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Out & About / Ventura County

Dance Hall Diva

Taylor Dayne's return to singing will enhance the strawberry festival.

May 14, 1999|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's time once again for the best party in Oxnard, the 16th annual California Strawberry Festival, the two-day event guest-starring lots of those little juicy red things, over 330 food booths, arts and crafts and plenty of music.

Headlining on Saturday will be that resurrected dance hall diva, Taylor Dayne, and on Sunday, Grammy Award winner Rita Coolidge.

In between, the locals will be well represented by the likes of the Ska Daddyz, Randy Rich & the Ravens, Anastasia & John, the Zoot Suit Revue and Domino Affect.

There will also be tight original rock from Colorado local Nina Storey, horns and more horns from Jack Mack & the Heart Attack and legendary Latin rock from Tierra.

About a decade ago, Taylor Dayne was a big-time artist--bigger even than that mane of wild blond hair on her head. She had a string of hit records that forever endeared her to the dance/club crowd, beginning with "Tell It To My Heart" in 1988.

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Then, after five years, three albums and hit after hit, Dayne had an identity crisis of sorts when she perceived that few in the music industry had confidence in her abilities.

So the singer bailed out of her record deal, left her native New York and moved to Los Angeles, where she joined the vast percentage of the population that wants to be an actor or a screenwriter.

"Singing is something that I've become enormously comfortable with. I've been doing it for, what? 25 years now," she said during a recent phone interview. "Acting is a much newer version of creative energy, and it's more challenging."

But while Dayne has begun to focus more on an acting career, she is once again singing. Her newest album is "Naked Without You," and the title tune is about to become the recording's second single. According to the singer and her fans, it's classic Dayne.

"Geez. Well, I can only give you a list of adjectives from fans: powerful . . . very heartfelt . . . very emotional . . . pop . . . dance," she said.

Dayne, in addition to being The Voice With The Face, has her own production company. She has an eye out to sign new talent and even solicits unsigned artists to submit songs on her Web site. Translation: She's busier than ever.

"I'm not just gonna write songs to write songs," said Dayne.

"I need for them to have a home. Writing songs is important, and it takes a level of commitment that not everyone has. I just want to stay in a creative place. I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket like I did before. I intend to keep building up my production company, and do more television work. Plus, I want to get the music thing moving again. I want to be on the radio 24-7 like I was before."

So do blonds have more fun?

"There's some cool brunets out there having some fun, too," she said.

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DETAILS

California Strawberry Festival, featuring Taylor Dayne, Randy Rich & the Ravens, Raw Silk, Blowin' Smoke, El Kabong, Streetwalker, Uncle Monkey, the M-80s, the Ska Daddyz, Zoot Suit Revue and Anastasia & John, Saturday; Uncle Monkey, Tierra, Jack Mack & the Heart Attack, Rita Coolidge, Cynthia Manley, Ashley Jay, Nina Storey, Domino Affect and Orquesta La Morena Sunday; 3250 Rose Ave., Oxnard, $7, $4 children and seniors. (888) 288-9242.

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Aiming to provide a little music to raise relief money for the Kosovo refugees, a coalition of independent musicians will stage a fund-raiser Saturday evening at the Garden Village Cafe in Ventura.

Scheduled to perform are Eleni Kelakos, Kellee Bradley, the Painted Id, Susan Court, Lisa Johnson and Lesli Wood. Local musicians will be represented by Left of Memphis, featuring Leslie Merical and Marty Van Loan.

The benefit is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Holly Figueroa, who founded Indiegrrl, an association of independent female musicians based in Seattle.

All of the artists appearing will donate a portion of their CD sales to organizations helping the refugees.

An earlier incarnation of the show will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Borders in Santa Barbara.

There will be a locked donation box at the gig, and members of the Red Cross will be on hand to explain the refugee situation.

Also available, via the Internet (www.mp3.com), is a trio of compilation CDs featuring several of the same artists.

Similar concerts are being coordinated worldwide for a simultaneous relief effort, all on Saturday.

"We're really thrilled about being able to make a contribution to refugee relief," said Peter DeBaets, guitar player for the Painted Id. "I think the event shows the power, the caring and the resourcefulness of independent musicians everywhere."

* Kosovo Relief Festival featuring Left of Memphis, the Painted Id, Lisa Johnson, Eleni Kelakos, Kellee Bradley, Lesli Wood, and Susan Court at Garden Village Cafe, 40 Day Road, Ventura, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Free. 642-4015.

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"No one likes us--I don't know why/We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try/But all around, even our old friends put us down/Let's drop the big one and see what happens."

The wry and often misunderstood singer/songwriter Randy Newman will likely sing "Political Science" as well as "Rednecks," "I Love L.A." and many more songs from his vast repertoire when he plays a solo gig Wednesday night at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara.

* Randy Newman at the Lobero Theatre, 33 Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, Wednesday, 8 p.m. $47.50 or $42.50 advance. 963-0761.

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