Taylor Dayne has the voice but is no diva. This straight-talker from New York wouldn’t have survived 30 years in the music business – and counting – if she was.
The mother-of-two found fame in the 1980s with hits like Tell It To My Heart and Love Will Lead You Back, and a decade later with I’ll Be Your Shelter. To date she has sold more than 75 million albums and released 17 top 20 singles.
Dayne has television, Broadway and film credits to her name and is about to embark on the 80s Fest tour with Go West, Paul Young, The Cutting Crew, Wang Chung, The Chantoozies and John Paul Young.
She is matter-of-fact about her career success and refuses to subscribe to the cliche that she was somehow born to perform. It has been, she says, a lot of hard work.
“I was good at something, yes, and that was mimicking people off the radio,” she tells Weekender from the US.
“Getting on stage is a whole other issue. As a performer and an entertainer you watch and you learn and you practice, practice, practice. You put the hours in.
“I don’t think Beyonce got up there and was suddenly Beyonce. She spent hours singing in front of the mirror or in front of her parents or at talent shows, doing what she had to do. It’s by spending all those hours practising that your muscles are being designed and ultimately you might get good.
“I had a natural ability and that’s a good ear, a really good ear, and I could pick up nuances, but I was inspired to do that. I wanted to get good at it.”
Even after 30 years of touring she admits to getting “kind of nervous sometimes” however is grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m very fortunate to have released music at a time when touring made money. I have songs that connected with an audience and became a soundtrack to people’s lives so I can still tour.
“Music is very sensory. You remember exactly where you were and who you were with, what you were feeling, when you heard a song. It’s one of the most valuable art forms because it allows you to feel in different capacities.
“With these combined tours people get a lot of hits for their money.”
Dayne spent a few years in the music wilderness raising a family but it turned out to be a well-timed break.
“I lost my record deal in 2003 or 2004 when the music industry completely started imploding on itself because of Napster and the internet. Labels were shutting down one after the next or merging. The record industry doesn’t exist like it used to. Nowhere near.
“It’s actually come full circle, though, in a way. When I started out I was an artist that actually recorded my own music, I made my own music, we funded it and I got a record deal based on the single. We’re now back in the singles game again. People rarely download entire albums.”
Her next project is writing a book about her experiences.
“I have always done things on my own terms and in my own way but I think that stems from a fear of being controlled or losing my identity. That comes from some long-ago childhood stuff, maybe. Who knows? It’s been challenging, digging deep and going back into places I haven’t searched for a long time. It’s not all roses, either.”