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Saturday, November 3, 2018

Exclusive Interview: Danity Kane's Sisterhood is Strong as They Reunite for 'The Universe is Undefeated' Tour



ICYMI

Danity Kane fans were absolutely stunned last August when it was announced that Aubrey O'Day, Dawn Richard, and Shannon Bex had not only mended fences personally, but they were planning on hitting the road together with their The Universe is Undefeated tour. Fans of the girl group, originally formed as part of Diddy's Making the Band series back in 2005, already know the history and how by 2014 three members remained and DK3 was unveiled. A new album arrived as the group itself crumbled and in the four years since O'Day and Bex formed Dumblonde, a successful EDM duo while Richard has also thrived with her solo projects.

I don't think anyone was expecting a reunion of Danity Kane but everyone sure seems to be pretty excited about it. Fans of O'Day, Richard and Bex will have a chance to see and hear every bit of their musical stylings on this upcoming tour and the ladies themselves couldn't be happier about it. I had a chance to chat with them today in between rehearsals and they seem to be in a really great place. They've grown up and into stronger, more peaceful versions of their younger selves. Their differences are a strength rather than a fighting point and their sisterhood is fueled by acceptance and positivity.

Here's a glimpse of this conversation. Full audio will be coming soon as well.

Cate Meighan: I have to ask right off the top, how did you guys end up reconciling and then reuniting as Danity Kane?

Aubrey O'Day: I was in therapy for a while and kind of got to a place where I wanted to resolve the past wounds that were able to be mended, and so I reached out to Dawn. We ended up talking for hours, just reconnecting in an honest and sincere way. We worked past the damage and pain that we both felt until we found a place where we could really connect as friends again. We were in that place as friends for a while before we decided to get back together and do this tour. Repairing the friendship came first for us because it was the most important thing.

CM: There seems to be a new sense of authenticity this time around.

AO: It's not an easy life working in this industry, to be completely honest. All of us have had bad experiences and I think that is part of what drives us to come back together and to perform onstage together. We're obviously all in love with art, creation and making music, but we also want to stand for a deeper purpose in life. The power that we have as women is that we're able to recover and come together, without needing to agree on every detail. We can just respect each others' experiences. It's so powerful in this day and age, visually to show women that you can prevail and support each other. We can operate as a source of strength for each other instead of tearing each other down.

CM: How is this reunion different from when you patched things up back in 2014?

Dawn Richard: I agree with what Aubrey said, we are now as women really able to talk to each other. We don't always have to agree, instead, we can just look at the bigger picture while respecting each other. We've always put so much out there for the fans and it has always been about them. Part of that now is setting an example by not always being up against each other. We want to show them that you can have disagreements and still be sisters and stand beside each other. We've always been told that there are things that we just can't do and we have always managed to overcome those things. I think in the bigger picture we are much stronger together and this time around we really understand that and can support each others' process.

AO: Something important that we've really understood this time around is that society in general, wants to box people in, especially women. They want to box you up and be able to define you because that makes everyone else's life a bit easier. We also had a tendency to do that, we learned it at seventeen years old, we internalized it and at times we stood against each other. Now, instead of boxing each other in we want to see each other alive in as many creative areas as possible. That has created a freedom that we weren't mature enough to understand until this point. Now all of us have this perspective and it has been a free and open exploration of ideas rather than a frustrating situation.

CM: Your fans are all wondering if you've got anything up your sleeve for DK besides this tour. Is there any new music or a reality series in the works?

DR: We are happy to have come back together and our focus is really on working on us. We're thrilled that the fans want us to do so many different things but we're just going to let our passion and our hearts lead us for now rather than having a specific blueprint.

CM: After putting out solo projects and literally creating Dumblonde from the ground up, has your approach towards DK changed since the last time you worked together?

AO: It's the same process as any type of soul work. It's a challenge and you have difficulties and strife that makes you stronger. It works for the soul and also for your craft. Any time I can't do something it becomes do or die time. I have a winners spirit (laughing) so I just always figure it out. Those moments have really defined my growth and my purpose. Life's not fair. Dawn and I talk about this all the time. We'll talk about different perspectives on what women go through and there are so many different struggles that aren't fair. Sometimes the way that things are handled just isn't fair and the bottom line is that life isn't fair and that's a hard one for me to swallow.

CM: It's especially hard when you have to work together and not everyone is on the same page.

AO: When you're on a path of bettering yourself and growing you really want everyone around you to step up and rise with you. Unfortunately, in life, everyone operates on different frequencies and what I've learned is that you need to stay in your frequency and not come down to make other people feel more comfortable. You need to trust your journey and you'll find people operating in your frequency or even higher so they'll lift you. You just have to trust the process no matter how alone or scared you may feel. Even if you fail it just means you're getting closer to a win. Failure is a really good thing in life, it sucks and it's hard but you have to try and take it with grace. It's really just a symptom of future success.

I used to think I had success in superficial things like getting more opportunities or digital fame, things like that. Now I think that those things revolve more around luck and timing than they do around abilities. So now that I've had to shoot music videos on my own, come up with the creatives, get behind the camera and direct it, then download all the programs and edit it- I understand the feeling of having success based on being capable. These are the kinds of things that all three of us have done now. Plus we're managing our own tour, the costuming and lighting designs. Everything from start to finish is within our control and there is power in that. They say that no one executes your passion better than yourself and so you get to a point where you embrace the difficult days because they are what make you the strongest. There are different levels of difficulties too and you have to learn which ones to take on. Difficulties that challenge your capacities are great, ones that are toxic and weighing you down are not.

CM: Is there any new music from either Dawn, Dumblonde or DK on the near horizon?

AO: Dawn's solo project will be releasing something next year and Dumblonde has something coming as well. Danity Kane is always working on music so you just never know there.

CM: What do you want the fans to know this time around?

AO: That we'll never give up on them and that we're so thankful that they've never given up on us. The true reason that we reunite and go through all the difficulties of working on bettering our relationship as sisters is not just for money. I mean the three of us are all about a paycheck (laughing), but it's always been about so much more than that. We've never been girls that have made tons of money. We had double platinum albums and weren't getting paid. We were going home and living under our parents' roof without cars. We have been in some bad business deals, just trying to make it while pursuing our dream. There is something in all of us that is just not willing to move forward if it's not sincere. The last time we had this completed album and we were still at a point of breaking. We weren't in the right place as women to continue because there is nowhere good to go if it isn't done with sincerity. A lot of people do compromise that in the entertainment industry and I'm really proud of the fact that we don't. When you see us back together it's because that is exactly where we want to be. The fans can count on sincerity and an authenticity from us. Most of all we want the fans to buy tickets and come to our shows. We can't wait to see them on tour!


Here are The Universe is Undefeated tour dates & you can grab tickets right here!

11/08/18: Washington, DC

11/09/18: Wilmington, DE

11/10/18: Freehold, NJ
11/11/18: Boston, MA
11/15/18: Cleveland, OH
11/16/18: Detroit, MI
11/18/18: Grand Rapids, MI
11/30/18: Pasadena, CA
12/03/18: Minneapolis, MN
12/08/18: Reading, PA
01/11/19: Dallas, TX
11/12/19: Houston, TX

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