As a co-star of Showtime’s hit series Billions and a four-time Tony Award nominee, actress Condola Rashad is a familiar name to television and theater audiences. But now Rashad is ready to win over another audience.
Under the moniker Dola, she premieres her latest single and video today (April 30) called “Give Up the Gold.” The track is the follow-up to debut single “Blue,” both of which appear on the singer-songwriter’s forthcoming indie debut EP Space Daughter.
“Space Daughter is my playful ode to the Divine Feminine,” says Dola of the solo visual project that she conceived, produced and co-directed. “While ‘Blue’ was more ethereal with its garden goddess character, second chapter ‘Give Up the Gold’ manifests more of the ancient carnal, sensual call of the Divine Feminine. These are just two of the different manifestations within the overall story I’ll be presenting in my upcoming singles and videos.”
As the fight against COVID-19 advances and Mother’s Day approaches, Dola will donate 100 percent of her personal proceeds from “Give Up the Gold” during the month of May to Hearts of Gold. The New York City organization assists homeless mothers and their children. Prior to this, Dola donated 100 percent of her personal proceeds from “Blue” to the Food Bank for New York City indefinitely.
Dola co-wrote and co-produced “Gold” with Red Bull artists Alex Saad and Lord Quest, respectively. The mesmerizing video, co-directed by Dola and longtime friend Maud Arnold, features Dolan—adorned with gold flakes and exotic plumage—undulating to the track’s devilish, syncopated rhythms. All of which goes hand-in-hand with the siren call of the song’s lyrics: “Do you want to go up? / Do you want to go down? / Do you want to make love or do you want to fool around?” The single is available now at all DSPs.
A major inspiration for the video was trailblazing entertainer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker (“Reimagined for 2020,” says Dola). Beyond that the singer says she had fun improvising to make budget ends meet. A mentor at her college alma mater California Institute of the Arts helped immensely by letting her shoot the video on campus. And because Dola didn’t have enough funds to purchase all new costumes, she went shopping in her mom’s closet to borrow an ‘80s-era jacket for one sequence and a vintage Bob Mackie gown for another.
“Please can I use this?” Dola recalls of asking her mom, actress Phylicia Rashad (dad is sportscaster Ahmad Rashad). “She said, ‘All right, just don’t get it wet.’”
Trained as a classical pianist from age five through high school, Dola was also nicknamed “space child” for all the dreaming she did growing up. Opting to study acting in college, she says her family “was shocked because they knew me as a musician.” While she did return to her first love in New York City as the lead singer and songwriter for alternative band Condola & the Stoop Kids, it was her acting career that took off first.
In addition to receiving four Tony Award nominations for roles in Stick Fly, The Trip to Bountiful, A Doll’s House, Part 2 and Saint Joan, she appeared onstage opposite Orlando Bloom in Romeo and Juiiet. Her television roles include playing Queen Latifah’s daughter Shelby in Lifetime’s remake of Steel Magnolias and Kate Sacker in Billions, which begins its fifth season in May.
At home now in Brooklyn with her mini-studio set-up, Dola is busy putting the final tweaks on Space Daughter and looking forward to surprising people with the genre she’s dubbed “Dola music.” As she explains, “This has been a secret for the past 18 months. But my initial attitude was to postpone everything once coronavirus started to hit. Then I thought, why not? Music is incredibly healing. If I can’t go out and do much, I do have this to offer.”