Dawn Richard

The Architect (Merge)

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

Dawn Richard, the musician, multimedia artist, animator, dancer, director, entrepreneur, and New Orleans dynamo, releases The Architect today via Merge. The Architect is an epoch marking the next step in the winding, unpredictable, and layered musical genius of Dawn Richard. Envisioned as one long seamless body of work, The Architect weaves from the warbling industrial instrumental opening of “Your Love / Legends” to pure pop-dance bangers “Bubblegum” — out earlier this year to a wealth of praise — and “Babe Ruth,released alongside a new video today.


Of The Architect, Richard says: “I’ve always had a fascination with the concept of a ‘traditional single release.’ How the industry tells you, in order to have a successful single, it has to be a certain amount of minutes to be played on radio, or streamed, or on a chart. I say fuck that. I never agreed with that construct. I wanted to create a single that was similar to a conceptual album. If you take away the idea that it has to be for radio, that it has to be a clean edit, that it has to be a specific thing in order to be successful, what would be the outcome? Epoch 1.”


“I wanted to collaborate with more women producers and DJs. I really appreciate Gina Jeanz and what she’s creating, and contacted her to see if she’d work with me on this record. Between Wes and Taylor, Gina Jeanz and I, we wanted to make a hybrid of sounds that make you want to shake your ass,” comments Richard on “Babe Ruth.” The song nods back to Richard’s career as an All Star Softball catcher: “I’m the home runner hitter, originator, the juice/I knock the shit out the park/Every time/Call me Babe Ruth.” Its video strips away the bells and whistles, and is all about the dance.


Over the span of six critically acclaimed full-length albums, Dawn Richard treats Louisiana Creole culture, New Orleans bounce, and Southern Swag as elemental, allowing her to weave in and out of house, footwork, R&B, and more. As she proudly proclaimed on her album Second Line: “I am the genre.” Her latest album — the experimental Pigments, a collaborative album released last October with multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer Spencer Zahn — is an orchestral fusion of neoclassical, ambient, and jazz. It was praised by the likes of The New York Times, NPR, The FADER, and Pitchfork, who hailed it as Best New Music.


In addition to her prolific musical output, Richard is active in a number of other artistic fields. She works in creative direction and creative partnerships with Adult Swim; she runs the Papa Ted’s vegan food truck in New Orleans, dedicated to supporting the local NOLA art community; and she is passionate about emerging technology, as well as the intersection of tech and art. Last October, Richard was the Artist in Residence at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, marking the first time the Institute has hosted a visiting artist for a full week of programming.


Next month, Richard will present at AFROTECH in Austin, Texas, on the World Builders: The New Storytelling Frontier panel. She’ll then head overseas to perform at Pitchfork London and the London Jazz Festival. Tour dates are listed below and tickets are on sale now.