Taylor made

Under a serious demeanor, Dayne maintains a sense of humor about herself

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SHE’S A BALLER | Taylor Dayne will pump up the dancefloor at MetroBall during Razzle Dazzle, but finds the chance to perform at the AIDS benefit a privilege.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Taylor Dayne projects a cool demeanor that makes you take her seriously, not someone to be joked with (unless your Tig Notaro) or engaged in idle chatter.

Or so it seems. As the headliner at in this year’s MetroBall, the singer is grateful for her appeal to the LGBT community with every beat of her heart.

“My love relationship with the community has been going on for 25 years now and you don’t know how thankful I am for that,” she Dayne. “We both have gone through quite a bit of growth and expanded ourselves, and so it’s wonderful to have this opportunity and benefit people as well.”

MetroBall — a fundraiser for the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund — marks Dayne’s second opportunity in less than a year to entertain the Dallas gays. In November, she joined a star-studded roster appearing at Black Tie Dinner. But whether it’s a few months or a decade ago, time just exists for Dayne.

“It doesn’t feel like 25 years,” she says. “It all feels kind of timeless. Yeah, I see photos here and there from when it all began, but it’s just all part of this career.”

Dayne debuted her signature song “Tell It to My Heart” in 1987, followed by her double-platinum debut album, which yielded four Top 10 singles. Along with dance-pop contemporaries Paula Abdul and Pebbles, Dayne embodied the evolution of pop music from the disco decade. With a powerful voice over dance beats, she had that much in common with the late Donna Summer; indeed, Summer’s recent passing struck a melancholic nerve in Dayne.

“She was very inspirational to me as an artist,” she admits. “The late ‘70s was a very impactful time for me in those junior high school years. The material this woman put out was just so amazing.”

Disco took a double hit with the passing of Summer and Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Dayne pondered on the effect and influence both had on her music as well.

“Barry [Gibb] is so profound as an artist. I wouldn’t say they were influential on my music, but they did have their impact.”

Earlier this year, people saw Dayne as they had not seen her before: in the kitchen. As one of eight celebs, she put her cooking skills (or lack thereof, she jokes) to the test for charity on the Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. She joined Rachael Ray’s team, cooking alongside singer Aaron Carter, Olympian Summer Sanders and actor Lou Diamond Phillips, who won overall. Although she got off to a rocky start, she gained traction and ultimately was satisfied with her kitchen performance — she almost made it to the end, losing to Team Fieri’s Joey Fatone.

“My matzoh ball soup would beat his fried rice any day!” she smirks. “Just not that day. I was uneasy with my decision to do it, but when I say I can’t do something, then I want to prove them wrong. I felt like I was an underdog in the competition. They would call me sandbagger, but I was hyper-focused to come out on top. I was in killer mode.”

Dayne has an equally Zen view of an infamous “Taylor Dayne” skit by lesbian comedian Tig Notaro. In it, Notaro muses on the comedic effects of running into the singer way too often to be mere coincidence. It’s on its way to becoming legend; the 14-minute (and growing) routine made its way to a recent episode of NPR’s This American Life. Amused by it, Dayne joined in on the fun by serenading Notaro with “I’ll Always Love You.” (Clearly you had to be there.)

“She’s so amazing and I love that piece. You have to listen to it,” she says. “There’s a lot of love there. Tig and Taylor!”

Which shows that as serious as Dayne comes off, she does have a sense of humor about herself. She says any celebrity has to.

“You have to have some level of security with yourself,” she says. “You’re always redefining and reinventing yourself in this business and some better than others. I just have to know how to improve on this and expand my own person.”

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WHAT TO DO FOR RAZZLE DAZZLE

Get bedazzled starting Wednesday with the Cedar Spring Wine and Dog Walk at 6 p.m. on June 6 — just don’t let the dogs get drunk. Join in on the Oak Lawn Pub Crawl on June 7 at 9 p.m. through area nightclubs. (The RDD Shuttle Bus runs continuously through Cedar Springs so jump aboard and leave the driving to them.) After the MetroBall, get up early on June 9 for the Classic Chassis Car and Spectrum Motorcycle Show at on the Strip starting at 10 a.m., then get all wet at Waterpalooza. Go Back to the Eighties that night at the street party, with the M-80s performing.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

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