Dawn Sherrese Robinson (born November 24, 1965) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Robinson rose to fame in the early 1990s as a member of the R&B quartet En Vogue, one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time. Following her departure from the group, Robinson joined Lucy Pearl and they released their self-titled debut album in 2000, which sold a million copies worldwide and produced the top charting single "Dance Tonight".
In 2002, Robinson released her first solo album Dawn, which produced the single "Envious". In 2005, Robinson rejoined En Vogue for a tour, but departed from the group before they could record another album. In 2009, Robinson briefly returned to En Vogue again for their 20th Anniversary Tour. In 2010, she left En Vogue for the final time due to poor management and compensation of work. In 2013, she joined the cast of R&B Divas: Los Angeles for the first season of the series.
Throughout a career spanning 25 years, Robinson has sold over 11 million records with En Vogue and Lucy Pearl. Her work has earned her several awards and nominations, including two American Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award, four MTV Video Music Awards, and four Soul Train Music Awards.
Robinson was born in New London, Connecticut.
1989-1997: En Vogue:
In July 1989, Robinson traveled to Oakland, California to audition for the group. Robinson was one of the four women selected to become apart of the female group En Vogue. They began recording their debut album in August 1989 and finished in December of the same year. In 1990, En Vogue released their first single "Hold On", which became a number one single. Later that year, the group released their debut album Born to Sing, which sold a million copies. The group released their multi-platinum second album Funky Divas in 1992. Robinson sang lead vocals on the album's top charting singles including "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)", "Giving Him Something He Can Feel", and "Free Your Mind", which remain one of their signature songs. "Free Your Mind" won two MTV Video Music Awards for "Best R&B Video" and "Best Dance Video".
The following year, En Vogue released an EP in the fall of 1993, entitled Runaway Love. The extended play featured Robinson's lead vocals on the number one hit "Whatta Man", which featured Salt-n-Pepa. The song also appeared on Salt-N-Pepa's Very Necessary album.
In 1996, En Vogue recorded "Don't Let Go (Love)" with Robinson singing lead vocals. The song featured on the soundtrack to the motion picture Set It Off. Released in the autumn, it became the group's biggest hit to date and the single peaked at number one on the R&B singles chart. It also sold over a million copies and became certified platinum by the RIAA. Inadvertently, it would also be the final En Vogue single to feature Robinson. One of Robinson's final performances with the group came in October of that year, when the group sang the final National Anthem rendition in the history of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, which came in game five of the 1996 World Series. In response to the large commercial success of "Don't Let Go (Love)", the group steadfastly went to work on its third album. As the album was nearing completion, Robinson chose to leave the group in April 1997 after difficult contractual negotiations reached a stalemate. Despite Robinson's abrupt departure, En Vogue resolved to continue on as a trio. Later that year, Robinson gave guest vocals on The Firm's hit song "Firm Biz" which sampled Teena Marie's classic single "Square Biz".
1999-2000: Lucy Pearl:
Following her departure from En Vogue, Robinson joined Lucy Pearl in 1999. The group released their self-titled debut album in May 2000 on EMI Records, which sold over a million copies worldwide. The album's lead single "Dance Tonight" charted at number five on the R&B singles chart. Following the released of the album, Lucy Pearl toured in the United States and made several appearances on many television shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Chris Rock Show.
In October 2000, Lucy Pearl released the second single "Don't Mess with My Man", which became the group's most successful single in the UK, peaking at number twenty in the UK Singles Chart. It also garnered some success in France where it peaked at number fourteen. However in the United States, the song was not as successful as debut single "Dance Tonight", peaking outside of the Billboard Hot 100. Shortly after the released the second single, Robinson left the group due to the lack of fair compensation within the group. After unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a fair agreement with her bandmate Raphael Saadiq, Robinson quit the group and was replaced by Joi. However, Lucy Pearl disbanded in 2001 without releasing a second album.
2001-2006: Dawn and return to En Vogue:
In 2001, Robinson was then signed with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records. After appearing on a few soundtracks, Robinson released a solo album entitled Dawn, released by Atlantic Records in January 2002. The single "Envious" received moderate airplay on radio and video outlets. According to Sister2Sister magazine, Robinson said the album "tanked" due to "poor promotion." Robinson also went on to do several shows.
In 2005, after an eight-year absence, Robinson rejoined En Vogue their tour. With Robinson apart of En Vogue (completing the original line-up), they went on to sign with one of the industry's largest management firms, The Firm Management Group. In September 2005, they joined Salt N Pepa for the girl groups' first-ever joint public performance of their 1994 hit, "Whatta Man" at VH-1's Hip Hop Honors. They also earned another Grammy nomination for the single "So What the Fuss", which featured Stevie Wonder and Prince (on guitar). The group also appeared in the single's music video. After failing to agree on business terms, Robinson once again chose to defect from En Vogue and was replaced by Rhona Bennett. As a result, En Vogue was let go from The Firm.
2008-2011: Solo career and final return to En Vogue:
In 2008, Robinson began doing shows. She began performing songs that she recorded with En Vogue and Lucy Pearl. Notably, Robinson performed an entire setlist at Private Event in January 2008. Later that year, Robinson reunited En Vogue and performed at 2008 BET Awards along with Alicia Keys, SWV, and TLC. In 2009, Robinson joined En Vogue for their "20th Anniversary Tour". Also during that year, Robinson recorded two solo songs, "Man Enough" and "I Like Boyz."
In 2010, all four members appeared on the cover of Jet magazine to promote their reunion tour, yet again failed to reach an agreement, and Robinson decided not to record on the new En Vogue album due in the fall of 2011 following their successful tour. On September 26, 2011, Ellis, Jones & Herron without Robinson, debuted their new single "I'll Cry Later" from their forthcoming album that was planned for a December release. Negotiations for the album release resulted in Robinson leaving En Vogue which was discussed with Jones on Access Hollywood nearly a year later on October 17, 2012. Robinson and Jones talked about the contract issues and poor management of En Vogue. Robinson also stated that she will never rejoin En Vogue again and that she wishes them well.
2012: Heirs To The Throne:
In October 2012, Dawn and Maxine Jones appeared on Access Hollywood to announce they are forming a new girl group called "Heirs to the Throne". The duo launched their website, Twitter, and Facebook for the new group. They also performed at several venues. The following year, Robinson and Jones parted on friendly terms and Jones went on form her own group called "En Vogue to the Max". It was later announced that the former group mates Cindy Herron and Terry Ellis sued Maxine Jones for use of the En Vogue name and demanding one million dollars for damages. However, Ellis and Herron could not demonstrate harm done to the company from Jones's use of the name. Robinson participated as a witness in the trial but ultimately stated that she was not directly involved in the dispute, as she had surrendered her rights to use the name herself when she departed from the LLC years earlier.
2013-present: R&B Divas and solo career:
In 2013, Robinson joined the cast of R&B Divas: Los Angeles. The series premiered on TV One on July 10, 2013. The series chronicles the lives of R&B singers Robinson, Lil Mo, Chanté Moore, Kelly Price, Claudette Ortiz, and Michel'le as they balance their music careers and personal lives. It is a spinoff to R&B Divas: Atlanta. The reunion, which Robinson did not participate in, was filmed on August 6, 2013, with Wendy Williams as the host. Robinson will not be appearing in the second season of the show. Robinson also began touring with the cast of R&B Divas within the United States.
In 2002, Robinson married American actor and singer, Dre Allen. They divorced in 2007.