Album Review: DAWN - 'new breed'


Dawn Angeliqué Richard aka DAWN might be a name that isn’t too familiar to many people in the currently state of the music industry, but she is a veteran to the industry in her own right. After auditioning for Making The Band and winning a spot in the girl group Danity Kane, back in 2005, it has been a rollercoaster ride for Dawn, but as always, she comes back fighting.

‘new breed’ is Dawn’s latest album that is all about regaining femininity and strength after years of mistreatment, celebrating her Creole and Haitian roots, as well as capturing a mix of old-school R&B and jazz sounds, that are slowly making a resurgence. “I am a lion, I am a woman. Nothing can stop me; do what I wanna” she sings, in ‘new breed’ which is an anthem and testament to the message of self-confidence she is trying to portray. ‘spaces’ takes on a similar tone, opening with a spoken word piece detailing the experience of having “so many men in power telling me I was too brave, too confidence, too black, too ugly, too thin” before moving into subtle electronica and soca-inspired beats. 

Though not all of the album is on a serious tone. ‘dreams and converse’ and ‘shades’ explore the realms of jazz and funk, in a similar style to what Tom Misch has made his signature. There’s an art to the way Dawn sings about seduction and sex over funky beats that are through and through head-bopping summer songs. This is further displayed in the sensual and almost explicit ‘sauce’. We are generally used to hearing male rappers discuss vulgar details about sex with women, so it is actually quite refreshing for Dawn to reverse the scenario; “going to work like Rihanna told ya, til that sauce is all over.”

What breaks up the album, in such cleverly crafted fashion, is soundbites of conversation, acapella outros and spoken-word excerpts. These range from interviews with people discussing female sexuality, changing perspectives of power and the subject of infidelity. ‘jealousy’ and ‘vultures | wolves’ feature all of these and are a perfect example of the range and control of emotions that Dawn is able to access, vocally, and how she has been able to stay relevant in the music industry for such a long time.

Words by Tyler Damara Kelly

DAWN's new album, 'new breed', released on 25th January 2019 via Local Action Records/Our Dawn Ent.