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'Road' To Musical Success

After a self-imposed, decade-long hiatus from recording new music, Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester, best known for her hits "Midnight Blue" and "Come in from the Rain," has written and recorded 12 new songs.

She talked about her new album, "When I Look Down That Road," and performed a few songs from it on The Saturday Early Show's Second Cup Café.

Manchester says the album is about the road of life and the important things experienced during one's travels.

Manchester was born in New York. Her love of music may be traced to her father, a bassoonist for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, who introduced Manchester to all the classics. And it wasn't just music that caught her fancy -- at age 15, Manchester was already a published poet.

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After graduating from the High School of the Performing Arts in New York City, where she studied acting, Manchester entered New York University and enrolled in a songwriting class taught by Paul Simon.

During her college days, Manchester was a staff writer at Chappell Music, and, at night, she performed as a solo singer/pianist in the clubs of Greenwich Village and Manhattan's Upper West Side, where she met Bette Midler.

As a backup singer for Midler, she fulfilled her dream of playing New York's Carnegie Hall. Six months later she had a recording contract, and was performing for sold-out audiences, and even returned as a headliner to the famous New York City concert hall.

Manchester was nominated forGrammy Awards in 1978 and 1979, and received a Grammy in 1982 for Best Female Vocalist for "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" from her "Hey Ricky" album. In 1980, she became the first artist in the history of the Academy Awards to have two nominated movie themes in a given year: "Ice Castles" and "The Promise."

In 1989, Manchester honored Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald and other singers who influenced her in the album "Tribute."

Manchester put her training as an actress to use in Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Song and Dance" and "Music of the Night." She also had a recurring role in the NBC series "Blossom." In 1991, Manchester again worked with Midler, co-starring in the film "For the Boys."

Manchester recently received the Governor's Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for her contributions to the music and recording arts.

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