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Tell It to My
Heart, Taylor Dayne

Tell It to My
Heart, Taylor Dayne

20080313_taylor

It's been a roller-coaster ride in the music industry, but 1980s pop star Taylor Dayne is making a comeback with her new album. Still, diva Dayne tells us why she just isn't Satisfied.

Taylor Dayne's emergence during the Aqua Net dynasty of the late 1980s might fool you into believing there wasn't much of a voice underneath her pluckiness (or perm). Of course, that's never been the case, as worldwide hits like "Tell It to My Heart" and "Don't Rush Me" proved she could not only sell a song with her unbridled instrument but own it as well. Now the ready-made gay icon is releasing her first album in 10 years, Satisfied, which, as Dayne herself points out, is no admission of contentment.

It's been 10 years since you released an album of new material. Why was 2008 the time for a new record?
[Laughs] It's not so basic. If it were easy to put out a record, I'd have put out 10 already. I mean, I would say after '98 and '99, toward 2000, 2001, I was doing Aida. Right after that, I had twins in 2002, and then I went to Europe. I had a couple of soundtracks in between. And I had a VH1 special, and I worked with [producer] Rodney Jerkins for that. That was a one-hour show.
I just couldn't really get the kind of deal that I really wanted to hear. I tried the independent form with Naked Without You. In 2003, I went to Germany and Austria and signed a deal with BMG. A great deal, actually. In 2004, I started writing and pushing together a project -- but then there was a wonderful thing called the merge between Sony and BMG, and I lost my deal amongst thousands of others. The shake-up was enormous; I had spent a year making a record there. It was a real disappointment, but also it opened my eyes on a lot of levels, and here we are, finally -- I guess I started making this record in January -- at the end of 2006, right into 2007, that's when we started recording. I had my team together, I had my finances, and I decided to do it independently, and we released at the beginning of 2008.

That's a tumultuous ride. How do you make heads or tails of the industry now?
I should think you don't. I mean, I'm not that artist who's been on the same label for 20 years, but then again, that label doesn't even exist anymore... I just feel that I know who I am, I know the artist I am. But I think the reality is you can't control everything as much as you'd like to. I won't say my particular fan base is a downloading fan base, but people are now ordering, shopping, and committed to being on the computer. You see dramatic changes, I mean, there's no record stores anymore. You have to change as the industry changes.

Being in the business as long as you have, what have you learned notto do?
I think when you first break, you have all that gumption, that "Wow, ooh, aah, me, it's all about me." And then you learn over time that what you thought was all about you just goes to the next person and the next. And yet at the same time you have a lot of opinions and attitudes. And I just think -- and I've learned from the best -- you don't get brownie points putting down other artists. So you've got to watch that.

Who do you relate to in the industry?
Hmm. Relate to. I don't know if I relate to them, but you look at artists, you admire them, and say, "Wow, I really enjoy what they're doing as a young artist coming up." There's quite a few of them. I happen to like a lot of what's going on. There are some artists that have really pushed through. I mean, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake, they're obvious, Alicia Keys -- I mean, they'll be around forever.

How did your cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge" on the new album come to be?
Well, I'm a fan, and I'm inspired by music just like you are. I think I have to be a little more intelligent about material if I'm going to cover it. I have to take it out of the box of where you, the public, knows it. I love taking material and gender-crossing it, if you will. To me, it's about "How does this song originally get interpreted, and can I take it to another level?" And I think we achieved that. It's a personal journey -- I mean, if you know anything about the song or the band or Anthony [Kiedis], obviously it's a personal journey for him. Within the lyrical content, I know those feelings. And I felt that the melody was strong enough that our version would soar above all that.

Have you seen Taylor Dayne drag queens who were so good you were intimidated?
[Laughs] I would say yes, after all this time, I've seen myself done in drag many times. Some of them have been great, and some of them have been downright hysterical and terrible. And that made them even better. When a big fat Mexican drag queen's doing me, nothing's more hysterical. They bring it on.

Were you a determined gay diva from the start?
[Laughs] No, I think it kind of unfolds itself. You don't seek like a missile, especially when you are first starting out. That's how it ran for me.

Satisfiedis your new album's title. How can we believe a rambunctious performer like yourself could ever be satisfied?
Well!I just think you can't take things as literally as you read them. To me, it was a tongue-in-cheek approach to the title. Maybe I should've put a question mark after it? I don't think it would've looked so good. If you listen to the record, the title track, while it was never meant for a single, I think it summed up the journey of the record. [The record opens with the] beginning of a new relationship or, you know, infatuation -- that kind of feeling, very light, very fun, that's "Beautiful." It ends with "Hymn," which is just the state of grace and a feeling of gratitude. And to me, "Satisfied," if you listen to that song, it goes, "Are you satisfied? Or, you happy now that's it over? Don't let me stand in your way." I mean, that's not somebody saying they're satisfied with the result. I've never ultimately been satisfied. I don't think that's the point.

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