By: Todd Davis
On October 14, 2008, in the season finale of Making the Band, it was declared that you, too, would no longer be a member of Danity Kane — Were you as shocked as the viewers when that announcement came? Or, did you already know that was gonna happen?
Well, I knew I was terminated as a member of Danity Kane about two months prior to that airing. The network split up the events of that meeting for the episodes and ratings, I guess. I did not know that was on the meeting’s agenda when I walked in. I did, however, become suspicious when the discussion seemed to become less and less productive.
I think everyone else knew Aubrey was pretty much on the “chopping block,” but I don’t think anyone really seen it coming as to what went down with you — Why do you think Puff opted for you to join her?
I believe that Aubrey and I have very strong personalities, and by us having such personalities we did not fit in the plans Puff had.
There had already been break-up rumors dogging the group for quite sometime beforehand, which you all denied of course — So, how come you all didn’t just come clean much earlier about the seriousness of the whole situation?
A rumor is a rumor. However, rumors always stem from some source of truth. Plans to move ahead with one [Dawn Richard] of Danity Kane’s members had been in the works for some time, although the remaining four were the last to know. I guess we were still trying to make things work out.
There’s also been mention of your close association with another group, The Girl’s Club — Did this at all play into your departure from D.K.?
The Girl’s Club is a support network that has been in existence since 2003. Shanell, Mika Means and my-self founded this association to help one another in our pursuits in the industry. Along our individual journeys we found there were things that could benefit each other, and we picked up many other females along the way who were tired of being the only female in the studio or feeling like they couldn’t trust another female in the industry. Celebrating each other’s differences and highlighting each others accomplishments is the main goal of The Girls Club. This is a concept I always invited Danity Kane to be a part of, even to the point of Aubrey and Dawn’s participation on The Girls Club Mixtape Vol.1.
How has this whole scenario affected the promotions of Danity Kane’s sophomore record, Welcome to the Dollhouse? Do you think everything that has gone on has hurt the album’s overall commercial performance?
I think there were many things that hurt our overall commercial success, long before the “break-up.”
There are even more rumors that the group are actually still very much together and all of these things are part of a huge publicity stunt orchestrated by Diddy to boost the show’s ratings — What do you have to say about all this?
Like I said before, a rumor is a rumor. If that was the intention of the whole situation, again, there were at least four of us that were the last ones to find out.
Are you currently working on solo material? And, are you signed to a record deal at this time?
I am a creative person and have been since the age of three years old. I will always be working on material, and have been approached by other record labels. I am taking my time because I want to find the record label “home” who appreciates me and the creative sound I have to offer.
Has your solo album been titled yet? Any highlights; cameos, producer credits, etc., to look out for, or is it just too soon to say? If so, what at all about it can you reveal or divulge?
I definitely have titles, ideas and producers working on my new material. I will let you know as soon as everything is finalized.
How will a D. Woods solo release differ and/or compare to what you are already known and loved for as a member of D.K.?
Listeners will finally get to experience who I am as an artist. I’m proud of the work I did with D.K., but I compromised a lot to create a chemistry with my group members. I love Rock, Funk, Soul, Hip-Hop, and Alternative Rock music, so ALL of these genres will be reflected in MY music.
You said you first became interested in music at a very early age…
Like I mentioned earlier, I started performing at the age of three. I fell in love with the stage, no matter what I was doing on it, be it dancing, singing or acting. I continued to involve myself in programs and surround myself with people who helped me perfect my craft and gain professional experience. I’ve performed on a regional, national and international level all before the age of 16, and began studio work at 13, 14 years old.
You grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, right?
I grew up in Springfield, Mass., until high school, and (then) I moved to Atlanta, GA. You can say I was influenced by everything I was exposed to. I was a sponge for the radio, television and movie screen.
In 2005, you auditioned for the MTV show, Making the Band 3, and ultimately won a coveted spot in the group — What even prompted your decision to try out for this type of a reality show?
I knew that regardless of the decision on who made the band, I wanted to put myself on a platform to be seen and my talent be recognized. Auditions are a gamble and I had done enough to know it’s more about what they are looking for. But, if there is one person in the room you can campaign yourself to, it’s worth it.
From a songwriting perspective, when you sit down to pen your lyrics, where do you draw your inspiration(s) from?
The voices in my head *She giggles* Nah, but for real, I get ideas all day everyday. I usually start writing something doing everyday activities like driving, taking a shower, and have to jot the idea down so I can come back to it.
What will be the ultimate key to your success?
I believe you have to stay excited! The same way I couldn’t wait to go to dance class when I was little, I have to be (to) this day. Stay hungry and stay excited.
What are some of your other future goals and aspirations?
I want to use my work, whether its music or acting or dance, to effect change in people’s lives. I started a non-profit organization with The Girls Club called Project Girls Club to create different projects to inspire youth.
How has the industry evolved or changed since your inception into it?
I believe the state of the music we are creating is evidence to why there is such illegal downloading. People pay for quality and they can recognize it themselves. When it’s music the public isn’t connected to or an artist they don’t believe in, I think people don’t really think twice about bootlegging. But, also it’s a sign of how the industry must move as fast as technology is moving.
As for the immediate future, what’s next for D. Woods?
I am currently working on a solo project and identifying a first single. Fall ’09 is the targeted time for the album release, with a late spring/summer single.
And finally, do you remain in touch with your former group-mates; Dawn, Aubrey O’Day, Shannon Bex, and Aundrea Fimbres — If so, when was the last time you all spoke? Have you discussed the future of Danity Kane? And, is there a slight chance of a D.K. reunion?
Of course I speak to the girls. Just because Puff broke the group up doesn’t change the already existing relationships.
Also, when was the last time you heard from Diddy? What is your relationship like with him these days? Do you even have one?
The last time I spoke to him was when I reached out to him to gain closure to the situation. The work relationship between Danity Kane and Puff no longer exists. I am not an artist on his label any longer, so there is no reason for he and I to communicate.
Any plans to take the D. Woods solo show out on the road anytime soon?
I have continued to make appearances and do performances over the past months. You can keep up with where I will be next on myspace.com/yagirldwoods
Someone, like myself, who hasn’t experienced you performing live, what would you tell that person can be expected?
They will have the time of their lives, or at least watch me having the time of my life. There is VERY high energy, dancing, rapping and EVERYTHING. You will move and dance for the entire performance.
Finally, are there any other mix-tape(s) and/or outside cameo appearances to look out for from you prior to your album dropping?
Volume 2 of Independence Day is out now!! and you never know what else I’ll get myself into or who else will jump on board this movement!