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Interview: TAYLOR DAYNE

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With her unique voice and sales in excess of seventy five million albums and singles worldwide to her name, singer Taylor Dayne has carved a long and impressive musical career for herself. And this year is turning out to be one of her best yet, with some pretty outstanding highlights for the songstress. Currently touring Australia, the lovely Taylor took some time to chat with Rock Club 40 about her journey over the last twenty five years and where it has taken her.

It has been a landmark year for Taylor Dayne, marking twenty five years since the release of ‘Tell it to MyHeart’, the song that made her a household name in the eighties. “Twenty five years of performing and loving and releasing music,” she tells me proudly, “And it’s been pretty memorable.”

Among other highlights of the past year, is her recent induction into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, putting the singer’s name in the same elite category as other recipients including Billy Joel, Lou Reed, Pat Benatar, Brian Setzer and Blue Oyster Cult. “It’s being honoured by your peers and in New York and I got to look around and see who else has been in the Hall of Fame. It’s quite an honour.”

Taylor is deservedly proud of her achievements over the last twenty five years and very grateful that she has had the opportunities that have come her way but she would be the first to admit that the journey has not been without its twists and turns along the road. “I don’t think that anybody can tell you that it’s been a straight line,” she concedes, “There’s always bumps; always personal setbacks and triumphs. I feel very blessed and yet sometimes, I have had my regrets. There’s been a few.” She pauses for a second, reflecting on that line. “That sounds like a song,” she laughs and breaks into a brief rendition of ‘My Way’. “At the same time,” she continues, without skipping a beat, “I was even saying this to myself before, ‘You know what? You’re doing good honey, you’re doing good.’ Even just a simple thing like doing morning TV and, listening to some of the people, I’ve become the soundtrack of people’s lives. Someone came up to me and said ‘Oh my mum turned me on to you, I love you’ and then somebody handed me a photo. It was a photo of me and Michael Jackson. ‘That was my first tour, opening up for Michael for the Bad Tour. It’s crazy. And I’m looking at my hair and I go ‘Now, that’s crazy’.” She laughs at the memory. “It just doesn’t end and I don’t even remember who I was then. It doesn’t matter. It’s just the point of, when people hear music, or they watch a movie, you go way back to where you were then. There’s a sensation that happens to us and hence for me and my music it’s become, again, the soundtrack of people’s lives. It’s just like other people’s music is for me.”

The singer’s life changed when she got signed to a record deal. “That was the break, but it didn’t mean anything,” she admits, “The turning point for me was when they said ‘The single’s doing really good.’ We released it in Europe first and they said ‘You need to start doing press in Europe’ so I got on the plane and it was just me and the international rep from Arista Records and maybe my road manager or management at the time and they said ‘You need to do some in-stores.’ And I’ll never forget, we got to the store and there were easily 5,000 people and paparazzi following me. That was the turning point. Within two months, I was opening up for Michael and singing with Prince, so I understood but it broke in Europe first and while paparazzi took another ten years in the United States, it was absolutely raging in Europe.”

While music is her first love, Taylor has also been working in films and theatre and it is something that she really enjoys but she does find it challenging. “I did a really cool independent film this year,” she tells me, “It’s called ‘Telling of the Red Shoes‘. That’s currently going out to some festivals. And it looks like I’m going to be heading back to the stage for a little bit to do a musical but currently I’m working on rerecording my greatest hits and doing some remixes on some of those babies. It should be great. I can’t wait. I might be recording with some people here next week but I definitely need to get that out so it’s an absolute must. That’s pretty time consuming.” She is looking forward to the chance to work with some of our local talent here but points out that it won’t be the first time she has collaborated with Australians. “I did on ‘Floor on Fire‘, which was super cool,” she informs me. “We’ll see. We’ll get into a writing session next week on some of my days off and see what we can get into. When in Rome…”

Taylor juggles a very busy working schedule of touring and recording with being a single mum to her two children. She has twins; a boy and a girl. I ask if the children ever go out on the road with their mother. “Sometimes,” she replies, “In the summer. But they’re in school and they have their life and I try to keep it pretty organised. I’m a single mum and you can keep up with me on Facebook. I try to blog about all that stuff. But I just have to say that they don’t know any differently. They have each other and sometimes they probably think ‘Mum’s gone! Party!’ I’m like the drill Sargent of course. I feel like I’m the bad cop but I’m very blessed. They’re amazing.”

She agrees that it is not easy leaving the family behind while she is working. “But I do what I do and it feeds my family and houses my family and they don’t begrudge me at all, but I notice the changes. I notice the difference when I spend quality time with them. They talk to me more, they express more.”

Music has always been a part of Taylor’s life. Even as a young girl, she loved to sing. “My parents were avid theatre goers,” she explains, “And they were very passionate about the arts. I grew up in Long Island but they were from the city and they were members of many off-island productions and they were responsible for giving me all my music and encouraging me and my two brothers. And I have to say I gravitated toward it. I had my first solo when I was in kindergarten so I would have to say I had a natural ability.” But the singer admits that her home life wasn’t perfect. “They were great on one level and miserable on another, as parents can be,” she laughs, “But I just kept a lot of feelings inside and I expressed it musically, so I was a little girl singing along with the radio and the commercials and it gave me an outlet and a voice and an ability to find a way to express myself and that definitely was through music. By fourth grade, I was singing pretty blazing solos.” And it was pretty clear what she wanted to do with her life.“I always knew I wanted to be a rock and roll star.”

by Sharyn Hamey

 

 

 Copyright © 2013 Sharyn Hamey All rights reserved

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