Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Dawn Robinson 

Dawn (Q)

The four women who made up En Vogue, the most influential female vocal group of the 1990s, may have taken turns singing lead, but it was clear from the outset that Dawn Robinson had the strongest pipes. In 1997, the Oakland-based vocalist was the first to leave. After an unhappy relationship with Raphael Saadiq and Ali Shaheed Muhammad in the short-lived supergroup Lucy Pearl, Robinson has reemerged with a vengeance on her first solo CD.

"Funky divas, I don't need ya/Lucy Pearl lost this girl . . . I run this," Robinson snarls on "You Will Never." The song closes the 12-track disc, the overall thrust of which serves as a bold declaration of independence, musically and emotionally. The singer had a hand in writing half the numbers and employed eight sets of producers, including Ivan Barias and Carvin Haggins of Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild renown. The songs are strong and the grooves fresh, from the Peter Frampton-inspired acoustic guitar lines that underscore the motivational ballad "Get Up Again" to the brilliantly programmed Latin percussion that fuels "Hold On." But it's the richness of Robinson's octave-leaping voice and urgency of her delivery that make this long-overdue debut stand out.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

More by Lee Hildebrand

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays