Melissa Manchester’s self-made You Gotta Love the Life will be released on Feb. 10, 2015, according to her publicist. This is the first album since 2004 and she tells me that the new work celebrates 40 years of making music. I know this is true firsthand because I have previewed the CD, which was recorded near Los Angeles at Citrus College with help from Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Keb’ Mo’, Dionne Warwick, Dave Koz and, in one of his last recordings, Joe Sample. While I’m helping Melissa, whom I interviewed for the Oscar-nominated singer’s last motion picture recording (read the interview here) to tell the tale of her distinctive new album, I can attest that the introspective You Gotta Love the Life is an achievement in the Grammy-winning singer’s exceptional career.
What a recording career it is, too. Following songwriting studies at NYU with Paul Simon and a stint with Bette Midler, Manchester’s solo career took off in earnest with her recording of the Peter Allen/Carole Bayer Sager anthem “Don’t Cry Out Loud” which garnered her first Grammy nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance in 1979. She won the award in the same category four years later for “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” and 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 still writes for movies, including a gospel tune for Tyler Perry, “I Know Who I Am”, which she says she sings for herself on You Gotta Love the Life. Manchester, who played Mayim Bialik’s mother on NBC’s Blossom and co-created the ballroom dance extravaganza, Fascinating Rhythms, for the stage, is writing a musical and planning to tour to support the new record. She says she plans to perform at a release party in Dave Koz’s new lounge at Spaghettini in Beverly Hills.
The show’s and new album’s opener is the propulsive title track, You Gotta Love the Life. It’s Melissa Manchester‘s personal narrative about the hard, show business life and her press announcement today touts You Gotta Love the Life as an integration of the classic American songbook with jazz, ballads and samba featuring favorite cover songs, including “Something Wonderful” from The King and I, and new, original material, such as what turns out to be the late Hal David’s last recorded lyric. The first single, “Feelin’ for You”, premieres on January 19. Look for an interview and album review.