Call Answered: Talyor Dayne: "Tell It To My Heart: How I Lost My S#*T, Conquered My Fear, and Found My Voice"
For 30 years, I have been a fan of Taylor Dayne, the three-time Grammy nominated artist whose hits include “Tell It To My Heart,” “Prove Your Love,” “Don’t Rush Me,” “I’ll Always Love You,” “Love Will Lead You Back,” “I’ll Be Your Shelter,” “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love,” “Send Me A Lover,” “Whatever You Want,” “Facing A Miracle,” “Fire on The Dance Floor,” and “Beautiful.”
Taylor Dayne is not only a powerhouse vocalist, she is a prolific songwriter who, for a span of three decades, has has cracked the Top 10 Billboard charts in every decade and has sold over 75 million albums and singles world wide. It was her song “Stand,” that really got me through some of the toughest times in my life. Whenever I’m in need of guidance, Taylor Dayne has a song to answer my quandary.
With a career spanning three decades, Taylor Dayne continues to dazzle audiences with her powerful vocals and hit music. Taylor recently released her autobiography Tell It To My Heart: How I Lost My S#*T, Conquered My Fear, and Found My Voice, which “captures her ascent against all odds, and the stories behind the dance soundtrack of our lives. From Taylor’s early life growing up in a challenging blue-collar Long Island home in the 1960s and 1970s through her years touring as a chart-topping musician through New York, LA, Shanghai, London, Paris, and Tokyo in the 1980s and 1990s, she tells-almost-all about her experiences with renowned talents including Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Whitney Houston. Readers will be immersed in her enduring 30-year career, performing for audiences worldwide, as she raises twins as a single mother by choice.
1. You just released your memoir, Tell It To My Heart: How I Lost My Shit, Conquered My Fear, & Found My Voice. What made now the right time to release your autobiography? In 2016 I was working on a one-woman show & I was working on a screen adaptation of my life, which lead me to working with my book guru, which lead to my TedWoman talk, which was six months preparation in the writing itself, which lead to moving deeper into my story, plus it’s the 30th anniversary of my career. All those events together lead me to making now the right time to release my book.
2. Since you mentioned you were working on this as a one woman show, do you think you will develop that more? Yes, I think we are either as a screenplay or stage show. Either Broadway or a Vegas residency baby, we can develop it there as well. I’m very open to either.
3. What was the hardest chapter to write? One chapter of my life that ended up being a full chapter in the book, which took me eight weeks to write, was my letter to the ex. Certainly the chapter on my illness and working through that was also very difficult to write.
4. What did you learn about yourself from writing this book that you didn't know living through it? Next to my bed I have a picture of little Leslie Wunderman at 4-years-old and I just said, “Wow.” Of course there are accomplishments, but it’s so much more than that. I love myself now. I love who I am. I’m grateful to be here. I think that is as much a learning part if anything. To go through one’s life and to say, “Okay, you are far from over.”
People are reading my book and saying, “It’s really an easy read in the most complimentary way. I’m excited to read it. I just want to hear more of what’s going on. It drew me in.” That’s when I knew, “Maybe I did have something important to say,” because it’s touching people. Part of me doesn’t really go around and share. It’s the reason my presence is so fiery. So passionate. So tough.
5. You have sustained a 30-year career in the music industry. What has been the most challenging aspect to adapt to and what has been the greatest invention to make things a little easier? Haha. I think we all learned from Napster in 1998/1999. We learned about downloading. We weren’t selling records anymore. I was told I haven’t selling records since 1998 and I was like, “Wow. Okay. But I sold 75 million records somehow or another.”
You’re told to doubt yourself over and over again, but I kept pushing through, finding different ways to stay on the hustle. Then I started getting smaller wins and maybe it wasn’t how I thought it would turn out, but at the end of the day, I’ve never seen something like this come without a lot of hard work.
I started in the late ‘80s. There were no cell phones. There was no internet. No sharing of files. Now there is far more independent control. You can market directly to consumers, which is incredible.
In the ‘80s, we were part of the machine. That’s what I started doing. I did a 12” single myself and music that way and that’s how Tell It To My Heart got signed because no one was signing me as an album, as an artist deal in the day, until I had a record. In my case, it was build it and they will come. I’ve always been of that mindset. I had to be flexible in the process and I just kept at it.
6. What do you still hope to accomplish that you haven't? I’d love to fall in love. Find a soulmate. Get married. I’d love a residency in Vegas, which I’m working hard on. I want to continue to collaborate with artists and producers and challenge myself there and have a great time doing it. It wouldn’t hurt to get a couple of more Grammy’s along the way either. Haha.
7. Speaking of love, you were on an episode of Millionaire Matchmaker back in 2015. What did Patti teach you about love that you didn't know prior to being on the show? I love Patti. We have a lot of the same similarities as women. She made me understand that if you are not attracted to someone you can’t fool yourself, you can’t force chemistry, which I had already understood. I understood that before but it just made me sad because sometimes you don’t want to force it, but you also just get tired. More than that she was saying, “Men love happy women. Be happy. Get your own happiness on. That’s what attractive to people.” So, I work on that. I work on that daily.
8. For these next few questions, let's play with the titles to some of your songs...
"Tell It To My Heart": What is something you want someone to tell you to your heart? Haha. Tell me I’m the only one. Is this really love or just a game? That wouldn’t be so bad to hear. That’d actually be amazing.
“Don’t Rush Me”: When has there been a time you made a rash decision that afterwards you just wanted to say "Don't Rush Me"? Mostly when I’m like Jesus Christ did I really just sign up for this course. I remember one time I signed up for this online course and they were constantly bombarding me and I was like “Ugh, Don’t Rush Me, I’ll do it. I’ll do it.”
“Soul Dancing”: If you could go "Soul Dancing" with anyone, who do you want to have hearts beating with pleasure? Ooohhh. I could say a couple of people, but you’d be like, “Who’s that?” I could fib and make up some names, but I did just have a pretty good dream last night with a couple of guys I remember. Haha. I also “Soul Dance” with myself when I go on my exploratory trips, allowing myself to be in the moment, exploring, and having my heart open like that, I’m never happier, even if it’s watching a heard of elephants pass by. That’s the joy of adventure, nature, and being present with yourself. It’s having a good time and loving yourself, which is a lifelong lesson.
“Stand”: What event in your life do you feel you had to "Stand" with your head held high, even though you were up against the wind, but you knew you would survive? Sometimes everyday I walk in with my kids and, they’re teenagers, so God knows what I’ll find. Haha. In the book, I talk about my very profound break-up. I remember just walking behind him one day and I was getting so far behind that I just knew this wasn’t going to change. Often times you just have to stand-up for yourself and actually be ready to walk. And the wind is definitely against you, but you can’t stay either. You have to make your thoughts known and then take action at some point.
9. Since we are both from Long Island, what are some of your favorite Long Island hangouts? Now, I spend most of my time in The Hamptons, Amagansett, East Hampton, Huntington, Lloyd Harbor.
10. Rapid Fire Questions:
Coke or Pepsi? Haha…Coke.
Colgate or Crest? Oooh…Colgate.
Twizzlers or Red Vines? Oooh…Red Vines.
Favorite go to Emoji when texting? Haha…I’ll say a kiss 😘
More on Taylor:
From platinum pop songs to chart-topping dance hits, Taylor Dayne is one of the most popular vocalists of the modern age. She has enjoyed Top 10 hits in three consequent decades, selling a combined 75 million singles and albums along the way. Originally signed by music mogul Clive Davis in the 1980s, Taylor has become a true crossover artist, someone whose popularity spans multiple generations and many different music formats.
With the release of her first two albums, 1988’s Tell It to My Heart and 1989’s Can’t Fight Fate, Taylor racked up three number 1 singles: “Tell It to My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back” and “Prove Your Love to Me.” Her Grammy-nominated songs could be heard across the radio dial, from Top 40 pop stations to adult contemporary channels. Meanwhile, Taylor sang in front of audiences across the world, even joining Michael Jackson for the European leg of his sold-out “Bad” tour.
As the ’80s gave way to the ’90s, Taylor began establishing herself as a film, television and stage actress, too, appearing alongside Warren Beatty in the movie Love Affair, starring in Elton John’s Broadway award-winning production of Aida, and playing “Grizzabella” in the 2013 Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival’s production of CATS. She also gained notice not only for her singing ability, but her songwriting skills, as well. Several of Taylor’s gold and platinum-selling solo albums featured her own compositions, and “Whatever You Want,” a song she co-wrote for Tina Turner, became a Top 40 hit in 10 different countries in 1996.
After taking a break from music to raise her two children, Taylor made a highly publicized return with her 2008 release, Satisfied. She co-wrote the album’s lead single, “Beautiful,” which climbed to number 1 on the dance charts. It was her 17th time cracking the Top 10 on the Billboard charts. Two years later, Dayne performed the official theme song of the 2010 Gay Games, “Facing a Miracle.” She followed that song’s release with her 18th Top 10 hit, “Floor on Fire,” and continued making appearances on film and TV. Fans of American Idol even chose her as the top candidate to replace former judge Paula Abdul in a poll conducted by Rolling Stone Magazine, proof that Taylor Dayne was still a household name.
Now 30 years after the release of her single, Taylor Dayne continues to tour the world! She was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2012, joining other time-tested luminaries like Billy Joel and Joan Jett.