Known both for her stirring torch ballads and bouncy synth pop of the late 70’s and 80’s, Melissa Manchester makes her Rockport debut on the heels of an acclaimed new comeback record. With 40 years of performing under her belt, the Grammy-winning singer, known for hits like “Midnight Blue” and “Don’t Cry Out Loud” among several others, remains at the top of her game.
The Bronx born singer came from a musical family, as her father played bassoon in the Metropolitan Opera. A loyal New Yorker, she studied piano at the Manhattan School of Music, went to city’s storied High School for the Performing Arts, and later studied songwriting with Paul Simon at NYU. First discovered singing in the clubs by Barry Manilow, Manchester was introduced to Bette Midler and consequently began learning the performance ropes singing back up for Bette Midler as part of the Harlettes.
Manchester’s solo career began in 1973 with the release of her debut album Home to Myself, but it wasn’t until her third record, 1975’s Melissa that her star truly took off. The album’s lead single, “Midnight Blue,” was Manchester’s first Top Ten hit and introduced her to the rest of the world. A few years later, she scored another memorable Top Ten hit, the classic ballad “Don’t Cry Out Loud”(for which Manchester received her first Grammy nomination). That same year, she received two Academy Award nominations for her performances on the movie themes of Ice Castles and The Promise. Manchester switched things up a bit stylistically for her next smash hit, the pop dance track “You Should Hear How She Talks About You,” which climbed all the way to #5 on the Billboard charts.
She continued recording and performing throughout the 90’s and 00’s, while also taking time to dabble in film (Bette Midler’s For the Boys), television (Blossom) and theater (I Sent a Letter to My Love). In 2004 she released the acclaimed record (her first in 10 years) When I Look Down That Road which featured blues artist Keb Mo’. Last year, Manchester returned to the studio and recorded her 20th album, You Gotta Love the Life, a thrilling comeback record that boasted guest luminaries such as Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Dionne Warwick and Joe Sample among others.