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Danity Kane: Taking the Reigns

Most artists have to wait until they’ve hit the big time before the general public gets a glimpse of them on television. And even then, it might only be a carefully placed music video on a music entertainment channel. Yes, this is usually the protocol for most artists. That is of course unless your band name is Danity Kane.After the grueling process that was Making The Band, it seemed that Diddy had finally assembled his dream team. Danity Kane exploded onto the music scene in 2006 with their self-titled debut album, which not only debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200, but also spawned the hit single “Showstopper.”Yet after the success of their debut album, rumors began to surface about disharmony within the group. Many began to believe that their first album might very well be their last as Danity Kane. But then on the season finale of Making the Band 4, the girls appeared out of nowhere like the fictional superhero that is their namesake. The girls appeared to be as united as ever.This past season on Making The Band – aside from fans becoming reunited with Danity Kane as they worked on their second album – they also got to know their labelmates, the newly formed Day 26 and soloist Donnie Klang. The creation of their new project brought new challenges for the five women, yet fans watched as they stepped into the driver’s seat, took the wheel, and steered their album to completion.Now on the heels of another Number One album, Welcome To The Dollhouse, and another hit single “Damaged,” they are about to embark on their first ever headlining tour. We sat down with these ladies of Bad Boy for a chat about all things Danity…AllHipHop.com Alternatives: You guys have definitely grown a lot since we first became acquainted with you. How have your experiences changed? What is different?DK-Aundrea: With this album we definitely took a lot more creative control. We came in this time with our minds set on how we wanted to look and how we wanted to sound and what songs we wanted to sing. And we also wanted to write. We definitely went head to head with Puff to get everything that we wanted. The major difference on this album is that things are a little more our way.DK-D.Woods: Also, it’s just that the first time around we were just so happy to be in the game, just playing along. But now it’s like we have a strategy, and we are in it to win it.AHHA: Your last album was a lot more R&B. This album is a lot more Pop. Is there any particular reason you guys went in a different direction with the album this time? DK-Dawn: I think it has a lot to do with the movement of music and where it is going. I think the first album was pretty much like D said. We were told what to do, and we were excited and it was more urban because that was pretty much Bad Boy’s track record. Usually with the producers that we’re given like B[ryan-Michael] Cox, we’ve got alot of urban-sounding producers; that was the direction of where that last album went. This time around, we really wanted to expose ourselves internationally. We felt that we really didn’t touch on that before. Especially with this group and the different sounds that we have, we just can’t cater to one sound especially urban, since we have such a diverse group of girls here. So we really wanted to tap into pop music as well as urban, because the urban will be there being on Bad Boy and the group already has that ground underneath it. We really wanted to make it international – touch the clubs with that high-energy music, where music is pretty much going right now. And that’s why we worked with producers like Danja Handz, and that Euro sound. I think it was extremely smart on our part because we got on it before it really hit. Because now it seems like everything you hear is on that level. I feel like we already tapped into it, but still stayed with the Danity Kane sound that we had before; just added to it. That’s what makes us different from what’s out right now. DK-D. Woods: Also a big difference is because we had so much creative control this time around. We weren’t allowed to do that last time, although we wanted to. Sometimes you just have to play your position. So this time around, like I said, we came in with our strategy. And because [the material] is coming moreso from us, from  “the horse’s mouth,” it has a different tone than if it was given to us. Also we are dancers, which is why we have so much dance music, because we really didn’t get to express that talent as well as we would have liked to the last time out.DK-Aundrea: And even on top of that, we are just a few years older than we were, and we definitely grew as a group. We grew closer. We grew vocally. Our vocals definitely changed, and we have learned each other’s voices so much better. So we just had this set thing of how we wanted to sound.AHHA: Do you guys sense a difference in how you have been received this time around?DK-Aundrea: Definitely. I think this time out people have been more receptive. They are seeing that it’s not just TV. And also they are playing our stuff all over the radio. Radio didn’t really touch us with the last time at all. They didn’t really play us. This time it’s very different. We just went into the Top Ten for pop radio and on the Billboard charts this week. We have just been received very well.DK-Dawn: I think also we were very skeptical about the show ourselves and a little bit wary about this whole situation the first time. But this time we really took the reigns, so even the swagger of how we are and the way we approach things is a little bit different. If you give us respect, we’re gonna continue to earn [it]. As long as we are good and we continue to do our job, people are starting to see that we are not looking for approval. We are looking for the next thing we can do, the next goal we can accomplish. A lot of people are starting to see that we have a work ethic like you haven’t really ever seen. Even Diddy continues to say a lot that we are some hard working women. We are just looking for ways to make ourselves better; how we can make our fans appreciate the music more. And because of that, I think artists are starting to respect that because we are songwriters and we are trying to better ourselves as musicians as well as artists and performers.AHHA: Was the experience of being in the same house as Donnie and Day 26 and recording at the same time a bit hectic for you all?DK-Aundrea: I think in the beginning we were just a little concerned, because we didn’t really know what their work ethic was like. And we didn’t really know them at all. And we knew what WE wanted to do. We knew that we wanted to come in focused. I think we were all pleasantly surprised. They are all very very nice and very talented young men, and I think we learned a lot from them. I also think they learned a lot from us. I also think they motivated us and pushed us even more.AHHA: Have you guys gotten used to having cameras follow you around every minute of the day?DK-D.Woods: Yeah, it’s funny because now the directors from the show don’t even have to direct us. I mean it is reality TV, but there is a certain amount of “set” involved in it. It’s like we know a lot of the sound guys and cameramen so we are used to them. DK-Aundrea: It’s funny because a lot of people who aren’t really used to it…they get nervous when they approach us or when they are talking to us. And I’m like, “Calm down. Don’t even pay attention to them!” [laughs] We are so used to them being around because it’s just always been apart of how we’ve done Danity Kane. It would feel weird to not have [the camera crew].AHHA: Now if you guys could talk a bit about the tour that you guys are headlining…DK-Aundrea: Yay!! DK-Dawn: I think fans are going to be pleasantly surprised. I think Puff is smart. He knew what he was doing when he [put this tour together]. People are gonna be taken aback by Danity Kane since we have been in ten-hour rehearsals, and like D said, we are all performers and dancers so we always try to go above and beyond what the normal person would do.DK-D.Woods: You don’t want to see my feet right now! [laughs]DK-Dawn: Seven to ten hours in stilettos, and we are not tipping around the stage. I’m talking about hardcore dancing. We are rolling on the floor, doing leg lifts; we’re doing tricks. [laughs] It’s crazy! We are just constantly looking for ways that we can push the envelope. Even with the smaller venues, that doesn’t mean any [difference] for us, it doesn’t matter how small [the venue is], our brains are so big in what we wanna do visually. And because the content of our album is so meaningful, there are so many deep things we can touch on visually with the sound of the album. There is so much we can do with it. I think people are going to be really excited to see what we have in store for them. I don’t think they are ready! DK-D.Woods: Even Puff said when he comes into one of our rehearsals and he was like, no matter what [the choreographer] said…[group in unison]Y’all got this good! DK-D. Woods: But [Diddy] was really really surprised. You know, the tell tale factor in the show is can you do this with the lights on in your rehearsal clothes with no makeup and still be captivating. He said he was captivated even in the first process of our rehearsal. He was like, “I want you guys to be ready that when you guys get on stage, you might not get the crowd screaming and going crazy. They might just be taken aback and just watchin’ y’all, because I was really taken aback.” We weren’t expecting, “If there’s crickets, it’s ok. They just don’t understand what you’re doing.” AHHA: Beyond this album, beyond this tour. What’s next for Danity Kane?DK-Aundrea: We are going to take over the world!DK-Dawn: Just more. DK will be a brand name.AHHA: In 20 years if someone asked, “Who is Danity Kane?” what would be the answer?DK-Aubrey: A group of diverse women that figured out how to understand each other and unite instead of work against each other, which is the most important thing you can do.

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