Ne Leslie Wunderman, Taylor Dayne was born March 7, 1962, in Long Island, New York. Having harbored an interest in singing from an early age, Taylor joined her first band, the new wave group Felony, after graduating high school.
While her nights were spent performing at New York City nightclubs, Taylor's days were consumed with the study of music theory and composition at college, as well as private operatic training with Juilliard master Maestro Carelli. Taylor later left Felony for another new wave band called The Next, but rapidly came to the realization that if her career were to be successful, it would have to be a solo mission.
going it solo
After releasing some 12-inch records under the name "Leslee," Taylor met producer Ric Wake in 1985, the same Ric Wake who moved on to projects with Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Barry Manilow, among others. It was from this initial collaboration with Wake that the alias "Taylor Dayne" emerged, and the song that would make it a household name, "Tell It To My Heart."
"Tell It To My Heart" instantly soared to the top of the dance charts, and garnered Taylor a deal with Arista records. Her first album of the same name was completed in six weeks and released in 1988 to a stunning reception: the album went double platinum and three other songs joined the title track in the billboard top ten. Taylor spent the summer of that year as the opening act for the European leg of Michael Jackson's "Bad" tour, and then went to work on her second album. Can't Fight Fate was released in 1989, and Taylor sidestepped the sophomore slump as this second album also went double platinum and occupied four slots in the top ten -- among the hit singles was "Love Will Lead You Back."
taylor the thespian
Taylor's 1993 release with Arista, Soul Dancing, didn't enjoy quite the same success as its predecessors. Although album sales were decent, they didn't approach the numbers of the previous two, a shortcoming that should not be attributed to any failure on Taylor's part, but rather to a climate change in the industry itself.
By the mid-'90s, the popularity of alternative and grunge rock eclipsed the bubbly pop that dominated the '80s, and the likes of Taylor Dayne, Paula Abdul and Jody Watley were being pushed aside to make room for Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. Taylor's relationship with Arista became strained, and, shortly before the release of her last album with the label, dissolved entirely. Citing creative differences, Taylor left Arista in 1994, shortly before the release of Taylor Dayne: Greatest Hits.
Taylor's departure from Arista evolved into a four-year hiatus from the music scene entirely, during which time she tried her hand at acting. After being cast alongside Warren Beatty and Annette Bening in the 1994 film, Love Affair, Taylor played the lead in a stage production of Archie and Mehitabel in New York City's Town Hall. She then moved to Los Angeles to further hone her skills with acting lessons.
Taylor went on to take a role in the 1997 film, Fool's Paradise, and played Serena the hostage stripper in Stag. By 1998, Taylor was no longer contractually obliged to Arista, and was ready to make her return to music. That same year, Taylor released the album Naked Without You under her own record label.
can't fight fate
In the year 2000, Taylor recorded the track "Planet Love" for the soundtrack of the movie Flawless, and soon found herself back on top. "Planet Love" rose to No. 1 on the Billboard dance charts, and legions of new fans joined those who had remained loyal since "Tell It To My Heart." As of May 2000, Taylor had begun work on another solo album.
In spite of renewed security in the music industry, Taylor has continued to expand her acting resume with guest appearances on shows such as Martial Law, and a recurring role on Rude Awakening. She also had a run as Amneris, in the Broadway run of the Disney musical, Aida. Rumor has it that her own cable series might even be a possibility. Adding to her hectic schedule is the recent birth of her twins through a surrogate mother -- the daddy hasn't been made public. Hey, a little intrigue never hurt a career, right?