Singer, songwriter, and actress Taylor Dayne rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut single “Tell It to My Heart.” Since then, the pop icon has been busy, with six more top-10 singles, two Grammy Award nominations, an American Music Award, and multiple other awards. Oh, and parts in movies and television shows such as “Love Affair,” “Fool’s Paradise,” and “Rude Awakening.” She also performed as Popcorn on season 4 of “The Masked Singer.”
Next month Dayne will be at it again, performing in Scottsdale at Gateway Celebrity Fight Night, a Gateway for Cancer Research Gala. The celebrity-studded, red carpet event features a performance lineup created exclusively by Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster, the event’s musical director for 22 years.
A glamorous affair, Gateway Celebrity Fight Night unites celebrities, artists, actors, and individuals from all walks of life in the fight against cancer—a cause that’s close to Dayne’s heart. Last year, the pop icon was diagnosed with stage one colon cancer (she is now cancer-free).
The gala, along with its impressive auction, helps fund early-phase clinical cancer research through Gateway for Cancer Research (GatewayCR.org).
We sat down to talk to Dayne about the event, her career, her health, and one thing you probably don’t know about her.
Was there a specific moment in your life when you knew you wanted to be a professional singer? Or if not, what drew you to the industry?
When I was about 4 or 5 years old, my dad gave me a Sony transistor radio. The first song I heard was on WABC radio: “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder. I had never heard a voice more beautiful. I knew then and there I wanted to be a star and sound like the music coming from the box.
Did you grow up singing all the time and performing as a child?
I was influenced at a very early age by the radio and the music playing around me. I grew up in an apartment complex, so music played through the building and in and out of everybody’s windows. Many different styles and genres, with only a few FM stations. The teenagers who were getting into rock and pop, to musicals and classical music that my parents loved, to the jukebox in the luncheonette across the street playing “Radar Love.”
Of all your songs, do you have a favorite?
Well yes, I have favorites of my own to perform live. Definitely “Shelter” and “Love Will Lead.” I love performing “Shelter” for its raw fun and tempo, and “Love Will Lead” because it moves people in such a way. I’m always so invested in the performance of that song.
You’re currently touring. Do you like being on the road?
Being on the road after so many years with developed friendships and special spots I have journeyed to as a guest has many advantages. It also can be very lonely.
You’ve also been on TV and in numerous movies. Do you enjoy acting as much as singing?
I love acting! Being part of a set and crew working on a project. it’s not a muscle I flex as much.
Can we talk about your recent health scare? What happened?
What a crazy turn my health took in mid-2022. I was diagnosed with stage one colon cancer. It was very sudden. I went in for treatment and surgery immediately.
We’re so glad you are doing well now!
You will be in Scottsdale next month for Gateway Celebrity Fight Night, which raises money to fight all cancers. How does it feel to be part of—hopefully—solutions?
I love Scottsdale, and I'm so excited to be a part of the incredible Gateway Celebrity Fight Night as an artist and as a person so personally affected by cancer.
Why are events like this so important?
It brings a community together, and for those not knowledgeable of the charity or cause, it educates while it entertains.
Do you see yourself becoming an advocate at all?
I feel like I just went through something very deep and very personal. I’m forever grateful I came out on the healthy living side of this disease. If I can help anyone do the same, I’m there.
Have you been to Scottsdale before? If so, any favorite places? If not, is there anything you’re looking forward to?
I certainly have been to Scottsdale! Hiking, getting spa treatments at The Phoenician. Having a great meal at any of the fine restaurants in town.
When you’re not performing, you like to …
I stay physical, doing more outdoor activities, home cooking, hiking, working out with a trainer, and seeing friends.
What’s one thing fans would be surprised to know about you?
I can cook a great Italian sauce!
If You Go …
WHAT: Gateway Celebrity Fight Night
WHEN: April 1
WHERE: JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa