Dawn Richard. Arguably one of the most dedicated members of Diddy’s protégés, Danity Kane. At 25 years old, like the rest of us, she has encountered her fair share of disappointments, most of which were not seen on the MTV series Making The Band. As sweet and delicate as she may appear, she lets me know the raw deal, and what really goes on in her life. Her first rule: ‘Success does not come for free.’ The price is pain. Let’s start from the beginning…
Louisiana, New Orleans is the place you call home that was deeply affected by the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. Millions saw the effect it had on the people living over there. How did this personally affect you?
It was very hard; we lost our homes, and our dancing school, those were the two things that meant the most to us. We had no idea where we were gonna sleep, where we were gonna eat, we had lost absolutely everything – other than that, it affected my career because back then we hadn’t finished working on the series Making The Band, so I had to go back and do the show. It was very stressful, but it turned out positive – we had to start over. It was a hard process.
How did you manage to motive yourself again?
My spirituality is strong, so I would say God did that for me. Other than that, I had a great base, you know, great parents, they supported me, so even through the worst times, they helped me look at the positive and keep moving. If you keep looking at the negative you will never get out of the hole that you’re in.
Is it true before Danity Kane you were the warm up act for Anthony Hamilton?
Yes, watching him perform, the process was so inspiring, he did it with so much heart and passion when he was on stage; he made me wanna do the same.
What would you say is the most valued lesson of being a part of Danity Kane?
I learnt about myself, you have to be able not to loose yourself, because you can loose yourself in this business. You have to come with a lot of love, passion and the eye of the tiger in this industry because there are a lot of snakes out there, so it’s hard to stay afloat, and it can make you loose that love. When you start losing the thing that you came in with, you start to hate the thing that you loved once. Once you stay true to yourself and stay true to the passion you have in the business, then you’ll survive.
What would you say is the highlight of being in Danity Kane?
Highlight? Easy! That has to be performing on the stage for the fans every night! I love it, it’s crazy hearing people sing the songs that you have written. I’ll never forget them singing some of the songs I wrote on the album – it was like the biggest highlight! When they sang Lights Out, I wanted to cry, you know, because that was my song; that was my baby! I wrote that! People were singing the lyrics! That was really my dream – to hear people singing a song that came from my heart.
A lot of the time on reality TV shows we don’t see the harsh realities of being in the music and media industry. What was your biggest setback?
The worst thing about this is being on TV, you know, people see you on TV and they don’t want to separate the two. Then they will say ‘Oh, they are just reality TV stars’, and it’s like no, we are artists that have a TV show, and I think that people sometimes forget that. You know, it makes it hard, as well as the editing. People don’t understand that there is more to a story than what’s on TV. That becomes difficult. People start coming up with rumours, and it starts to damage your image and damage who you are. People have this idea that it’s the truth, when it’s only part of the truth, and everybody knows that life has many layers and many situations that lead up to one experience, and there are always five or ten sides to any particular story.
Talking of rumours, are you able to clarify the Danity Kane/DK3 situation for us? There are rumours that a few members have left the group…
I can’t confirm anything! All I can say is that I do still want to be a part of Danity Kane. I would love to rock with them again, every day of the week if I could! But, like I said, this is a business based on five sides and I can only verify my side. I’m willing to rock whenever because I love this business.
Tell me about you producing the remix of British star, Cherri V’s music, how did that come about? What’s the story?
Oh my gosh! Cherri is my girl, you know! She contacted me through MySpace! I liked her music and I told her so, and so we were like ‘We should do something together’. It’s crazy! I love her song, she’s amazing!
So it happened just like that?
Yeah, I love talking to people. I love people who are trying to make it – I was that person, hell, I still am that person, you know! So I support anyone who is a great singer and who makes great music, and she’s a great singer and a great artist.
What other projects are you presently working on?
Now I’ve done an alter-ego comic based on me and on our group, Danity Kane. It’s out right now. I’m really excited about it because I’ve got a follow up comic book coming out in stores in March 2009, and I also have another single being released. It’s all independent, it’s not on the Bad Boy label, and it’s the single that is leading up to the soundtrack entitled All The Way, which you can hear on MySpace. It’s really dope; I’m really excited about it!
Words by Simone Byer