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Dawn Richard – from girl group star to future R&B queen

The former Danity Kane singer’s triumphant quest for solo stardom has taken in everything from Greek mythology to feminist reworkings of classic pop

When the R&B singer Dawn Richard abandoned the safety of the major-label machine to strike out on her own in 2011, she was gambling. All she’d managed to release under her own name was one promising but flawed mixtape. So that she intended to start her solo career with a concept trilogy of albums – despite lacking a team around her, let alone a record deal – was seen as overly ambitious. “Everyone laughed at me,” she recalls wryly.

In 2011, Richard was just another girl group refugee who talked a good game – Danity Kane, formed by Diddy on MTV’s Making the Band in 2005, had scored two US No 1 albums before disbanding three years later. Since reinventing herself as D∆WN in 2015, she’s found acclaim in the underground dance world. But her true triumph is the visionary body of work she’s put together, vast in sonic, thematic and technological scope, that – having taken in medieval warfare, Norse and Greek mythology and feminist reimaginings of classic pop archetypes – has now culminated with the final instalment of the promised trilogy, the appropriately titled Redemption.

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