In the small conference-like auditorium holding about 75 people, Gaynor answered questions about her 40-year career, revealing that her favorite re-recording of her song "I Will Survive" is by singers Gladys Knight and Chantay Savage. She was surprisingly quiet and had a deeper/gravelly voice than I had expected, but she was very gracious and sweet. She also said that growing up she was inspired by the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole. Before singing a duet "Tell Him" with soap opera actress Nadia Bjorlin, she mentioned that she is talking to Days of Our Lives (her favorite soap) about being on the show. Interesting.
She of course performed her popular song to much clapping as well as a few gospel songs that will be in her upcoming gospel album next year. Another story she shared with us was that a year before recording "I Will Survive" she fell during a performance and was temporarily paralyzed and was in the hospital for several months. Her mother also passed away that year, both tragedies she credits to helping her sing her hit with such conviction.
Overall, it was a very intimate affair, part of the museum's Legends series and was followed by a signing and meet and greet with Gaynor herself. I had her sign her CD and got to take a photo with her.