For a few years, Dawn Richard has been independently releasing some of the best, deepest, and most experimental R&B out, and in the States it's been comparatively under-noticed—even as her former crew Danity Kane reunited and broke up again to a slew of tabloidy headlines. What gives! Regardless, in January, she released the excellent Blackheart, a somber, sober, sprawling follow up to the equally excellent Goldenheart (2013), both of which showcase the total freedom with which she writes her songs: they're always structurally unorthodox, with synth stanzas that trail off and cramped beats roiling out beneath her supple voice, which always sounds a bit haunted.

"Projection" is a centerpiece to Blackheart, part of a triad of yearning songs that act as the album's climax, a sort of turning point. The brand new Monty Marsh-directed video, which is debuting here, is as perfect a visual representation as this song demands: as Richards reliably returns to the hook "I see you in my head," she's submerged in a bath, the water casting pillars of light on her face, illusory and wispy as the song.

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If you want an example of how intensely creative Richards' albums are, go no further than the feathery flute solo at 3:33, as she sings wantonly around it—just as startlingly as the flute comes in, the song ends, the finality of a thought. But it's not about a lover, as you might intone; Richards says, "t he definition of 'Projection' is the presentation of someone in her or his own unique way. Though people will always scrutinize and bully you about what they think you should look like, you are art."

Click here to view this cache.vevo.com embed.

With all that in mind, she's doing a relevant contest:

Fans are encouraged to submit their own covers of "Projection" using the hashtag #ProjectYou on Vine, where Dawn will revine her favorites and pick a winner who will receive a copy of Blackheart on vinyl and a pair of her Black Era sunglasses. Welcome Dawn to Vine athttp://vine.co/DawnRichard.

Like many men and women, Dawn has been subjected to harsh criticism from the media about her appearance. #ProjectYou represents an embrace of sexuality, a stand for self-love, and an appreciation of beauty in every form it takes.

These are sentiments we can get down with! Definitely cop Blackheart on iTunes or on vinyl, it's excellent.

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Image via screenshot.


Contact the author at julianne@jezebel.com.