Born & Raised:
Full name: Dawn Angelique Richard.
Born: Aug. 5, 1983 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Dawn Richard, who's of Creole and Haitian descent, was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her father, Frank Richard was the lead singer and percussionist with the 1970s Soul/Funk band Chocolate Milk; her mother owned a dance performance school. Dawn knew from early childhood that she wanted to be a performer, and showed a knack for writing, composing and singing music. She spent much of her childhood developing her choreography and dancing skills at her mother's school. Dawn was also an athlete; she won a high school national basketball champion as well as a state bowling champion. Around the same time, she also performed locally, first with a group who called Realiti, then as a solo artist under the name Dawn Angelique. While in her late teens and early 20s, she balanced education and athletics with performing: She attended the University of New Orleans under a full scholarship; continued her dedication to the art of dance by performing with the New Orleans Hornets cheerleading squad for two seasons.
Working with Diddy:
In 2005, Dawn auditioned for the MTV reality show "Making the Band 3" in Orlando, and was chosen to compete for a spot on the show, during which music mogul Sean Combs (aka Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and later, just Diddy) would form an all-girl singing group. During the season Dawn was chosen for the group along with Shannon Bex, Aubrey O'Day, Aundrea Fimbres and Wanita "D.Woods" Woodgette. The group's name, Danity Kane, was taken from a female superhero that Dawn had created while in the studio. During their time together, the group released two albums, a self-titled release in 2006 and Welcome to the Dollhouse in 2008. The group was disbanded by Diddy in 2009. The same year, Diddy formed the hybrid hip-hop/R&B trio Diddy-Dirty Money, featuring himself, Dawn and singer Kalenna Harper. The group released one album, Last Train to Paris, in December 2010.
About two months after Diddy-Dirty Money's debut album, Dawn released a free solo mixtape called Prelude to a Tell-Tale Heart
, in February 2011. In late 2011, Diddy disbanded Dirty Money, and around the same time Dawn asked for and received her release from Diddy's Bad Boy Records. Since then, Dawn has worked on music independently while seeing another label deal. Her debut solo EP, Armor On
, was self-released through iTunes in March, 2012.
"I'll never leave this thing that I'm dating and I'm married to called music. I feel like the music industry is the chapel that we get married in. I can get married in any chapel, but as long as I have my husband with me, I'm good. That's where I am with music. The industry is just a house around you, if it crumbles, if you still have the love of your life with you, it doesn't really matter." -- Dawn Richard to theboombox.com in March 2011 re: whether she's ever felt like leaving the music industry.