Singer, songwriter, producer, and visionary Dawn Richard will join the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for the Institute’s first week-long artist residency, Oct. 17- 21. Richard will premiere Pigments, her new album in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Spencer Zahn. Pigments will be released Oct. 21 on Merge Records.
Richard kicks off her residency on Monday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. with a world-premiere immersive listening session of Pigments at the Oswalds Mill Audio listening showroom in Dumbo, Brooklyn, co-presented by Pitchfork. Richard and Zahn will introduce the album in a moderated Q&A hosted by Pitchfork’s editor-in-chief Puja Patel.
On Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m., Richard will be joined by DJ Lindsey, the host of Sonos’ acclaimed Black is Black podcast. They’ll partner for Dancing to Dawn, a Brooklyn block party in which they’ll have a retrospective conversation about Richard’s music releases and visuals, illuminating the impressive range of her solo career and collaborations.The event culminates in a dance party featuring DJ Lindsey. It will be held at The Garage, a performing arts space located at 370 Jay St. in Brooklyn, the home of the Clive Davis Institute.
The Clive Davis Institute presents Dawn 3.0 on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. at 370 Jay St. Hosted by New York Times writer Marcus J. Moore, the in-depth conversation focuses on Richard’s trailblazing journey as an independent artist and the cutting edge of technology and changing possibilities in the music industry. Richard will talk about her work as an actor (she has appeared on HBO’s Insecure), animator, owner of a vegan food truck, consultant on Adult Swim and partner with companies such as TechStars. She’ll also discuss her work with immersive technologies such as virtual reality and live 360 degree concerts.
The final event is Performing Pigments: a World-Premiere Live Concert Experience on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Garage. The live concert features Richard, Zahn and an array of live musicians, New Orleans dancers as well as other surprises.
As part of her residency, Richard will conduct masterclasses and workshops with students, giving them a look behind the curtain into her music-making process. The residency is also supported by NYU’s Institute of African American Affairs and The Center for Black Visual Culture.
Coming on the heels of Richard’s critically acclaimed Merge debut Second Line, Pigments is an expressive soundscape that tells the story of finding one’s self through dance, self-expression, and community through the lens of New Orleans’ contemporary arts scene. It’s an immersive passage through the city as seen through the eyes of a young Black girl with dreams of painting her future with the pigments given to her. The album introduces listeners to a different facet of Richard’s talent and brings Zahn’s thoughtful creativity to a new audience.
Not strictly classical, jazz or ambient electronica but rather a body of “movements,” Pigments is one long composition guided by Richard’s stripped-down vocals. It provides a fresh introduction to Zahn, whose intimate, sprawling soundscapes play with principles of open space and motion. It marks Richard’s first step into the contemporary classical world.
“Spencer wanted to create one long piece of music that would ebb and flow around my lyrics and emotions, which tell a story of growing to love my own skin,” Richard explained. “I wanted my voice to be moss surrounding the roots of Spencer’s compositions, never forcing the moment to fill every space but rather reveling in the openness of thought and breath.” Zahn agreed, saying, “I wanted to work with all these different textures, tones, and colors to have a new sound to frame Dawn’s voice and lyrics.”
“Dawn has long had an unparalleled track record as one of the most intrepid and visionary independent pop musicians of the last 10 to 15 years. I’ve always admired the way that she’s carved her own unique path in the music industry—and I think it’s a great model for NYU Clive Davis Institute students who are inventing their own ideas about the meaning of success and the pursuit of artistic excellence,” said Jason King, Chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. “Dawn has always been ahead of the curve, embracing genre fluidity and resisting industry limitations, offering us, instead, a vision of the artist at her most liberated. I’m so happy to be able to bring Dawn to the Clive Davis Institute because she has so much wisdom and experience to offer students. It’s also a great opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate Dawn at this important moment in her ongoing career journey.”
“I’m so honored to be invited to New York University’s The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music for a week-long residency,” Richard said. “I’m really impressed by the way the Clive Davis Institute trains its students as innovative artists and music leaders. And it means so much to me that the Iinstitute has devoted a week of programming that celebrates my journey as an artist and the music I’m making now. I’m really looking forward to meeting NYU students and getting a chance to learn from them as much as or more than I can teach them. It’s also such a great opportunity to participate in conversations about the business and tech side of what I do, and to premiere the new music I’ve made with Spencer Zahn and perform it for the first time. It’s a real dream come true.”
Over the course of six critically-acclaimed conceptual solo albums, the New Orleans-born singer, songwriter, and producer has become one of the most progressive and critically-hailed forces in left-field pop, R&B, and electronic music. From her early appearances on television’s Making the Band and stints with top-selling pop groups Danity Kane and Dirty Money to solo album projects like Goldenheart (2013), Blackheart (2015), Redemption in 2016, New Breed (2019) and the widely-lauded Second Line (2021), she has forged an unparalleled career and garnered widespread visibility. She’s been a headliner on festivals and concerts, and landed hits on the Billboard R&B/hip-hop and Dance/Electronic charts.
All events are free and open to the public (NYU and non-NYU attendees are permitted). Because of limited venue capacity, RSVP/advance registration is required for each event. Registration begins Sept. 28 at 12 p.m. at https://tisch.nyu.edu/clive-davis-institute/events/dawn-richard
The schedule is:
Oct. 17 at 7 p.m., world-premiere immersive listening session of Pigments moderated by Pitchfork’s Puja Patel. Oswalds Mill Audio, 110 Bridge St., Brooklyn.
Oct. 19 at 7 p.m., “Dancing to Dawn” block party with DJ Lindsey. The Garage, 370 Jay St., Brooklyn.
Oct. 20 at 8 p.m., “Dawn 3.0,” an in-depth conversation hosted by New York Times writer Marcus J. Moore. The Clive Davis Institute, 370 Jay St., Brooklyn.
Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., “Performing Pigments: a World-Premiere Live Concert Experience” featuring Richard, Zahn and other musicians. The Garage, 370 Jay St., Brooklyn.
Future artist residencies and creative collaborations at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music for the 2022-2023 academic year will be announced in the coming weeks.
About the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music
The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University is the premier educational training ground for future leaders in the music industry. The Clive Davis Institute— founded by chief patron and music impresario Clive Davis himself — has developed a reputation for recruiting and developing the most compelling new talent in the business. Graduates include dynamic producer-songwriter Nija; musical phenoms FLETCHER and Raveena; visionary producer and performer Arca; chart-topping songwriters Take a Daytrip, Emily Warren and Madison Love; and Capitol Records’ recording artist Maggie Rogers. The Institute, which officially launched in 2003 and has been the home of instructors like Questlove, Q-Tip, Black Thought, Bob Power, Angela Winbush, and Robert Glasper, and also boasts a steady stream of talented graduates barnstorming other industry areas like business, journalism, tech, and production. Recent artists-in-residence at the Institute have included Jack Antonoff, Jamila Woods, Devonté Hynes/Blood Orange, and 100 gecs.