Some stars take a break to get away from the biz for a while. Melissa Manchester stepped away from the limelight for 10 years to raise her children.
”I didn’t want to miss anything of their growing up,” she said last week from her Los Angeles home. ”It’s a leap of faith to leave a business like mine, and a leap of faith to return.”
In 2004, the singer-songwriter released her first disc of all-new material, ”When I Look Down the Road,” in a decade. She enjoyed returning to the studio.
”It was wonderful because I really wanted to be mindful of the experience,” Manchester said. ”My intention for the CD was to create a quieter space for the listener and me. You couldn’t help but notice the world had become much noisier and crankier since 9/11. I just wanted to create some quiet.”
That approach produced a stripped-down sound that focused on lyrics and melodies. Manchester wrote much of the disc in Tennessee.
”I brought my ideas to Nashville and met some tremendous songwriters,” she said. ”The craft of songwriting is at such a high place there. They still revere the story, the lyric, the melody and the basic format of the song.”
Appropriately enough, ”After All This Time” was the first single off the CD.
”I wrote that song about my husband and I. We’ve been married a long time — 24 years. In my line of work, that’s equal to about 74 years,” Manchester said with a laugh. ”I have used my relationship with Kevin as a filter to work over lyrics over the years. We’re living in a living relationship. It’s always a work in progress. There’s a line in the song, ‘We laughed until we couldn’t speak and fought like the Civil War.’ That’s a marriage for you.”
Manchester will perform some new songs when she brings her Duet Tour to the Franciscan Center at Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania, at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26. Tickets are $40, $35 and $25.
”It’s me and my keyboard player, Stephan Oberhoff. We do two acts,” Manchester said. ”It’s just a synthesized version of what I do with the band. It’s like a recital. It’s wonderful.”
She’ll also sing her hits, which include ”Midnight Blue” and ”You Should Hear How She Talks About You,” for which she earned a Grammy Award in 1982.
”After the shows, I come out and sign autographs and talk to people. I call this the third act,” Manchester said. ”I didn’t used to do this, but I really learned from the country artists who have been doing this forever. It’s quite touching and heartwarming to hear people gently admonish me for staying away for 10 years.”
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