As a former member of the girl group Danity Kane to being in the hip-hop group Diddy Dirty Money, Dawn Angelique Richard is certainly no rookie to success on the music scene. Since her days on the MTV show Making The Band, Dawn’s vocal talent has always caught my ear and even with the disbandment of both groups the Singer/Songwriter has gladly continued to make great music.
Without any backing from a major label of some sort, Dawn has gone on to release two stellar EPs Armor On and Whiteout and a critically-acclaimed mixtape titled A Tell Tale Heart. As one who’s been eagerly following her career, I am happy she has finally released her debut solo album GoldenHeart. The 16-track album is full of songs themed along the lines of liberation in love and war; with all the tracks but one produced by Andrew “Druski” Scott. The independently released GoldenHeart which offers a uniquely crafted R&B sound debuted at #10 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart, #2 on the Heatseekers chart and #1 on the Itunes R&B charts!
We start off with the track titled “Pretty Wicked Things“, which kicks off with rippled piano chords and drum effects to create a dramatic introduction. Dawn’s adlibs creep in on the minimalistic tune for the first verse before the backing instrumentals – an upbeat drum pattern laced with synths – progress in on the track. Artistically delivered, Dawn sings of the things that once brought a love together being the same ‘wicked’ things that drive it apart with the lyrics “…and all the pretty little things that held us together are now are fallen tales turned to wicked little things that can’t seem to find the beauty in the bad”. The chorus fuses a beat that teases the song with a dub step feel, meshing genres effortlessly to create such an impressive sound.
“Tug of War” with its edgy layered synths combined with Dawn’s harmonies and backed by a percussive groove introduces us to one of the more R&B tunes on the Goldenheart album. The song stays in that mid-tempo range for most of the track and then combines with a hook that infuses a southern bounce while Dawn in her lewd lyrics dramatically sings of empowerment and taking charge. As a sucker for meaningful music, Dawn’s lyrical narrative on the track is truly appreciated.
If the two songs above haven’t sold you on GoldenHeart, this next song “NLX” is it. Dubbed the remix to the previously released “Northern Lights” (also featured on the album), this drums-led slow ballad “NLX” is the epitome of an amazing track. Dawn sings of liberating herself from a situation where a love has turned sour. I’m usually impressed when an artist delivers content in an abstract form rather than the cliché lyrics and Dawn does exactly that on this track, with lines like “tying to run to the right is all I have left” and “I gotta pay this debt, I owe you for all the tears that I wept”. Produced by D’Mile, Dawn bares her emotions on this and you can’t help but – voluntarily or involuntarily – connect with the song. Three words – headphones highly recommended!
The one thing I most especially like about GoldenHeart is the album can’t be characterized into one genre; as it fuses sounds that make it aesthetically eclectic. In other words, Ms. Richards may have just created her own genre! Other recommended tracks off the album are “Frequency“, “Ode to You“, “Warfair” and the album’s lead single “86“. She also keeps with the ‘ medieval-battle’ theme as seen in her recent and previous art works and giving her tracks titles such as “Goliath” and “Riot“. Dawn’s heart and soul was clearly put into creating this album and without the backing of a label or not, her music would definitely continue to go far.
Purchase: Dawn Richard – Goldenheart (iTunes)