Taylor Dayne (born Leslie Wunderman, March 7, 1962) is an American pop vocalist, dance artist, and actress. Dayne, who was born in Baldwin, Nassau County, New York, came to prominence in the late 1980s and continued to appear at the top of the charts through the 1990s. Her most recent U.S. dance chart number-one song was “Planet Love” in 2000. She remains a pop favorite in the U.S. and abroad.
Dayne began singing professionally after graduating from high school, singing in rock bands such as Felony and Next. However, both bands failed to become successful. She began singing solo after finishing college, and as Les Lee released the dance single “I’m The One You Want” in 1985. Signed to Arista Records, her first song to crack the top ten was the dance-pop hit “Tell It to My Heart” in 1988. The song was an instant smash worldwide, peaking in the top five of most major markets worldwide, and achieving a peak of number one in many countries, including Germany. The song has many freestyle music influences, and it was marketed as “Hi-NRG” in Europe. Hits that followed included “Prove Your Love”, “I’ll Always Love You”, “Don’t Rush Me”, “With Every Beat of My Heart”, “Love Will Lead You Back”, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”, “Heart of Stone”, “Send Me a Lover”, “Naked Without You”, and “Whatever You Want”.
In the United States, Dayne achieved three gold singles, with “Tell It to My Heart”, “I’ll Always Love You”, and “Love Will Lead You Back”. “I’ll Always Love You”, a change-of-pace ballad compared to Dayne’s earlier releases, was her breakout hit on the Adult Contemporary charts in 1988 and paved the way for future up-tempo dance tracks such as “Don’t Rush Me” and “With Every Beat Of My Heart” to gain acceptance at AC radio (whereas Dayne’s first two hits had not) until about a decade later.
“Love Will Lead You Back”, a Diane Warren composition, was a Number-One pop and adult contemporary hit for Dayne. The song deals with the complications surrounding a breakup, and focuses on the intense hope that love will find a way to save the relationship.
Dayne was featured in the VH1 series Remaking, which featured her close friend, Leah Remini. The series documents Dayne’s return to music after taking time off to have a family, (she has twins, Levi and Astaria), and premiered her newest song, “Right Now”, a result of her collaboration with Rodney Jerkins. Although, some of her singles could have made the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, she has never been promoted and marketed to that market.
In April 2006, she was Elton John’s personal choice to perform at the Nile Rodgers We Are Family Foundation tribute to Elton John.
As an actress, Dayne performed on Broadway in Elton John’s Aida in 2001. She has had roles in independent films such as Fool’s Paradise (1997), Stag (also in 1997) and Jesus the Driver (2004), as well as the Warren Beatty-produced 1994 remake of Love Affair. Dayne also had a recurring role on the Showtime series Rude Awakening, and was cast as Dan Connor’s mistress in the sitcom Roseanne; however, the show was cancelled before Dayne could begin filming.
As her fifth studio album, Satisfied is her first studio recording in over eight on her own Intention Music label, distributed by Warner Music Group’s Adrenaline/ADA. Producers on the record include Rick Nowels and Don Was.
“The title is very tongue-in-cheek,” she admits, taking its name from her cover of U.K. blue-eyed soul sensation Lewis Taylor’s song of the same name. “There are all kinds of love on this album: unrequited, damaged, broken, hurtful, heart filled. . . . It’s all about asking yourself, ‘Are you sure this is where you want to be? Are you happy with the choices you’ve made?’”
“It was time to roll up my sleeves, get back into the studio and show people I’m not done yet,” she laughs.
Other top-name producer/writers on Satisfied include Mike Mangini (Baha Men, Digbable Planets, O-Town, Bruce Hornsby, David Byrne), Peter Wade (Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Natasha Bedingfield), and the New Radicals’ Gregg Alexander (“You Get What You Give”) & Rick Nowels (Stevie Nicks, Madonna, k.d. lang, Nelly Furtado, Santana), among others. There are also marvelously soulful covers of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge,” the Rolling Stones’ “Fool to Cry” and Des’ree’s “Kissing You,” from the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, reminiscent of her hit version of Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love.”
“My job as an artist is to make sure that I make the material I choose mine, by interpreting it my way,” says Taylor.
The initial track, “Beautiful,” was inspired by a particular individual, she says, noting his name can be detected in the lyrics. “It was someone I was very infatuated with . . . and the song captured the glow which resonates from that feeling.”
Just don’t call Satisfied a comeback because Taylor Dayne has never really been away, even if the last five years one of her chief roles has been as single mother.
The new album offers Dayne an opportunity to show off the versatility of her amazing pipes, which have gotten deeper, richer and more confident with age. She is equally at home on soaring ballads like “Beautiful” and the show-stopping “Hymn,” both of which she co-wrote, as she is with the Spector-meets-Heart rock of “Crash,” the come-hither sensuality of “Kissing You,” the dance-floor beat of “I’m Over My Head” and the reggae rhythms of “She Don’t Love You” and “Dedicated.”
“I’ve always had a very passionate and large voice,” says Taylor, adding that she grew up on rock bands like the Beatles, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Bad Company. “But the moment I heard Al Green and Marvin Gaye, it was all over.”
“This is a rebirth for me,” she says. “Call it what you want, but I’m back. We’ve baked the bread. Now it’s time to eat it.”
Taylor Dayne may not be Satisfied, but her fans certainly will be with this welcome return.