Condola Rashad is known for her four Tony nominations and playing Kate Sacker in Billions, and now the world is getting to know Dola, Rashad’s musical alter-ego—and the name she’s using on her first EP, Space Daughter. With four songs and music videos now released, Rashad is ready for people to hear her voice in a new way. “My first expression as an artist was music, which is what a lot of people did not know,” the performer said to Paul Wontorek on #LiveatFive: Home Edition. “I love surprising people. I had a band called Dola and the Stoop Kids, and we recorded an album while I was doing Romeo and Juliet. I became very aware that I was going to have to choose one direction for the time being with my acting and music career both budding. I realized that I’m not going to be able to give both of them what they need in order to see them really succeed. My acting career was further along, and so I said, ‘OK, for the next couple of years, I’m just going to focus on building that. Then, once the time is right, I will come out the gate with my music.”
Those years dedicated to acting certainly paid off for Rashad, who has four Tony nominations to show for her five Broadway roles—most recently headlining the revival of Saint Joan. “In 2018 I went back into the studio and that’s where Space Daughter came to me,” she said. “That title came to me before I even created the music, I didn’t quite know what it was going to be. I knew it was going to be a conceptual and visual EP; this is my playful ode to the Divine Feminine. I knew that I had to do it independently because there was not going to be a label that was going to let me do it in a way I could stay true to what my artistic vision was. If there’s a music label that understands who I am as an artist and they want to jump on board, then they can jump on board after they know who I am. I’m not going to allow anybody to change my path as to who I am as an artist coming out the gate.”
Not only can fans experience Rashad’s artistic vision with the “four chapter” music videos, they can also make a difference while streaming the new songs thanks to 100% of Rashad’s personal earnings going to various organizations and non-profits. The most recent single, “What I Said,” dropped on June 19 in support of Campaign Zero. “As the events of the year have unfolded, I was doing my part by staying very active and seeing all the different organizations and collectives and coalitions,” she said. “When I learned about Campaign Zero I knew that’s where I wanted to direct my energy. What I really appreciated about Campaign Zero is that there are concrete ways that we can all contribute to actually ending police brutality in this country. There are concrete, practical steps that we can take.”
Rashad was planning on spending the year filming the fifth season of Showtimes’ Billions, but production was halted due to the COVID-19. “We actually were in the middle of filming the season when the pandemic hit,” she said. “We hadn’t finished. I think we only had put out eight episodes, and there’s supposed to be four more. We’re all in the same boat as everyone else—waiting to see what’s next, and I’m OK with that right now. I have a lot of other work that I’m able to put myself into, so I’m just going with the flow.”
Watch Rashad talk about how Saint Joan changed her life and more in the full episode below!