1. I thought Barry Manilow was not only singing truth to power, but was proving that life would be, eventually, my own. He was going to have a sweet life. And he didn’t have to be cute — he was the awkward and undisputed truth of my tween emotions. Of course I wrote out, and memorized all the lyrics to Sugar Hill Gang’s 1979 ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ And I swore by ‘Right On!’ magazine, where the Jackson brothers ruled. But Manilow was, for three or four intense years, my mindset.

    — Writer Danyel Smith fulfilled the real dreams of her 13-year-old self when she saw the pop singer Barry Manilow live on Broadway