Cyndi Lauper sings the joys of the Blues
For over 25 years, we have been blessed with the talents of the always unpredictable Cyndi Lauper. We, of course, remember her bursting onto the music scene in 1983 with her "She’s So Unusual" album which made her the first female artist to have four Top 5 Billboard hits from one album ("Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "She Bop," "All Through The Night," and "Time After Time").
She is one of the best selling artists over four decades (1980s - 2010s). Besides her prowess as a singer and musician, Lauper has tackled film, television, and Broadway with award winning performances (including a 1985 Women In Film Crystal Award and an Emmy award for her guest appearance on the sit-com "Mad About You"). For her music, she’s won numerous Grammy awards, including a Best New Artist award in 1985 and four awards for "We Are The World" the following year.
And now she shows us that there really is no music genre that she cannot handle with her Grammy-nominated "Memphis Blues" album being the catalyst of her new tour From Memphis To Mardi Gras and a new documentary-DVD performance and live recording package "From Memphis With Love."
Cyndi is no stranger to the LGBT community having been the creator and participant of many projects that have supported issues of gay concern, and she has earned the communities undying support as an artist and activist over the years. I was privileged to catch up with "unusual" one while she is on her 20-city tour with Dr. John, and became more in awe of her as a person.
Bucked popular trends
BeBe: Over your career of more than 25 years, you have continually bucked the creative trends of the music industry and produced material that would be safe to say not in the mainstream of the time. What compels you to put out the music you do when you do?
Cyndi Lauper: Music compels me to do music. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t make music. I think about it all the time, and honestly, I just follow my spirit. For whatever reason, good or bad, I don’t think about trends when I am making music so I’m not intentionally bucking trends. I just don’t think I’d be very good at trying to fit in just to fit in. I have been very lucky to have the most supportive and loyal fans who are very adventurous.
BeBe: I think audiences are still amazed at what a wide range of music genres you are able to cover, and your Grammy-nominated "Memphis Blues" definitely represents some of the unexpected. What is your story behind the music on the CD?
Cyndi Lauper: I wanted to do this CD when I was still at Sony back in 2004. Jeff Beck (guitarist for the likes of Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, ZZ Top, Kate Bush) and I had wanted to do a blues cover project, but Sony didn’t want us to do it. I have always been a fan of blues, because as Muddy Water is quoted, "If blues gave birth to a child, that child would be rock and roll...," and really all popular music. I have been listening to the blues since I was a kid. I loved how Janis Joplin and acts like the Rolling Stones made it modern in the 70s. Also, that’s when I discovered all the great blues female singers like Big Momma Thornton and Big Maybelle. They really influenced me as a singer. So yes, I always had this project in the back of my mind.
Story continues on following page.
Watch this recent clip of Cyndi Lauper performing live: