You mentioned being in a girl group before, as we all know. What is current opinion of one of those girls, Aubrey O’Day?
I don’t have one at all. I wish all of them the best, but I can’t say that I have one, not in a negative way. I don’t know anything that’s going on with her, so I couldn’t make an opinion about something that I don’t know.
Are you still cool with the guys of Day 26?
I haven’t spoken to them either. I spoke to one of their wives that I’m cool with, but honestly we working. We’re all trying to make it. Even with the Aubrey situation, the reason I don’t know is not on some shady shit. It’s just I’m really hustling, I got this mixtape I’m doing. I got a comic book that I’m working on, Dirty Money is about to go on tour. I don’t even have time to call, you know? It’s really a grind to stay relevant, a grind to appreciate what I’m doing and to keep people appreciating the work. But I know that they’re doing well because that whole crew is talented.
Do you ever look back at that situation and feel like the only one that really made it?
I don’t think that I’m the one to have made it. I think everybody makes it in their own way. Maybe Aubrey made it because she had a chance to escape that she wasn’t happy in. Maybe D made it because now she gets to do the music that she likes. Maybe Day 26 made it because they got rid of the person they felt was dragging them down. Maybe Que felt like he made it because he got away from people who didn’t want him to be apart of it. Everybody has his or her own happiness. I don’t think I’m the one standing because they might be standing away from the situation that they felt they were locked into. I feel like I made it out of my situation the best way that I could given the circumstances because I didn’t ask for any of it. I don’t feel like I’m the last one standing; I’m the one that’s still moving in my situation.
You've got all of this going on with your career, this new mixtape and you mentioned a comic book. Do you have plans of settling down?
It’s crazy because Kaleena’s married and she has a son and she’s always like ‘Dawn, you gotta have a baby! You gotta get married!’ [Laughs] She’s always pushing me, but if it’s for me and God has it for me, I’ll be ready for it at any time. Until then, music my boyfriend and we’re good. We’ve been dating for about 12 years, and he never lets me down [laughs]. We have a strong relationship, me and this music thing.
You and this music thing are going strong. Tell me about the upcoming mixtape #ATellTaleHeart.
I’ve been in two groups, and I’ve done my duty in trying to be a team player. I love every minute of it and I’ve learned so much, but I’ve also gone through a whole lot these last four years. I’ve been homeless, I’ve been in a group, we did two platinum albums and then I lost my job. Our group dismantled, and I had to deal with that. I couldn’t grieve because I had to find out how I was gonna eat. I was struggling to write, then I made Dirty Money and Dirty Money was in the studio for three years. I never got a chance to grieve, cry, smile, laugh or anything about the last four years of my life. Because I’ve been in a group, I’ve had to cater to everyone else. This mixtape is my diary. This mixtape is every tear that I was supposed to cry, every smile that I was supposed to make, every angry feeling that I’ve ever felt from the time I made the band to now, a lot of things that happned in my love life and everything I never got a chance to say. And that’s why I called it ATellTaleHeart because, if each one of you fell into my heart, the heartbeats would sound like these songs. Flaws and all, here’s my diary and accept it.
It sounds to me like people are really going to understand you and all that you've been through for the first time. Do you have any favorite tracks on the mixtape?
“Broken Record” rings true to a lot of things in my heart that I’ve gone through. It’s definitely a favorite because it’s so dope, and it doesn’t sound like anything else on the radio, but it moves fresh. A lot of my records don’t sound like the pop dance records you’re hearing right now. It’s more R&B. But it’s not about a genre, it’s about a feel. It’s urgent and it’s raw. It’s raw and it’s honest. There’s also a record called “Bulletproof” that I did. It’s very different, and I don’t know if everyone will understand it. It’s talking about Katrina and what I’ve gone through, like I’m still here. I lost everything, but the bullets keep bouncing off of me. As singers, I think we turn music into something a little dense. There’s no depth in it anymore, and I just wanna bring that depth back.