Dawn Angeliqué Richard was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Music has played an influential part in her life since early childhood. Her father is Frank Richard, former lead singer and percussionist of the popular Funk/Soul band Chocolate Milk. Her mother owned a dancing school where Dawn spent much of her childhood developing her skills at choreography and singing.
In her early teens, Richard began performing with a local New Orleans group called "Realiti." Discovered by Kemic A. Smothers at a 2004 live performance at Tipitina's Uptown in New Orleans, Richard was soon signed under the name "Dawn Angelique" to an exclusive recording contract/development deal with Octarve Anderson, Jr. and his Atlanta independent record label, Yeah! Brother Records.
After recording the album Been a While, featuring the single "So What," Yeah! Brother Records and its New Orleans management company, Scratch Entertainment, agreed to postpone release of the album while arranging an immediate release from her exclusive recording contract so she could work with Sean "Diddy" Combs of Bad Boy Records. During the recording of "Been A While," she was an NBA cheerleader for the New Orleans Hornets while attending the University of New Orleans.
Richard's "big break" came in 2005 when she auditioned for the MTV show Making the Band 3 in Orlando, where she was chosen to compete for a spot in Combs's future girl group. She beat out numerous contestants to secure herself a spot, along with Aubrey O'Day, Aundrea Fimbres, Wanita Woodgett (now known as "D. Woods"), and Shannon Bex. The newly formed group became Danity Kane.
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-----The idea for the name of the group came from one of Richard's drawings. An avid fan of manga, while Danity Kane was in the studio, Richard drew a female superhero which caught the attention of Combs. When asked what the character's name was, she replied, "Danity Kane." He chose it as the name of the group. The name and story were first introduced during Danity Kane's Total Request Live appearance on June 14, 2006.
Richard has also remixed a song with London-based artist Cherri V, whose title is "Fast Car." The song has since become one of the most listened to songs on Cherri V's MySpace. Early 2008, a song called "Phase" was leaked onto the internet and featured Lil Wayne. Although it was considered a Danity Kane track, only Richard's voice was featured on the song.
In July 2008, two new tracks were released onto the internet, one called "Rush Love" which featured Flo Rida, and another track called "Strobe Light" written by Mary Brown. In January 2009, Danity Kane split up.
In 2009, Richard began working with Bad Boy Records, writing for Cassie and for Combs himself. Richard then become a member of another group called Diddy-Dirty Money, which includes Combs and singer/songwriter Kalenna Harper. The band worked on Diddy's new album Last Train to Paris.
They have released three singles to date; "Angels," "Love Come Down" and "Hello Good Morning" featured rapper T.I. Richard became the first member of Danity Kane to have released professional music under a major label after their split.
Since 2010, Richard has been busy working on putting the finishing touches on her mix-tape, The Prelude to A Tell Tale Heart. Dawn has released "Me Myself & Y" which she released as a promotional single on globalgrind.com. Other are "These Tears," and "Let Love In. It's called "the prelude to..." since there will be official debut studio album by Dawn Richard entitled A-Tell Tale Heart, which she has worked on for past 3 years.
Dawn has announced that her major solo debut project will be a broken up trilogy of albums entitled GoldenHeart, BlackHeart, and RedemptionHeart. GoldenHeart, the first of the triology is expected to be released late 2011. On June 19, 2011 a buzz track entitled "Stuck On Mad" was released to the public, followed by a remix of Frank Ocean's "Novacane."