Tonight’s Season 2 finale of High School Reunion features a surprise (to the cast, anyway) performance from ’80s chart-topper Taylor Dayne. She belts out signature tunes like “Tell It To My Heart” as the class of 1988 from Chandler, Ariz., end their stay in Hawaii with a chance to relive their prom.
After her hit-making days cooled, Dayne took to Broadway and also showed her acting chops in movies like Love Affair and Stag. She’s been back in the public eye in recent years, riding the reality TV wave in shows like VH1’s Remaking, and she costarred in the most recent season of CMT’s Gone Country. She took a few minutes to chat with us about her High School Reunion gig and what else she’s up to these days.
How was it performing for the High School Reunion crowd, and did you have any idea of all the drama going on with this cast?
The High School Reunion group was great. The night I performed for them was a surprise and also the last night for them, so the were ready to just let loose and have some fun. I saw a little bit of drama and heard some of the cast talking about each other, but for the most part I just came in to excite them, take them back and remind them of their real prom/graduation.
You’ve done some reality TV yourself, with Gone Country. What was it like for you to through that, and what has it done for your career?
Well, reality TV itself is wild. Being on that side of the camera in an unnatural setting and doing challenges makes it fun for the viewer and hell for the cast. At this point I knew going into Gone Country that they had a quality show, and what they were going for, so I went for the experience. The result for me has been an incredible writing and recording experience going back and forth to Nashville and working with some of their greatest writers.
When people watch you perform these days, are they receptive to your new songs as well as your past big hits?
I think as an artist it’s your job to gauge your audience and be the artist you’ve chosen to be. Decide if your fans keep coming back to see you, [then] why. Is it because they want to hear the hits? Hell, yeah! Does every artist want to perform new material? Always. I do my hits and mix in songs from my latest records and a cover or two that’s inspired me over the years.
You’ve been in the music business over 20 years now, plus you’ve tried acting. How has the entertainment business changed since when you got started?
Are you kidding?! What music business? This is the branding business, [and] reality TV leads the way.
What other projects do you have going on that we should know about?
I’ve been recording and writing in Nashville the last two months since I wrapped Gone Country, and I am also currently re-recording my greatest hits [with some new material].
Photo: Credit: Chris Ameruso