For the past 30 years, Cyndi Lauper has been dazzling—and surprising—her fans all over the world. A multi-talented artist and one of music’s most beloved icons, she has racked up global record sales of over 50 million albums and has won countless awards, including two Grammys, an Emmy, and a Tony, a distinction as a New York Times Best Selling author, as well as numerous honors for her tireless activism. Lauper is just one Academy Award (Oscar) away from the distinguished EGOT designation, an honor that only 13 other brilliant artists have ever achieved.
This year marks another significant milestone for Lauper – a celebration of 30 years as a solo artist. And while she will make time to appreciate the past, Lauper is laser-focused on the future.
This April, Lauper will celebrate the anniversary of her groundbreaking, record-setting debut album with She’s So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration. The 2-CD deluxe edition will feature the original album, rare demos, live concert recording as well as remixes by some of today’s hottest DJs and producers. She’s So Unusual, Lauper’s debut solo album, is a colorful portrait of a unique and multifaceted talent. The album, produced by Rick Chertoff and featuring Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian of the Philadelphia band the Hooters, features some of Lauper’s most well-known songs and perennial radio favorites including “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” “Time After Time,” “She Bop,” “Money Changes Everything,” and “All Through the Night.” She’s So Unusual made Lauper a household name and music history, making her the first female artist to have four top 5 singles on a debut album.
This spring, Lauper will join her good friend Cher as a special guest on 36 dates of Cher’s Dressed To Kill Tour. Lauper previously performed over one hundred shows during Cher’s Believe Tour, Living Proof Tour and The Farewell Tour. She is also nominated alongside Madonna, John Mellencamp, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant to join the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame 2014 class which will be announced this June.
Cyndi, who won great acclaim with her 2006 stage debut as Jenny in The Threepenny Opera, wrote the Tony® Award winning original score (music and lyrics) for the smash hit Broadway adaptation of the British film Kinky Boots. The musical, which opened on The Great White Way last year, won 6 Tony® Awards – including Best Musical and Leading Actor in a Musical for Billy Porter – brings together a powerhouse team: Cyndi, legendary producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig, four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (who wrote the book), and venerable director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. This January, the Original Broadway Cast Recording also won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, marking Lauper’s second Grammy win – 30 years after her first.
Inspired by a true story, Kinky Boots tells the tale of one Charlie Price, who is forced to step in and save his family’s shoe factory in Northern England following the sudden death of his father. Help arrives from the most unlikely of angels—a charismatic drag performer named Lola. Together, this improbable duo revitalizes the ailing business and helps them grow into the men their fathers dreamed they would become. In the process—and buoyed by Cyndi’s unforgettable score of instant classics, from lively comic tunes to bring-down-the-house stunners—they transform an entire community through the power of acceptance. It’s a message that could not be timelier.
And, the critics agree! The New York Times’ Ben Brantley says, “Cyndi Lauper knows how to work a crowd. Making her Broadway debut as a composer with Kinky Boots… this storied singer has created a love- and heat-seeking score that performs like a pop star on Ecstasy. Try to resist if you must… you might as well just give it up to the audience-hugging charisma of her songs.” The Associated Press raves, “thank goodness for songwriter Cyndi Lauper,” and the New York Post shares that “it’s no surprise that her (Lauper’s) first score, Kinky Boots, finds her at ease on Broadway… if the show’s about people coming into their own, Lauper’s leading the pack.” And, Variety says ,“Cyndi Lauper’s score has the driving energy and uplifting spirit of a roller derby… Lauper not only knows how to write super show tunes, she knows how to spread the joy around.”
Of course, Cyndi has always been an advocate for people who are different (among whom she proudly counts herself.) She details this journey in her 2012 New York Times Best Selling autobiography, Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. Written with journalist Jancee Dunn and published by Atria Books, the memoir details for the first time Cyndi’s tumultuous years growing up in Queens, the ups and downs of a career that has spanned over three decades, her conflicted feelings on fame, and her advocacy of equality for all that led to the creation of her foundation, the True Colors Fund.
Cyndi writes with moving detail about how she left her chaotic home life at 17 with no prospects and no money. While taking jobs at the racetrack, as an I-Hop waitress and gal Friday, music was her refuge. She moved from band to band, playing small gigs, and finally landed a solo deal. In 1983 she broke out with the album She’s So Unusual, which earned Lauper her first Grammy Award for Best New Artist and made her the first female artist in history to have four top 5 singles on a debut album.
“Sometimes I come off good, sometimes not so good,” says Lauper. “But I never wanted this book to be anything but my truth. It’s not about what people think of me, but what I learned along the way. And if telling the story of what I went through can help someone else, then it’s worth it.”
An Emmy Award winner for her guest-starring role as Marianne Lugasso on “Mad About You,” Cyndi continues to show her range as an actress and personality on television and film. Since 2011, Cyndi can be seen on the Fox TV show Bones in the recurring role as the bewitching psychic Avalon Harmonia. In film, Cyndi has appeared in such motion pictures as Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (Fine Line/Mirimax), Life With Mikey (Touchstone), Off and Running (Independent), and Vibes (Columbia/Imagine). Perhaps most notable has been her affecting, acclaimed performance opposite Christopher Walken in The Opportunist (Independent).
Helping others has always been a guiding force for Cyndi. An unwavering advocate for equality since long before she became famous, she co-founded the True Colors Fund in 2008 to further her commitment. The organization works to bring an end to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth homelessness through its Forty to None Project and inspire everyone to get involved in advancing equality for all through its Give a Damn Campaign.
Cyndi’s particular commitment to helping these vulnerable youth is driven by the fact that they are on the street primarily due to family rejection based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. “As a mother, I can’t ever imagine throwing my child away. I can’t imagine kicking a kid out of my house. I can’t imagine rejecting a person who is, literally, a part of me,” says Lauper.
In addition, Cyndi is the Honorary Chairperson and a co-founder of the True Colors Residence, the first project of its kind to provide a permanent, supportive, and secure home to formerly homeless LGBT youth in New York City.
Looking to the near future, Cyndi will once again turn back to her first love—creating new music. For now, she’s mum on the details of her next original album, but one thing is for sure: it’s yet another invigorating challenge for this ever-changing artist—a woman who is never afraid to push herself creatively, and take her many fans along for the ride.