DAWN Puts on for Indie Artists, Black & Brown Girls During NPR Tiny Desk Concert

by Ashlee Nicole
DAWN performing on NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts

DAWN performing on NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts
Source: YouTube/NPR Music

If you follow me, you know that I absolutely love NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concerts. The video series showcase live performances by artists at the NPR Music Office. From mainstream to indie, Tiny Desk Concerts give artists a platform to intimately connect with fans. So far, my favorite concerts are Tyler, The Creator, Goldlink, and most of all, Daniel Caesar; I can literally sit and watch them all day.

Last month, New Orleans’ own DAWN graced the NPR Music Office with a fierce but intimate set. Dawn Richard, who once went by D∆WN, has been in the music industry for years. She first began as a member of Danity Kane, an all-girl group created by Diddy on his Making The Band reality show. Once the group disbanded, Dawn joined fellow singer/songwriter, Kalenna Harper, and became the duo, Dirty Money. Together, with Diddy, they performed as Diddy – Dirty Money.

Now, Dawn is an indie artist, looking for her moment to shine. “We have only waited 300,000 years to be here on Tiny Desk,” she jokes while thanking the platform for allowing her to showcase her music. “I am unsigned and going from, like, my whole journey — from being on mainstream — a huge label, to being, literally indie, as in no label, no manager, no booker, no nothing. And to be able to grace this office is kinda bomb.”

DAWN performing on NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts
Source: YouTube/NPR Music

DAWN opens her set with “Waves,” an anthem for women who are underpaid, under-appreciated, and undervalued. With lyrics like, “If you at you job and they promotin’ everybody who ain’t sh*t/Listen, it’s ok to take a second to remember you deserve this,” the song immediately grabbed my attention. Next up, she sang “Vines (Interlude)” and “Lazarus,” two tracks from her 2016 album, Redemption.

“It’s for everyone who’s ever been slept on. I find it interesting that, when you’re a brown or black girl, and you try to do something beyond R&B or Hip-Hop, it’s not always cool ’cause they don’t get it. They think you’re trying too hard,” DAWN says, before performing “Lazarus.” “Sometimes you’re misunderstood. You know exactly who you are, but everybody else can’t quite figure you out. I wrote this record for that person.”

Check out DAWN’s Tiny Desk performance:

New concert alert!


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In August 2018, Dawn, along with ex-Danity Kane members, Shannon Bex and Aubrey O’Day (who, together formed the duo, Dumblonde), announced a 16-city U.S. tour. They will be performing live on Thursday, November 1, 2018, at the House of Blues New Orleans. Tickets are on sale now.

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