With this year's huge and ambitious GoldenHeart album, Dawn Richard has already set the bar high for pop music in 2013. Laurie Tuffrey met up with her to discuss the album, how Genesis and ballet are equal influences on her work and why P. Diddy's "a big ass dragon."
It seems unlikely for a pop star to describe their first major solo album as "seeming a bit monotonous, just a bit redundant", but that's how Dawn Richard refers to GoldenHeart, the startlingly good LP she released in January.
She is, admittedly, framing it within the context of the trilogy she's releasing, of which that record is part one, with BlackHeart and RedemptionHeart set to follow. Fittingly, GoldenHeart is a grand gesture, a 16-track first instalment, pivoting on Richard's lyrical fixation with a particularly fantastical, valiant image of love (the EP that preceded it was called Armor On), matched with an appropriately all-encompassing musical approach. If anything, that purpose-built extravagance —GoldenHeart does feel overwhelming, but in a good way — makes it even more of an impressive achievement: a pop album, working in a genre typically hinged around instant gratification, that not only urges the listener to embrace its overlength, but bows to a grander concept.