work with Alicia Keys and Missy Elliott because there aren’t a lot of female producers.  Believe it or not, I’d also like to collab with Bruno Mars!  He has a great energy about him.

TGJ:  We certainly weren’t expecting that!  So, any word on when we should expect a finished product?

Dawn:  No, it’s just in the early stages of development.  I’m also developing a couple of books, clothing line, and a lot of other things.  So, I’m just excited and thrilled about all of that coming up!

TGJNow, as with many interviews, we have a segment called “Five From Fans” where we received five questions from our readers for you.  Are you ready?

Dawn:  Yep!

TGJ:  #1 What are your thoughts on the status of R&B, especially as it relates to the absence of groups on charts?

Dawn:  As far as groups goes, that goes in phases.  Back in the 60s, it was all about the Marvelettes, Ronettes, this -ette and that -ette, the Supremes, and all the other girl groups.   Then, it faded away and came back in the 70s with Sister Sledge and more.  But, it really faded in the 80s.  So, you see, it ebbs and flows.

We [En Vogue] were the first to really hit the ground running in the 90s and then all the other girl groups came after us.  It was great for us to start it off and everyone else to follow.

R&B is on “life support” to a degree, but don’t forget about the great R&B artists out now.  Usher is doing his thing and so is Alicia Keys and Rihanna.  Rihanna is in the middle of pop & R&B, but she’s still doing her thing R&B-wise.  Even Bruno Mars, who is more pop, is doing his thing with R&B.

But, I’d love to see acts like Donnell Jones come back out and make true R&B.

TGJ:  #2. Have you ever considered putting together a tell-all memoir telling your side about the En Vogue breakup?

Dawn:  Well, there’s nothing to tell other than my life story.  I’ve lived and had ups-and-downs like everyone else.  So, there’s no “tell-all” in the negative sense, but it would just be my life story in my words.

TGJ:  #3. You were very vocal about your concerns with En Vogue’s contracts (which consequently lead to you leaving the group).  What advice would you lend up-and-coming artists who may encounter similar situations in the industry?

TGJ:  #4.  Considering that you are about to be on a reality show, what are some of your favorite “guilty pleasure” reality shows?

Dawn:  So many!  I love Lala [Vasquez]’s show because there’s real-life drama and no cat fights or getting hit over the head with bottles.  I also love the Braxtons because they’re a real family.  I know Toni [Braxton] personally and I know the stuff that happens with them is real.

They won’t allow negativity to come in the way of their family and they support each other.  Also, I love T.I.’s show! He’s a great father and great example of a black man at home.  His kids respect him and his wife.

We see so many negative images on television, but those shows give us positive images of black people on TV.  That’s the way we’re supposed to be seen!

TGJ:  #5.  What caused the breakup of Lucy Pearl?

Dawn:  I think I trusted him [Raphael Saadiq] too much and didn’t look at that contract as closely I should’ve.  So, that’s why Lucy Pearl fell apart.  I loved that project thought beyond words.  The music, look, and sound was put together by us.  Everything was our likeness.

En Vogue was an audition and other people’s idea of what we should be.  But, Lucy Pearl was organic.  I really wish that would’ve worked out.

TGJ:  Thanks so much for that!  So, continuing with that, what is your relationship like now with Raphael Saadiq?

Dawn:  Raphael and I tried the reunion thing about 4 years ago. I went to his studio in the Valley and at that time he wanted to put [rapper] Q-Tip to the group to bring a voice of rap.  The three of us would be talking all the time, but suddenly it was just me and Q-Tip.

If it happens with Lucy Pearl, it does.  We had a chemistry that works and I would love for it to happen.  But, until Raphael hits me up and is ready to go, I can’t focus on that.  I have to focus on Dawn!

TGJ:  Is there any chance that En Vogue can re-group?

Dawn:  No.  Just like any relationship that is over, we’re over.  You don’t go back to a job unless they’re offering you an offer you can’t refuse.  But, because there is so much personal stuff that’s transpired over the year – not just what’s seen in the public eye – I don’t have a need to go back to something that hurt me so bad.  Once you move on, you move on.

I was the one trying to tell everyone to look over their contracts, think about it before making a move, but nobody wanted to listen.  But, they put it out to the public like it was my fault.  The world thinks to this day that it was all my fault.  That’s not fair.

Dawn (continued): I take that personally.  I’ve moved on and really wish the best for them, but there’s no reunion.  It’s not going to happen.  I came back three years ago because I thought it was going to be different.  I thought we were older, wiser, and understood what needed to be done.  But, I only came back to find out it was the same old mess as before.

TGJ:  Last but not least, considering you’ve had a career that’s seen you conquer charts, stages, and soon television, what is the new “uncharted territory” for you?  What does the future hold for Dawn?

 

Interview by:  Quinno Rashad (That Grape Juice US)

(@blueeyedsoul517)

******

Click here to follow Dawn Robinson on Twitter

Your thoughts?

Comments 25

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  1. King B>Rihanna March 19, 2013

    don’t mess with my man is still the s***.

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  2. king z March 19, 2013

    dawn was always my fave from the group! i always thought she was the best singer.

    I appreciate her honesty in this interview. Thanks TGJ – another good one. I wish you guys kinda woulda went in more on the en vogue tip though!

    either way, go dawn (and great advice for new artists)

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  3. HIVE March 19, 2013

    I WAS VERY DISAPPOINTED IN HER.
    I’VE BEEN A HIUGE FAN SINCE I WAS A BABY
    AND WHEN I GOT THE CHANCE TO MEET EN VOUGE BACK IN 2010 IN NORTH CAROLINA FOR A BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT THAT THEY WERE PERFORMING AT I WENT UP TO ALL 4 OF THEM AND EXPRESSED MY LOVE FOR THEM, ALL WERE EXTREMELY NICE. DAWN WAS AS WELL BUT SHE WAS A FAKE NICE, AND I GOT THAT VIBE FROM MAX AS WELL. WHEN I ASKED TO TAKE A PIC WITH THEM, DAWN WAS THE FIRST TO SAY SAY “NO” I THEN TOLD HER HOW BIG OF A FAN I WAS OF HER’S AND SHE STILL SAID “NO, NO I DON’T DO PICTURES”…… I’M SORRY B****, I PUT MONEY IN YOUR POCKETS BUYING EVERY ALBUM AND SINGLE YOU’VE PUT OUT AND I CAN’T GET A PHOTO. TERRY AND CINDY WERE THE ONLY ONES WHO TOOK THE PHOTO, NOT SURE WHERE MAX RAN OFF TO. BUT IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT TERRY AND CINDY WERE THE ONES WHO APPRECIATE THEIR FANS. IT REALLY UPSET ME BECAUSE HER AND TERRY WERE MY FAVS, AND HER ATTITUDE WAS THE WORST. SHE HAD THIS “IM A DIVA, I DON’T WIPE MY OWN ASS I HAVE SOMEONE DO THAT FOR ME ” ATTITUDE, WHICH IS GREAT FOR TV, BUT NOT FOR A TRUE FAN. AND SINCE THEN I DON’T SUPPORT HER. AND NOW MY FAVORITE ALBUM IS “EV3” SO…. SORRY DAWN…..

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    • HIVE March 19, 2013

      OH AND LASTLY…. I SAW DAWN WITH AND WITHOUT MAKEUP… AND FOR THE LIFE OF ME I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY SHE WEARS MAKEUP. SHE HAS NATURAL BEAUTY HER AND CINDY….I DIDN’T SEE TERRY WITHOUT MAKEUP BUT I’D LIKE TO THINK SHE CAN GO NATURAL AS WELL, BUT MAX….. NO COMMENT LOL.

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    • Drew March 19, 2013

      That’s terrible. You should always be nice to your fans because without them you are nothing! Cindy & Terry have always been my favorite. Cindy seems like such a nice & friendly person & I like that she keeps fans up to date on all En Vogue shows, status updates & pictures on their En Vogue Facebook account @EnVogue (The Real Funky Diva’s). Saw CIndy, Terry & Rhona in concert last August with Boyz II Men & they were amazin!

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      • HIVE March 20, 2013

        Yes Cindy was by far the nicest! she was soooo sweet
        and so was Terry. I thought Max would have been a little nicer, but she might have had to go the restroom or something which is why she dipped out so quick

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  4. Corey March 19, 2013

    I luv Dawn Robinson because she’s REAL & TELL it like it is….

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  5. HOWYOULIKEIT March 19, 2013

    Dawn has always been honest. When you are in the music industry you must care about the business side of it. So sad the other girls of en vogue couldn’t realise they were tricked. They only wanted the fame and all lost at the end.
    Good luck Dawn

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    • rollingeyes March 19, 2013

      Dawn is no prize either. She’s burnt just about every bridge in the industry.

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  6. Kate Middleton March 19, 2013

    Ugly face, ugly lips, ugly big tits, ugly fat arms & just plain fat & ugly.

    …..Thank you…for reading.

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    • MaZ March 19, 2013

      And you are as ugly as your words!

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  7. Waddie G. March 19, 2013

    Thanks for interviewing her, TGJ. I have been a fan of En Vogue since 1990 and was hoping for Dawn’s solo superstardom back in 1997. Even tho solo success did not pan out that way for her, I am glad that she is still soldiering on.

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  8. rollingeyes March 19, 2013

    Again, typical nonsense from Dawn. All bark and no bite. It was her that put the other EV girls on blast, not the other way around! It’s always about Dawn Dawn Dawn, Dawn’s way or no way. B**** please, you haven’t accomplished s*** in twenty years!

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  9. MRS CARTER LOVER March 19, 2013

    LMAO SHES A B**** THAT’S WHY SHE FLOPPED

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  10. The Truth March 19, 2013

    I REALLY want to believe Dawn but I can’t. She’s had at least THREE decent opportunities that failed for her. EnVogue, Lucy Pearl and Heirs (Dawn and Max group which never saw the light of day).

    I understand groups are hard and everyone won’t always get along. Seems like almost everything Dawn has been apart of seems to fall through.

    Somewhere she’s got take some initiative and say hey maybe I did somethings to other people as well and stop always playing the victim.

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  11. sashay away March 19, 2013

    Truth is right, if there’s one thing I learned from Dawn in 20 years, is she serves nobody but herself. Bailing out on Maxine on the ‘Heirs to the Throne’ project is the latest she can add to her wonderful track record. I love her as an entertainer, but her mouth makes me sick to my stomach. The only thing she has been reinventing are her excuses and burning bridges. Same old tired mess indeed, Dawn.

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  12. Maestro March 19, 2013

    You know I almost fell for this but I actually don’t believe her. Now I agree the En Vogue situation contractually wasn’t a good one, but the ladies still continued on through out the years which doesnt make sense if the contracts were THAT BAD. I’ve also heard another side of this story which came from DAWN in an interview she did years ago when it basically came out that her EGO got in the way of what the GROUP was trying to accomplish.
    MY question would’ve been HOW CAN YOU SAY THESE GROUP OF PEOPLE HURT YOU YET WHENEVER THERE WAS A LEGITIMATE AND SUBSTANSTIAL CHECK INVOLVED YOU SHOWED UP AND PERFORMED AND ALL OF A SUDDEN WANTED TO BE IN ENVOGUE?

    ALSO!!!! I often feel like artist should give the fans what they want. If this is/was your main MONEY MAKER why give it up so easily? En Vogue still has fans 20+yrs LATER STILL WAITING for a reunion. Do like WHITE GROUPS DO when they’re not getting along, TREAT IT LIKE A JOB; RECORD, TOUR, AND LIVE like its just that you aint gotta be buddy buddy with a b**** to work with her. AND from what I hear it HER attitude that ruins the group affect for her nothing more nothing less… When more the one person mentions your attitude in this industry you get checked and don’t make a check. Which is why, NO TEE NO SHADE, Tamar hasn’t had a record deal in almost 10 yrs… her tude. THO I LOVE HER AND DAWN TO DEATH VOCALLY THEY SLAY but c’mon girls … be WOMEN for a change

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  13. mik bailey March 19, 2013

    They should have stayed together. They were smokin’ and opened the way for Destiny’s Child, who didn’t have near as much looks, talent, etc.

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  14. Drew March 19, 2013

    Here’s my thing… In 2009, TvOne wanted to do an En Vogue reality show, but that fell through because Dawn didn’t want to sign the contract unless she was given her own reality spin-off with her husband. Yeah, Dawn has left the group in 1997, came back in 2005 and then again in 2008 until December 2011. Dawn didn’t sign the record contract by Rufftown records because she didn’t like the same commitment to their producers & the bad contract, which turned out to be right. Maxine left the group in May 2012 claiming Cindy & Terry took over their bank account & forced her out the group. In July 2012, it was announced that Dawn & Maxine were creating a new group called Heris to The Thron. Dawn & Maxine were sued in November 2012 by Cindy & Terry. And in January 2013 Dawn & Maxine did 4 shows in DC but soon afterwards there were creative differences between Dawn & Maxine & Dawn left Heirs to The Thorn project to do R&B Divas, so i can’t help but think it was Dawn’s fault that she left Heirs to The Thorn because of her track record has not been great over the years. She kind of left Maxine hanging…but Maxine is performing on April 13, 2013 in Cabazon, CA without Dawn. I think Maxine should just return back to En Vogue & keep Rhona as the 4th member & record a new En Vogue album.

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  15. real shade March 19, 2013

    The real shade is that Dawn NEVER had any intention of signing any contract with En Vogue and recording an album. If she’s wiser in the business as she claims, she would no longer be known as Dawn from En Vogue. She has and will always use the En Vogue name as a reference to her own agenda. And she will always be known as the troublemaker from En Vogue. Real talk.

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  16. Sterling Infinity (Prince Of Funk) March 20, 2013

    Great interview, R&B is coming back!

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  17. what the fuss March 20, 2013

    Same fairy tales and same b******* since 1998, I’ve heard enough from this woman. If only the other En Vogue ladies and producers tell their side and put her in her place.

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  18. Christopher March 22, 2013

    B**** tried to benefit from using the En Vogue name AFTER quitting the group. TWICE. No, no baby-sit your tired ass down.

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  19. Justine Greene March 22, 2013

    The fact of the matter is that this woman burned every bridge she ever helped build and now she is once again playing the victim role. Her ex husband Dre Allen tried to get her business right and produced a reality show for her that fell through and everybody blamed him. Truth be told he gave ME a job when I was doing bad and helped me get on my feet. How many people has SHE helped in her life. Dawn is all about DAWN. So let’s recap. Hmmm. Her ex husband is a millionaire agency owner and director in Las Vegas now and works with the biggest brands and artists in America behind the scenes cuz he’s SHREWD, Raphael Saadiq is a multi millionaire artist touring constantly and reinventing himself, En Vogue is touring without her and keeping the fans happy regardless of all the drama caused by her departures, and she is broke and doing a second rate reality show on a network with no viewers to revive her dead career. I would follow the success stories and give them more credibility than her. Should have listened to your husband honey, and Raphael, and the EV managers, instead of biting the hands that fed you. Now you’re screwed. We reap what we sow.

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