by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
Raise your hand, if you were alive and listening to music in the late '80s? Then you'll probably remember 'Tell It To My Heart,' 'Prove Your Love,' 'Don't Rush Me,' 'Love Will Lead You Back,' and 'With Every Beat of My Heart' blasting on pop radio stations everywhere. These songs were all recorded by singer-songwriter Taylor Dayne, who owned a string of #1 hits and gold records up through the early '90s, and who continues to record and tour to this very day; her latest album is entitled Greatest Hits Live. She's a multiple Grammy nominee with a proven track record of supporting the LGBT community; her 2015 concert itinerary already includes several Pride events throughout the country. Dayne is headlining a show on Sunday, February 22 at Snoqualmie Casino with opening act Ambrosia ('How Much I Feel,' 'Biggest Part of Me'). For tickets and shuttle information from downtown Seattle and the International District, go to www.snocasino.com. Reached by phone, here is what Taylor Dayne shared with me inside 'The Music Lounge.'
Albert Rodriguez: You have a long-standing alliance with the LGBT community. You've performed at many Pride festivals, Gay Games, and have been really supportive of our issues.
Taylor Dayne: I've watched this community grow, not as much as some others, but 25 years I've watched this community turn into a family. With these laws changing and passing, the families have grown. I see a celebration of families, communities, hundreds of thousands of people strong. It's just amazing to me.
Rodriguez: Have you attended any Gay weddings?
Dayne: You better believe it! Oh yeah! I've sung at a number of private weddings and events. Justin Timberlake will sing at your wedding for a million dollars, so you'd be surprised at who'll show up. (Laughs.) I'm not a million dollars, but I've performed at many special events; I haven't played bar mitzvahs yet, but I've done weddings and birthdays.
Rodriguez: It's become more comfortable for artists to be openly Gay these days. Do you think if Sam Smith had surfaced in the '80s and come out, he'd be as successful?
Dayne: I don't think he's trying to be a sex symbol, like George Michael was. When George came out, it was very deliberate. He was a very sexual artist. I don't get that off of Sam, and I don't think he'd have that kind of difficulty, perhaps, coming out then. But let's just call it what it is, Sam Smith is a hell of an artist. I don't think he'd have difficulty pulling through, then or now, his talent is just that enormous. He's really incredible.
Rodriguez: Do you like what you're hearing now in pop music, like Taylor Swift and Sam Smith and Katy Perry?
Dayne: Yeah, they're doing exactly what they should be doing. They're bringing it out to the masses, making it popular. I love it! I loves me some Taylor Swift, I loves me some Katy Perry, I loves me some Beyonce, every one of them. They're all kicking ass!
Rodriguez: Have you played Seattle before?
Dayne: Seattle? Of course!
Rodriguez: Do you have any likes or dislikes, or any memories of performing here?
Dayne: I'm not sure about performing, but I love Seattle. It's a wonderful place.
Rodriguez: Do you include a variation of songs from throughout your career in your live shows?
Dayne: A hundred percent. I've been doing this a long time. I'm just releasing my Greatest Hits Live right now, so this is a big time for me. I was inducted into the (Long Island Music) Hall of Fame about a year and a half ago and I'm marking my 25th anniversary. My concerts are very representational of this career and a lot that is understanding that my audience is very eclectic and very loyal; to me it's celebrating the music that's really inspired my fans. I try to make my shows like a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, so that they walk away saying, 'I know her,' 'I feel her,' 'I got a piece of her.'
Rodriguez: In concert, do you perform the songs close to their original recordings, or do you extend them, or give them a club mix?
Dayne: Original recordings, no. I've been doing some of these songs for 25 years. Especially on ballads, where you have a little bit more artistic liberties with a live band, I hope it sounds different on some levels: that you're getting the true essence of the songs, but that people still know what the song is.
Rodriguez: Do you have a particular favorite that you enjoy performing live?
Dayne: You know, every night is different and every city is different. For me, I really love performing 'Shelter' live, I really love performing 'Love Will Lead You Back,' and 'Tell It to My Heart' with an audience in the house; it's an anthem for them, and for me.
Rodriguez: Are there any new songs included in the Greatest Hits Live package?
Dayne: There's a bonus song. I have a new song that I've been testing and running over my audience that I'm real passionate about called 'Born to Sing' that we incorporated onto the record. My last single 'Beautiful' is on it, and we have 'Unstoppable' on it, so there's definitely some bonus material included.
Rodriguez: Do you ever record or perform an occasional cover song?
Dayne: I certainly do. Every once in a while. On my last record, Satisfied, I covered the Red Hot Chili Peppers. For me, when I cover a song, you'd better be doing it due diligence. I've always gender-swapped, I like to take on the male perspective, which I did with Barry White, obviously, on 'Can't Get Enough of Your Love,' and I did it with the Chili Peppers, and I did it with the (Rolling) Stones. But that was a very reflective record, Satisfied, so I did 'Under the Bridge' because it was very reflective of that time, of me moving to Los Angeles and the changes I felt.
Rodriguez: Through the progression of music technology, you're one of the artists whose recordings I have on cassette, CD, and digital. I still have a cassette single of 'Prove Your Love.'
Dayne: (Laughs.) That's crazy that you have it on a cassette! The thing about my music is that it's stood the test of time because when we were programming and doing those sounds on 'Tell It to My Heart' and 'Prove Your Love,' sonically a lot of that has come back. It was considered the EDM, or the hip-hop, or the house, of its time.
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