Taylor Dayne will hit the stage at Gateway Celebrity Fight Night, Saturday, April 1 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. (Photo by Peter Baratti)
Gateway Celebrity Fight Night spotlights iconic ’80s singer Taylor Dayne
Back in the 1980s, if you were talking about music and mentioned the name “Taylor,” there was only one – Taylor Dayne. The massive hair and ultra-dramatic eyeliner may be gone, but the powerful and intense vocal style remains, along with a newfound resiliency that has propelled her into health advocacy after a fight with cancer. The singer, songwriter and actress will hit the stage at Gateway Celebrity Fight Night, Saturday, April 1 at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.
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DEEPER DIVE: The official Taylor Dayne website
Gateway Celebrity Fight Night is Arizona’s premier celebrity red carpet charity event, which sells out every year. The gala is a glamorous affair that unites celebrities, artists, actors, entertainers and individuals from all walks of life in the fight against cancer. This year’s musical lineup includes David Foster, Earth Wind & Fire, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Taylor Dayne, Katharine McPhee, Thelma Houston and The Sugarhill Gang.
Dayne’s impressive career has included seven U.S. Top-10 singles including “Tell It to My Heart,”"Love Will Lead You Back,” "With Every Beat of My Heart,” "Prove Your Love,” and "I'll Always Love You.” She has also won multiple New York Music Awards, an American Music Award and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.
Taylor Dayne says, “I’m operatically trained and studied classical music training.” She broke it to her opera coach one day and said, ‘Look, this is the kind of music I am going to be doing... But I always felt that having that fundamental training and coaching of my voice, it’s like an athlete. To me that’s the muscle and I still vocalize and use the routines... A lot of it, and a lot of the information that was drilled into me.”
At the time, she was performing popular music in clubs across New York, although she chose to continue to study music and train operatically. Reflecting back, she thinks her musical interest could have gone either way, but her heart was ultimately in pop music.
“I grew up in New York and it was ‘our backyard.’ In and of itself, it was such a motivator that music stemmed from,” says Dayne. “We had some great artists that were breaking in the 70s that were from Long Island, whether that was Lou Reed, Billy Joel, or Pat Benatar, and the city was the gravitational force. Everybody played New York, or wanted to play New York... If you make it there, you make it anywhere. That really is the saying.”
The singer sought out desirable clubs in which to perform. Her first band right out of high school was Felony. She then began working with original bands and writers with original content, which eventually brought her to the attention of record labels. “I remember three years into the process – I think I was 20 or 21, and I was like, ‘I’m not going to be in a band anymore! It’s going to say my name over the marquee.’” She knew that dance music was the big thing in the mid-80s and that’s what was getting played on the radio. Her breakout hit, “Tell it to My Heart” was a smash hit, nominated for a Grammy and remained in the Billboard Hot 100 for 25 weeks.
Dayne’s performance at Gateway Celebrity Fight Night is particularly relevant as she is a recent cancer warrior. March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Dayne is front and center to talk about her experience battling the disease that is one of the most common forms of cancer in men and women.
The singer had developed polyps four years ago that were discovered during her first colonoscopy. Although she has no family history of colon cancer, she stayed the course with colonoscopies every six months. In July 2022, she was diagnosed with a highly aggressive cancerous polyp and given two weeks to decide what she wanted to do. Her cancer had developed and become aggressive in less than six months.
“It was just as sudden as it sounds,” explains Taylor Dayne. “I am ever grateful for the pre-screening and the advancements that have been made. But I will say this, for me it was critical to maintain early detection and that’s what saved my life. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
She says, “This is why early detection is on your side because it can grow and grow and these are not detectable. Like, I wasn’t in pain and I didn’t have blood in my stool. It wasn’t like that.” Ultimately, she underwent surgery to remove a portion of her colon.
“Get yourself checked. Don’t wait until you’re 50 or 60. I have so many friends that have gone in now and gotten tested. It’s a relief and it really isn’t as stigmatizing as people think.”
One of Dayne’s favorite things to say now is, “Find the doctor that will tell you the truth.” She explains that the toughest part of her cancer journey was the aftercare of her surgery, calling it “hell.” She says you must do your research and be your own warrior, and she’s grateful that her doctor was straightforward with her and didn’t sugarcoat the treatment that needed to happen.
Iconic musician, producer and fellow performer at Gateway Celebrity Fight Night, Nile Rodgers has also battled cancer and won twice. These two cancer warriors’ stories will undoubtedly raise additional awareness about early detection and advocating for your own health.
This year marks the 35th year anniversary of “Tell it to My Heart.” Remarkably, Dayne is touring throughout 2023 and creating new music. She will have an EP she is doing with Greg Beale that will be coming out soon.
Dayne is looking forward to joining the Gateway Celebrity Fight Night event on April 1. “You’re going to find a very joyful, happy, alive young lady going for it!” finishes the singer.” “Some of the fun stuff is that we get to collaborate with some of our peers there like David Foster and Nile Rodgers. It’s a celebration on one level and it’s an education.”
Gateway has exclusively funded early-phase clinical cancer trials around the world for over 30 years. To date, the organization has invested more than $95 million to fund over 195 clinical cancer trials. These studies have delivered hope and healing to over 10,000 cancer patients, altered the standard of care at some of the world’s most trusted health care institutions and given way to new federally approved cancer treatments and therapies.
Gateway Celebrity Fight Night will be hosted and co-chaired by Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson and Mr. Richard Stephenson. The glamorous event is a star-studded evening of fundraising that includes celebrities from the world of sports, TV, film and music coming together to help raise money for clinical cancer trials. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on exciting silent and live auction items, enjoy an elegant dinner and world-class musical entertainment performed by some of the hitmakers that helped create the iconic Studio 54 scene.
To purchase tickets for Gateway Celebrity Fight Night, visit celebrityfightnight.org.