Melissa Manchester is a pop classicist who has scored top 40 hits even though her style seems more natural for a symphonic setting.
At the beginning of her career in the early '70s, the 55-year-old Manchester - who performs tonight at Lourdes College - made the transition from sensitive singer/songwriter to hit-maker thanks to savvy study of song forms and hard work.
She grew up in a musical home - her father was a bassoonist for the New York Metropolitan Opera - and was writing jingles by the age of 15 before working for a music publishing house. Manchester was even taught by Paul Simon when he was a guest lecturer at New York University.
She worked the Manhattan club scene after college and was discovered by Bette Midler and Barry Manilow, who hired her as a backup singer. She made a couple of albums that didn't sell well before joining Clive Davis' Arista label and having a big hit with the romantic ballad "Midnight Blue."
Follow-up singles "Don't Cry Out Loud" and "You Should Hear How She Talks About You," which won a 1980 Grammy for best female vocal performance, made her a household name in the late '70s and early '80s.
Working with Kenny Loggins, she also scored a major songwriting credit on the Stevie Nicks-sung "Whenever I Call You Friend." In 1980 she was the first singer to have two movie themes nominated for Grammies.
Manchester moved on to screenwriting and acting, appearing as a regular on the TV show Blossom, while sporadically releasing new albums and regularly touring.
Her most recent CD was "When I Look Down That Road" in 2004.
Melissa Manchester performs in concert tonight at 7:30 in the Franciscan Theatre & Conference Center of Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Tickets are $25, $35, and $40 from the box office, Information: 419-824-3999.