Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn

Quiet in a World Full of Noise (Merge)

Contact Jessica Linker, Sam McAllister, & Ahmad Asani about Dawn Richard & Spencer Zahn

Dawn Richard and multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer Spencer Zahn reunite for their second collaborative album, Quiet in a World Full of Noise, to be released October 4th via Merge Records. In conjunction with today’s announcement, they release the lead single, “Breath Out,” and announce a fall North American tour, on sale _____. Richard and Zahn share a common collaborative ethos, a genuine sense of musical curiosity, and cosmopolitan eagerness to escape the conventions of genre. That shared vision first brought them together on 2022’s Pigments, and now reunites them for Quiet in a World Full of Noise, a bold experiment in emotional storytelling, and a blueprint for stillness, simplicity, and the art of working across differences in the midst of a polarizing cultural climate.


By turns intimate, spectral, and startling, Quiet in a World Full of Noise blends atmospheric and orchestral soundscapes with mellifluous soul, jazz, and journalistic vocalizing, expanding the definitions of what constitutes progressive, avant-garde R&B. The new album finds Richard at her most raw and exposed as she channels the emotional impact of traumatic experiences of loss into her stark lyrics and vocal performances.


On paper, Richard and Zahn’s audacious, impressionistic musical collaborations feel like a surprising match. Richard, a New Orleans–reared visionary, has had an improbable journey from late 2000s reality television and mainstream pop with girl group Danity Kane to become one of the most prolific, experimental, and visible indie R&B singer-songwriters of the last decade and a half. Zahn is an East Coast–raised multi-instrumentalist and composer working at the intersections of jazz, Americana, classical, and ambient pop. The duo’s first release, Pigments, “was one of the best projects I’ve ever made and the furthest I’ve ever been pushed as an artist,” says Richard.


The making of Quiet in a World Full of Noise began in 2023 in upstate New York. Fresh from a break-up, Zahn sat at his piano and poured himself into writing and recording instrumental compositions. “I wrote all these stream-of-consciousness pieces on piano, and they were eerie, spacious piano tracks,” he says. He used a piano that had been unconventionally tuned to the room rather than to standard pitch. These recordings were never intended to be an album, but six months later, he listened to the instrumentals again and sent them to Richard who immediately recognized their potential as the follow up to Pigments.


Richard went into the studio the next day to write and record melodies and lyrics to Zahn’s piano recordings. “I did not write this down—I purged it out, and then I didn’t change anything after it. Our family has a distorted view of therapy; I’ve had to do a lot of healing on my own. So this was a moment of severe openness, sharing that moment with the world,” says Richard. While Pigments featured a smaller, more insular group of musicians, Quiet branches out, bringing in gifted players like Bryan Senti on strings, CJ Camerieri on brass, and the 26-person Budapest Film Orchestra—recorded remotely at 4 a.m.—for the dramatic “Moments for Stillness.”


Richard describes Quiet in a World Full of Noise as grounding: “Right now, everyone’s a little bit overwhelmed. I hope that this will be the record that people put on when they need the opportunity for reflection, when they need the stillness in their lives, now more than ever.”


    Oct 22, 2024
    Minneapolis, MN

    Oct 23, 2024
    Milwaukee, WI
    Turner Hall Ballroom

    Oct 24, 2024
    Chicago, IL
    Old Town School of Folk Music

    Oct 26, 2024
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The Andy Warhol Museum

    Oct 27, 2024
    Toronto, ON
    Lula Lounge

    Oct 29, 2024
    Brooklyn, NY
    National Sawdust

    Oct 30, 2024
    Brooklyn, NY
    National Sawdust

    Nov 02, 2024
    Philadelphia, PA
    First Unitarian Church

    Nov 03, 2024
    Boston, MA
    Institute of Contemporary Art