Summer’s Dance Floor Divas
By Max Jimenez
After a period of commercial decline, dance music is back in a big way. The revival is largely tied to the soaring popularity of electronic dance music, or E.D.M., and music acts like David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia. But a bunch of new talent has been emerging from the underground this summer, many of them of the diva variety. Here are three of the women tearing up dance floors with brand new summer jams.
Leah Laurenti carries herself with the confidence of a seasoned performer and immediately commands the attention of every room, no matter the size. However engaging, her extrinsic image gives way to undeniable talent the moment she sings. She has a surprising vocal maturity that sparks a blaze in her original material and brings jazzy new life to classic standards. With her effortless, embedded ability, she makes it seem easy. But as every performer knows, the road to success is anything but easy.
On “About a Girl,” the bold and infectious new single that marks Veronica Jensen’s long awaited breakthrough in the U.S., the Denmark based dance sensation sings with sass and confidence about her playful desire to take over the world even as she’s having a blast partying. With numerous European dance hits and hundreds of live performances under the group name Aycan—and thousands of new fans in China thanks to her deal with EMI Asia—the multi-talented performer and vocal powerhouse is well on her way to achieving that goal.
Melissa Manchester, as founding member and “toots in the middle” of the Harlettes, the infamous girl group behind Bette Midler, Melissa fulfilled her childhood fantasy of playing Carnegie Hall. Six months later, she had a recording contract, and went on to headline at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, and performed for sold-out audiences across the country. Forty years after releasing her debut album and 30 years after scoring a Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Performance for her #5 Billboard hit “You Should Hear How She Talks About You,” the powerhouse singer and songwriter-best known for towering ballads like “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “Midnight Blue” and “Though The Eyes Of Love”. She is already receiving airplay around the world for her explosive and infectious new track “Two Courageous Hearts”. Written by Manchester and veteran songwriter Gordon Pogoda, “Two Courageous Hearts” was remixed by Mike Rizzo and Mr. Mig and released by Dauman Music and distributed by Global Groove Entertainment/IN-Grooves.
Why is it important to appeal to gay fans?
Leah Laurenti: I love all people who stand up for themselves with no inhibitions and shine through life.
Veronica Jensen: Gay crowds are the sweetest, most open-minded and embracing culture out there. They are also the best party people!
Melissa Manchester: Gay fans love their divas. I am a diva and conversely have always been supportive of my gay fans.
Why is your song perfect for summer?
Leah Laurenti: “Backing Down” gives off that summer vibe. It motivates people to get things done.
Veronica Jensen: “About A Girl” is a happy feeling song. It’s perfect for dancing and summer romance. It pulls ya to the dance floor!
Melissa Manchester: I see “Two Courageous Hearts” as a serenade for lovers. Summer love is an age-old theme for songs.
Does the dance floor reflect what is going on in the world?
Leah Laurenti: The dance floor offers an escape; a place where we can create our own reality and where all that matters is the now.
Veronica Jensen: The dance floor is where people can let go, be free, be themselves, find love and meet new people.
Melissa Manchester: I don’t know that it reflects what’s going on today but it is a perfect escape from the cares and worries of today’s world.
Are remixes important?
Leah Laurenti: Remixes bring a song to another level. I love a good dance remix.
Veronica Jensen: Yes, it’s important that there be something out there for everybody.
Melissa Manchester: Listen to the Mig and Rizzo remix of “Two Courageous Hearts” and you tell me!
What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
Leah Laurenti: I love two things: food and helping people. I’d be either a nurse or a chef.
Veronica Jensen: Music is a huge part of me, but I could see myself doing something in the TV industry. I love anything creative.
Melissa Manchester: I’d work in a soup kitchen or be an inventor.
Do you have a special message for your gay fans this summer?
Leah Laurenti: Don’t let your sexuality define you. Let the life you lead and the love you project show people who you are.
Veronica Jensen: Be good to yourself and remember: no matter what some people may say, love is for everybody. Have fun, let loose and embrace life, ya’ll.
Melissa Manchester: Have fun this summer, but don’t do anything stupid.