Dawn Richard and Spencer Zahn Announce Collaborative Album 'Pigments'

Hear the four-part first movement now

Photo: Clifford Usher

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Aug 30, 2022

New Orleans-based singer-songwriter (and former Danity Kane member) Dawn Richard has joined forces with composer and multi-instrumentalist Spencer Zahn for a collaborative album.

Pigments will colour us in on October 21 via Merge. It follows Richard's debut for the label, 2021's Second Line.

The pair first collaborated on Zahn's aptly titled 2018 debut, People of the Dawn. This time around, they sought to create a project together that would be a departure from Richard's characteristic dance and celebratory R&B music and something more aligned with her taste for the avant-garde.

The resulting body of "movements" can't be neatly categorized as jazz, ambient electronic, classical or otherwise, but acts as one long composition along Zahn's intimate, sprawling soundscapes, led by Richard's stripped-down vocals. They've shared the first of these movements today, dropping the album's opening four tracks.

Pigments illustrates the story of someone — as Richard puts it — "painting with broke brushes." 

"I felt like the tools that I and other people like me were dealt weren't shiny," she explained in a statement. "Yet we still painted these beautiful pictures. This album is what it means to be a dreamer and finally reach a place where you've decided to love the pigments that you have."

Telling the story of finding oneself through creative self-expression against the backdrop of the contemporary New Orleans arts scene, the duo paint a vivid picture of community and empathy.

"The point is that we're going through the same thing in different ways," Richard added. "No matter what walks of life we come from, the story can be similar."

Hear "Coral," "Sandstone" and "Indigo," and watch the video for "Vantablack" — which marks Richard's directorial debut — below.


1. Coral
2. Sandstone
3. Indigo
4. Vantablack
5. Sienna
6. Cerulean
7. Opal
8. Saffron
9. Crimson
10. Cobalt
11. Umber

Preorder Pigments.

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