Are you like me and if the song, “Tell It To My Heart” comes on the radio you start singing at the top of your lungs? Thanks to Taylor Dayne that 1987 hit single shot to the top of the music charts and instantly made the 24-years-old singer an overnight sensation. Other tracks such as, “I’ll Always Love You” soon followed as well as two Grammy nominations and the sale of millions of albums. Today, the 56-year-old artist is still cranking out tunes and releasing her memoir, appropriately titled, “Tell It To My Heart,” on Valentine’s Day. Dayne is giving fans an inside look at what fans will discover in this 244-page book.
Ilyssa Panitz: You have a new memoir, “Tell It To My Heart.”
Taylor Dayne: I do and I am so excited. It has been two-years in the making.
Ilyssa Panitz: What compelled you to write it and release it now?
Taylor Dayne: It is an evolution of me as a woman, as a single mom, as a daughter and as an artist. It was evident to me this story, my story was going to evolve into a book. It took six-months to prepare doing it but I knew I had to tell it.
Ilyssa Panitz: How was writing this different than writing music?
Taylor Dayne: A memoir is more of different moments in time and in a song you are telling your position in three-minutes. I try to be timeless when I write my music but when I wrote this book I traveled backwards by reliving, reopening and re-expressing things I went through from my childhood. Every chapter feels like three songs (laughs)
Ilyssa Panitz: What came to mind as you were recalling many of these memories, some that were not so pleasant?
Taylor Dayne: I saw the little girl I used to be. I have this picture of me when I was four-years-old that I keep next to my bed. As I was writing this book and recalling so many things, it stirred up a lot of the fears and joy I have had in my life. There are so many messages in this book I want people to take away. There were uncontrollable moments, never ending determination and yet there is an innocence and vulnerability. I hope it shows that I was not a victim. In fact, I want to show everyone that we all go through a journey, some that aren’t so pleasant, but it can also be this incredible ride.
Ilyssa Panitz: What was the toughest lesson you learned along the way?
Taylor Dayne: It is the one that stays with you forever, the big decision making because it never leaves you. When I parted ways my label it alerted the course of my music and my career. I was a young girl who said, no one was going to take anything from me.
Ilyssa Panitz: What obstacles did you tackle along the way?
Taylor Dayne: Bulimia, panic attacks and there were many of those. If I did not have this eternal flame that kept my drive going I would have become hopeless.
Ilyssa Panitz: What would you say was your darkest period?
Taylor Dayne: My early 30’s up to 36. I achieved so much and yet I felt so little. I didn’t know what I was doing it for. Was I doing it for family? Was I doing it for love? I had not reached that place where I was purposeful and understanding. My biggest challenge was also getting out of my own way. I was completely trapped by my own inner thoughts and my own inner dialogue. It looked like I was self-sabotaging because I did not know where to turn and who to turn to.
Ilyssa Panitz: What inspired you to keep pushing forward and not give up?
Taylor Dayne: One thing I write about is trust. Who can you trust, how can you learn to trust. You have to learn about the eternal walk and you find a way to walk though it and I chose survival. Now I am in the 50’s and I am thriving.
Ilyssa Panitz: In the title you use the words, conquer fear. What fear was that and how did you move past it?
Taylor Dayne: I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. There were hard core. It can isolate and cut you off from the world so you can find a place that makes you feel safe. The only thing I knew how to control was me in terms of where I went, who I went with and how I did it this including sleeping and how I slept. It was very precise. I wrote a chapter on how I had to separate myself from my boyfriend because I need to learn how to conquer this so I can get past it. It is both physical and emotional. I went to therapy and did a lot of self-acknowledgement.
Ilyssa Panitz: On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, how would you rate you level of happiness today?
Taylor Dayne: I can go 10, I can go nine or even and eight. But overall I am up on the spectrum and I am ok with where I am. I still continue to challenge myself and I have grown to love the woman that I am. Yeah I am bruised but I know that I am still learning and I am still going only this time I am really enjoying the ride.
Ilyssa Panitz: What comes to mind when I say the following names, which you will talk about in your book:
Michael Jackson — A Force, the greatest entertainer. He really needed to be the greatest and he was.
Whitney Houston — Beautiful! She was really alive yet she had a deep sadness and sorrow that you saw when you met her yet she also had a warmth about her that was one of a kind.
Sir Elton John — Very tenacious, incredible, survivor, thriver and incredible vocalist.
Ilyssa Panitz: Now that you are an accomplished author, is there another book up your sleeve?
Taylor Dayne: Oh yeah and I am already working on it. There is so much more I have to say. It will be far more specific than this one. I want to get into other things I did not get a chance to write about such as choosing to get a surrogate to have my children. I want to get into menopause, now that we can be open about this subject and proving that anything is possible.
Ilyssa Panitz: So you are reaping the rewards?
Taylor Dayne: Yes, there are my children but when I get on stage I see the people and that is a reward too. I find such a joy In performing now more so then when I was younger and felt depleted because I did not know what I was doing it for.
Ilyssa Panitz: Here is something else that is music to my ears, you are on tour?
Taylor Dayne: Always! Plus, I am releasing my new single at the end of February. My new tour starts in March and you can find out where and when on taylordayne.com. I am back at it and this book is my story to tell so everyone knows.