Rap-Up TV: Dawn Richard Talks Danity Kane Breakup, ‘Blackheart,’ & Defying the Odds

Two years after her critically-acclaimed debut Goldenheart, Dawn Richard rises again with Blackheart, available now on iTunes. The singer-songwriter has remained quiet following her breakup with Danity Kane, but she opens up about the group’s demise and her new album in an exclusive interview with Rap-Up TV.

DK disbanded following a physical altercation between Dawn and Aubrey O’Day. Aubrey and Shannon Bex penned a letter addressing the breakup, but Dawn never spoke out until now. Despite the split, the trio released its final album DK3 in October.

“You make mistakes,” says Dawn as she reflects on the breakup. “I had just lost my grandmother and my father had cancer, and my only outlet was the studio. When I realized that people didn’t really want me doing the one thing that I really needed, I blacked out. You just live and you learn. I’ve never really done that and when you see yourself in a poisonous situation, you have to make the choice to get out of it. I didn’t have a choice to get out of it, it was made for me in the public eye. You say, ‘Shit, I fucked up,’ and then you move on.”

“When I realized that people didn’t really want me doing the one thing that I really needed, I blacked out”

She has closed the chapter on Danity Kane. “I think we’ve done enough to everybody. You can’t get people’s hopes up like that and then shit on ’em consistently,” she adds. “I think we’ve tarnished the name so badly…We left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.”

Following the split, Dawn returned to the studio to finish Blackheart, the second album in her trilogy. “This is my most raw and my most experimental [album],” she explains. “I’m taking a lot of risks musically, lyrically, and visually.”

She sings about her relationship with DK on one of the tracks, “Castles,” which she originally wrote for the group. “It was about us and our journey,” she says. “It just felt so fitting after everything had happened that I kept it ’cause it was so real.”

“I’m proud to say that I did it on my own”

Goldenheart topped the iTunes R&B chart and the follow-up is already No. 1 on iTunes Electronic chart—all without a major label and financial support. “I’m proud to say that I did it on my own and as a black woman in this industry, as an entrepreneur, it makes me proud,” she says. “People so badly wanna talk about the negative things, but no one ever asks how the fuck do you stay No. 1 everytime you come out with no label?”

Through her trials and tribulations, Dawn has realized her strength. “You can’t learn to fly without knowing you could fall. You have to jump. And that’s what Blackheart is. It’s this attempt to jump, but not being afraid because you might just fly.”

Dawn will perform material off her new album at shows in New York (1/22), L.A. (2/5), and San Francisco (2/7). Tickets are on sale now.