by KC Vines
Independent. Record. Label.
I like all three words- but something happens when they are put together that transcends the sum of the parts. Dawn Richards was the most talented contestant in P Diddy’s “Makin the Band” in 2004 and went on to have success in various acts in the decade. The New Orleans artist is the exciting signing to the independent record label Merge records. Merge is located in Durham North Carolina. The roster has included Dinosaur Jr, Arcade fire, Neutral Milk Hotel and Waxahatchee
Morning / Streetlight, the new single is a centrepiece of Richard’s new album, Second Line. “One time, …your father” says Debbie Richard, Dawn’s mother, in the spoken intro representing past, the first part of the triptych. Present in contrast “you gon’ remember me in the morning”, sees Richard’s layered vocal over a relaxed r’n’b guitar chop. For the cosmic cinematic climax, the breakbeats kick in and the track speeds up for a long run out “I’m always ahead of time” sings Richard at the close.
This track, with its background of a millennium hi-flier industry-backed r’n’b artist signing to Merge, seems set up for a new TV show. Fifteen kilometres along the Interstate from Merge is Hillsborough, home of Yep Roc Records, making this locale, west of Rayleigh, a hub of classy independents. Hard to think of Dawn Richard’s UK contemporary Nadine Coyle signing for a grassroots indie label.
Morning / Streetlight is roots r’n’b electronica at its best and is released as a single now. The album Second Line dropped on 30th April.