Dayne at the Big Apple Convention in Manhattan, 2009
March 7, 1962 |
Manhattan, New York
|Genres||Pop, dance-pop, freestyle, adult contemporary,R&B, soft rock, soul|
"Tell It To My Heart"
Leslie Wunderman (born March 7, 1962), better known by her recording and stage names Les Lee and Taylor Dayne, is an American pop and freestyle music singer-songwriter and actress. In late 1987, she scored her first major hit when her debut single "Tell It to My Heart" reached No. 7 on the Hot 100. She then went on to have a string of hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s, including the No. 1 Billboard hit "Love Will Lead You Back".
Overall, she has had eighteen individual hit songs reach the top ten in Billboard magazine. These include most recently, the 2011 American and international hit "Floor on Fire" and the 2008 song "Beautiful", which reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. She has also topped the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart three times. In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 28th most successful dance artist of all-time.
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Leslie Wunderman began singing professionally after graduating from high school in Baldwin, Nassau County, New York, singing in little-known rock bands such as Felony and Next. She began singing solo after finishing college and recorded two dance singles under the name Les Lee called "I'm The One You Want" (1985) and "Tell Me Can You Love Me" (1986), which were released on New York indie label Mega Bolt.
Signed to Arista Records as Taylor Dayne, her first song to crack the top ten was the dance-pop hit "Tell It to My Heart" in late 1987. 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 West Germany. Six more U.S. top-ten hits followed including "Prove Your Love", "I'll Always Love You", "Don't Rush Me", "With Every Beat of My Heart", "Love Will Lead You Back" and "I'll Be Your Shelter". These were followed by the No. 12 hit "Heart of Stone".
In the United States, she 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 uptempo dance tracks such as "Don't Rush Me" (1988) and "With Every Beat Of My Heart" (1989) to gain acceptance at Adult Contemporary radio. In 1990, "Love Will Lead You Back", a Diane Warren composition, peaked at No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart.
The string of hits from her first two albums, Tell It to My Heart (1988) and Can't Fight Fate (1989), would prove to be the peak of her music career. Although she went on to release two more albums in the 1990s, she had only one more U.S. Top 40 hit, her 1993 cover of Barry White' 1974 hit "Can't Get Enough of Your Love" (from her 1993 album Soul Dancing) which reached No. 2 in the Aria Charts in Australia but only No. 20 in the U.S.
Together with Arthur Baker and Fred Zarr, Dayne wrote "Whatever You Want" for Tina Turner's 1996 album Wildest Dreams. Dayne later recorded and released the song herself in 1998 as a single from her album Naked Without You. That album failed to chart, but Dayne continued to have hits on the dance charts into the 2000s.
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As an actress, Dayne appeared in the 1997 sci-fi television series Nightman as Carla Day, a singer who is also the leading character's love interest, performing many jazz songs alongside Marc Bonilla and Dragonchoir. Later on, she 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.
In 2005, Dayne was featured in the VH1 series Remaking, which featured her close friends, Leah Remini and Michelle Reid (also referred to as the Don on VH1). The series documents Dayne's return to music after taking time off to have a family, (she has twins, Levi and Astaria via a surrogate mother), and premiered her newest song, "Right Now," a result of her collaboration with Rodney Jerkins.
Dayne also appeared as a guest duet partner on the Fox TV show Celebrity Duets which aired in August and September 2006. She was paired with contestant Jai Rodriguez in the fourth episode, which aired September 14, 2006.
On December 11, 2007, Dayne released the first single "Beautiful" from her studio album Satisfied. The song was written by Taylor Dayne and Hitesh Ceon of production-team 3Elementz. Dayne has been promoting the single on many radio stations, including top markets including New York's WKTU. "Beautiful" went to No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Charts. She also appeared on The Today Show, Chelsea Lately, Wake Up With Whoopi and VH1. The music video for the single and the Satisfied album cover were shot by Tony Duran, who has also shot album covers for Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez.
She released her fifth album Satisfied in February 2008 to positive reviews - her first recording studio album in nearly a decade. Producers on this record include Rick Nowels, Gregg Alexander and Peter Wade. The album includes both new material and recreations of some of her favorite contemporary songs.
Dayne appeared in the CMT series Gone Country during its third season. Gone Country season 3, aired on the CMT network January 24, 2009 and its finale aired on March 7, 2009. The chosen winner was Sheila E.
In May 2010, she lobbied congressional leaders on Capitol Hill on behalf of NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) and VH1's Save The Music Foundation to reduce cuts in music education in America's schools.
In July 2010, she released "Facing a Miracle", the official theme song to the 2010 Gay Games. Dayne performed the song to an audience of 50,000 fans on July 31, 2010 in Cologne, Germany. It ended the year at No. 9 on Perfect Beat's Top Worldwide Singles of 2010. Five years before, however, she replied to the question what her thoughts on gay marriage were: "In the eyes of the Kaballah, [gays] can't be 'married.' That requires actual male and female energy and DNA. In the bigger picture, I think that 'marriage' is about a certain circuitry. I'm as married to my business manager as I would be any husband." 
In January 2012, she was one of eight celebrities participating in the Food Network reality series Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. She made it to the second-last episode, beating out Aaron Carter, Alyssa Campanella, Cheech Marin, and Summer Sanders.
In May 2012, Dayne was featured in the live episode of This American Life, which was broadcast to theaters nationwide and on radio in edited form. Comedian Tig Notaro performed a monologue about having encountered Taylor on multiple occasions, greeting her each time with, "Excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you, but I just have to tell you. I love your voice". After her monologue, Taylor made a surprise appearance, serenading Tig with the song "I'll Always Love You".
In September 2014, Dayne internationally released a new single called "Dreaming".
Dayne has never married. In 2002, she had twins via a surrogate. Dayne became a supporter of same-sex marriage (after having been opposed to it) in 2005, and stated in 2014 that she considers the LGBT community to be her most loyal fanbase.