Step Into the Spotlight

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On Fridays, the Festival introduces a new music series, “Step into the Spotlight,” which brings to center stage some of those amazing voices that are usually seen (and heard) in the background. Check out the extraordinary lineup of back-up singers or backgrounds vocalists who “step into the spotlight” at the Festival of Arts.

Performer: Melanie Taylor

Born in New Orleans on New Year’s Day to a classical pianist mother and a family of artists, Melanie Taylor’s rich, eclectic musical heritage has helped guide and define her own artistry ever since. She is inspired by such diverse and unique artists as Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Donny Hathaway, and the poetry and writing of e.e. cummings, Rumi, Stephen King and Toni Morrison.

As one of Bette Midler’s infamous and legendary Harlettes for nearly a decade, Melanie Taylor has been seen twirling and singing on the Emmy Award winning HBO Special, “Diva Las Vegas”, as well as a 6-week sold-out engagement at Radio City Music Hall, and in a millennium photo essay in Rolling Stone magazine.

Melanie has been an in-demand featured vocalist on major world tours, film and television, and shared the stage with such artists as David Foster, John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer, Barry Manilow, Chaka Khan, Ashford and Simpson, Billy Preston, Chris Botti, Barbara Streisand, Ray Charles, Elton John, Billy Joel, Sheryl Crow, Michael McDonald, Jackson Browne, Sarah McLachlan, Tears for Fears, Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Ronnie Spector, Jeffrey Osborne, Brian Wilson, Jim Belushi, Sheena Easton, Paula Abdul, Jeff Barry, Dionne Warwick, Melissa Manchester, Carole Bayer Sager, Dave Koz, Willie Nelson, Deepak Chopra, Joe Walsh, Steven Tyler, and as the first female vocalist to sing with the legendary rock band Aerosmith on their Music From Another Dimension album and tour in 2012.

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