Melissa Manchester’s self-made You Gotta Love the Life (release date: Feb. 10, 2015), the singer-songwriter’s first album since 2004, celebrates 40 years of making music. The album offers a variety of songs performed with legendary artists such as Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Keb’ Mo’, Dionne Warwick, Dave Koz, and Joe Sample, in one of his last recordings.
You Gotta Love the Life is the Oscar-nominated, Grammy-winning singer’s first new studio album since When I Look Down That Road. This record marks her only collaboration with Hal David for what turned out to be his last recorded lyric. Manchester produced the album with guitarist Terry Wollman co-producing.
The jazzy, propulsive title track opens the record with gutsy, autobiographical lyrics about a life devoted to show business.
Melissa Manchester’s extraordinary career began when the native New Yorker signed her first publishing deal at 17. Soon she was backing up Bette Midler as a founding member of the Harlettes and studying songwriting with Paul Simon at New York University.
Today, Manchester teaches music to students at the University of Southern California, where the pupils urged her to record a studio album financed not by a company but by a fan-based campaign. Manchester asked the students about this crowd-funding trend and was persuaded to initiate an Indiegogo effort to fund her first album in 10 years.
You Gotta Love the Life, blending the classic American songbook with jazz, ballads and samba and featuring high-caliber guest performances in powerfully evocative new songs and favorite cover tunes, will be released on February 10, 2015. The sultry first single, “Feelin’ for You”, goes to radio on January 1, 2015.
“This is an adventure I would not have wanted to miss,” Manchester says, adding that she loved being liberated from traditional record deals.
Citrus College, where she is honorary artist in residence, provided use of its world-class recording studio, where Manchester joined several legends of jazz and pop for spirited, joyful song-making on the new album.
“You do have to pinch yourself when you work with your musical heroes and heroines,” she admits. “I have admired Dionne since I was 15. I still have the letter she sent in response to a mash note I had written her after seeing her at the Copa.”
Manchester’s own status as one of popular American music’s most enduring artists is exceptional both for her longevity and versatility.
Following the stint with Bette Midler, Manchester’s solo career earned critical praise and commercial success. Manchester’s recording of the Peter Allen/Carole Bayer Sager anthem “Don’t Cry Out Loud” delivered her first Grammy nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance in 1979, and she won the award in the same category four years later for “You Should Hear How She Talks About You”. Two of her songs, “Through the Eyes of Love” and “The Promise,” were nominated for Academy Awards in the same year.
Manchester’s songs have been recorded by Roberta Flack, Dusty Springfield, Alison Krauss, Stevie Nicks, Kenny Loggins and Barbra Streisand. She has written songs for major movies made for the Walt Disney Studios, independent pictures and Tyler Perry and she has appeared in films and television – Manchester played the mother of Mayim Bialik’s title character on NBC’s Blossom – as well as co-creating the ballroom dance extravaganza, Fascinating Rhythms, for the stage.
“My hunger is the same hunger I had when I was 17,” she says when discussing the release of her self-made You Gotta Love the Life. “This album is what I know for sure at last.”