||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012)|
Cyndi Lauper at An Evening with Women Event, May 2008
|Birth name||Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper|
|Born||June 22, 1953|
|Origin||Ozone Park, Queens, New York City, United States|
|Genres||Pop, rock, new wave, dance, soul|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, producer, actress (film & stage)|
|Instruments||Vocals, Guitar, Dulcimer|
|Labels||Portrait, Epic, Daylight, Downtown|
|Associated acts||Blue Angel|
Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper (born June 22, 1953) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and LGBT rights activist whose career has spanned over four decades. Her debut solo album She's So Unusual (1983) was an instant commercial success. The album was the first debut female album to chart four top-five hits on the Billboard Hot 100—"Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "Time After Time," "She Bop," and "All Through the Night," earning Lauper the Best New Artist award at the 27th Grammy Awards in 1985. Her success continued with her second record, True Colors (1986), which included the number one hit of the same name, and "Change of Heart," which peaked at number 3 and earned Lauper two nominations at the 29th Grammy Awards in 1987.
Since 1989, Lauper has released nine studio albums to varying critical acclaim, and has participated in several other projects. Her most recent album, the Grammy-nominated Memphis Blues, became Billboard's most successful blues album of the year, remaining at number one on the "Billboard" blues charts for 13 consecutive weeks. In 2011, Lauper released an autobiography detailing her battle with child abuse and depression; the book became a New York Times Best Seller.
In 2013, Lauper completed writing both the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, which led the 2013 Tony Awards with 13 nominations and six awards including Best Musical. The musical also won Best Score, making Lauper the first woman to win the composing category solo. In 2013, she became the first artist in over 25 years to top the dance charts with a Broadway single. While in 2014 Lauper, as the producer, composer and lyricist was awarded the Grammy for best musical theater album for Kinky Boots. That same cast album spent 51 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart.
Over the course of her career, Lauper has released over 40 singles and (as of 2011) has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. She is featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum's Women Who Rock exhibit, which illustrates the important roles that women have played in rock and roll history. Lauper has won at the Grammy, Emmy, Tony, MTV VMA, Billboard, and AMA awards. In 1999, VH1 ranked Lauper No. 58 of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. Lauper is also one of only twenty artists to achieve "GET" status by winning competitive Grammy, Emmy, and Tony awards.
Lauper has been celebrated for her ongoing humanitarian work over the last 30 years, particularly as an advocate for gay and transgender rights in the U.S. Her charitable efforts were recognized in 2013, when the singer was invited as a special guest to attend President Barack Obama's second-term inaugural ceremony.
- 1 Life and career
- 1.1 1953–1971: Early life
- 1.2 1980–2: Blue Angel
- 1.3 1983–5: She's So Unusual
- 1.4 1986–8: True Colors / Vibes
- 1.5 1989–92: A Night to Remember
- 1.6 1993–95: Hat Full of Stars / Twelve Deadly Cyns
- 1.7 1996–2000: Sisters of Avalon
- 1.8 2001–04: Shine / At Last
- 1.9 2005–07: The Body Acoustic
- 1.10 2008–09: Bring Ya to the Brink
- 1.11 2010–present: The Celebrity Apprentice, Memphis Blues, Memoir, Kinky Boots and New Album in 2014
- 2 Activism
- 3 Musical legacy
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Discography
- 6 Tours
- 7 Filmography
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Life and career
1953–1971: Early life
Cyndi Lauper was raised in Ozone Park, Queens, in New York City. Her family is Roman Catholic. Her father was of German and Swiss descent, and her mother is Italian American (from Sicily). She has an older sister, Ellen, and a younger brother, Fred (nicknamed Butch). Lauper's parents divorced when she was five years old. Her mother subsequently remarried and divorced again.
As a child, Lauper listened to artists including Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Beatles. At age 12, she began writing her own songs and playing an acoustic guitar given to her by her sister. Even when she was young, Lauper expressed herself with a variety of different hair colors and radical fashions.
Lauper was accepted in a special public high school for students with talent in the visual arts, but eventually dropped out, and later earned her GED. At the age of 17, she left home, planning to study art. Her journey took her to Canada, where she spent two weeks in the woods with her dog Sparkle, trying to find herself. She eventually wound up in Vermont, where she took art classes at Johnson State College and supported herself by working odd jobs.
In the early 1970s, Lauper performed as a vocalist with various cover bands in the New York metropolitan area (such as Doc West and Flyer), singing hits by bands including Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, and Bad Company. Although Lauper was performing on stage, she was not happy singing cover songs. In 1972, Lauper damaged her vocal cords and took a year off. She was told by three doctors that she would never sing again, but regained her voice with the help of vocal coach Katie Agresta.
1980–2: Blue Angel
In 1978, Lauper met saxophone player John Turi through her manager Ted Rosenblatt. Turi and Lauper formed a band named Blue Angel and recorded a demo tape of original music. Steve Massarsky, manager of The Allman Brothers Band, heard the tape and liked Lauper's voice. He bought out Blue Angel's contract for $5,000 and became their manager.
Lauper got recording offers as a solo artist, but held out, wanting the band to be included in any deal she made. Blue Angel was eventually signed by Polydor Records and released a self-titled album on the label in 1980. Lauper hated the album cover, saying that it made her look like Big Bird, but Rolling Stone magazine later included it as one of the 100 best new wave album covers (2003). Despite critical acclaim, the album sold poorly (or "went lead," as Lauper says) and the band broke up. The members of Blue Angel had a falling out with Massarsky and fired him as their manager. He later filed an $80,000 suit against them, which forced Lauper into bankruptcy. Then, Lauper temporarily lost her voice due to an inverted cyst in her vocal cord.
After Blue Angel broke up and due to her financial problems, Lauper spent time working in retail stores and singing in local clubs. Her most frequent gigs were at El Sombrero. Music critics who saw Lauper perform with Blue Angel believed she had star potential due to he four-octave singing range, and a unique vocal style. In 1981, while singing in a local New York bar, Lauper met David Wolff, who took over as her manager (and, later, boyfriend) and got her signed with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of Epic Records.
1983–5: She's So Unusual
On October 14, 1983, Lauper released her first solo album, She's So Unusual. The album peaked at No. 4 in the US, and became a worldwide hit. The primary studio musicians were Rick Chertoff, Eric Bazilian, and Rob Hyman (of The Hooters), Richard Termini and Peter Wood . Lauper became popular with teenagers and critics, in part due to her hybrid punk image, crafted by stylist Patrick Lucas.
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Lauper was interested in writing her own songs, but the record company provided her material to record. Sometimes, when given a song, Lauper would change the lyrics. For example, she felt the original lyrics of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" were misogynistic, so she rewrote the song as an anthem.
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The album's second single, the ballad "Time After Time," was co-written by Lauper and Rob Hyman. "Time After Time" hit No. 1 on both Billboard's Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts, and earned Lauper RIAA Gold certification with 1984 sales of 500,000. The song has been covered by more than 100 artists.
The other Billboard Hot 100 singles on She's So Unusual were "She Bop" (No. 3), "All Through the Night" (No. 5), and "Steady" (No. 57). "Steady" was co-written by Lauper and Jules Shear.
Other songs on the album included a cover of The Brains' new wave track "Money Changes Everything" (No.27 on the Billboard Hot 100), and a cover of the Prince song "When You Were Mine." The album made Lauper the first female to have four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 Top Five hits from one album. The LP stayed in the Top 200 charts for more than 65 weeks, and since has sold 22 million copies worldwide.
Lauper won Best New Artist at the 1985 Grammy Awards. She's So Unusual also received nominations for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"), and Song of the Year (for "Time After Time"). It also won the Grammy for Best Album Package, which went to the art director, Janet Perr.
The video for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" won the inaugural award for Best Female Video at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, and made Lauper an MTV staple. The video featured professional wrestling manager "Captain" Lou Albano as Lauper's father, her real-life mother, Catrine, as her mother, and also featured her attorney, her manager, her brother Butch, and her dog Sparkle. In 1984-1985, Lauper appeared on the covers of Rolling Stone magazine, Time, and Newsweek. She appeared twice on the cover of People, and was named a Ms. magazine woman of the year in 1985.
Lauper appeared with professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, who played her "bodyguard." She later would make many appearances as herself in a number of the World Wrestling Federation's "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection" events, and played Wendi Richter's manager in the inaugural WrestleMania event. Dave Wolff, Lauper's boyfriend and manager at the time, was a wrestling fan as a boy, and engineered the rock and wrestling connection.
In 1985, Lauper released the single "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough," from the soundtrack to the movie The Goonies, and an accompanying video which featured several wrestling stars. The song reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
1986–8: True Colors / Vibes
Lauper released her second album, True Colors, on September 15, 1986. It reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and sold 2 million copies in the United States. Lauper increased her involvement both in production and songwriting on her second album, and she co-wrote most of the songs with Essra Mohawk, John Turi, Billy Steinberg, and Tom Kelly. Guests on the album included Angela Clemons-Patrick, Nile Rodgers, Aimee Mann, Billy Joel, Adrian Belew, The Bangles, Ellie Greenwich, and Rick Derringer.
True Colors was not as commercially successful as its She's So Unusual, but it did contain three high-charting singles, including the title track, "True Colors," which became Lauper's second song to hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100; "Change of Heart" (No. 3); and a cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" (No. 12). A fourth single from the album, "Boy Blue," did not reach the top-40, but the proceeds of that song were donated to AIDS research. The song "True Colors" (written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly) was licensed to Kodak for use in its commercials.
In 1986, Lauper appeared on the Billy Joel album The Bridge, with a song called "Code of Silence." She is credited as having written the lyrics with Joel and she sings it as a duet with him. In the same year, Lauper also sang the theme song for the series "Pee-wee's Playhouse," though she was credited as "Ellen Shaw." In 1987, David Wolff produced a concert film for Lauper called Cyndi: Live in Paris. The concert was broadcast on HBO.
Lauper made her film debut in August 1988 in the quirky comedy Vibes, alongside Jeff Goldblum, Julian Sands, Elizabeth Peña, and Peter Falk. Lauper played a psychic in search of a city of gold in South America. Ron Howard produced the film, with David Wolff as associate producer. To prepare for the role, Lauper took a few classes in finger waving and hair setting at the Robert Fiance School of Beauty in New York, and studied with a few Manhattan psychics. The film was poorly received by critics and flopped commercially.
Lauper contributed a track called "Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)" for the Vibes soundtrack, but the song was not included. A music video was released, which was a high energy, comic action/adventure romp through a Chinese laundry. The song stalled at a disappointing No. 54 on the US charts, but fared better in Australia, peaking at No. 8 and becoming her fifth and final Top 10 single in Australia. "Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)" was performed as the opening song on her 2008 Australian tour.
1989–92: A Night to Remember
A Night to Remember – Lauper's third album – was released in the spring of 1989. The album had only one hit, the No. 6 single "I Drove All Night." Lauper received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 1990 Grammy Awards for "I Drove All Night," but overall album sales for A Night to Remember were disappointing. The music video for the album's song "My First Night Without You" made history as one of the first to be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired.
On July 21, 1990, Lauper joined Roger Waters' and other artists performing "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II" as part of the concert The Wall in Berlin. As part of the concert, Lauper also performed "The Tide Is Turning" with Waters, Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams, Paul Carrack, and Van Morrison. Three hundred thousand people attended the concert and over five million people worldwide watched on live television.
Because of a friendship with Yoko Ono, Lauper took part in the May 1990 John Lennon tribute concert in Liverpool, performing the Beatles song "Hey Bulldog" and the John Lennon song "Working Class Hero." She also took part in a project Ono and Lennon's son Sean developed called "The Peace Choir," performing a new version of Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."
In 1991, Lauper married actor David Thornton.
1993–95: Hat Full of Stars / Twelve Deadly Cyns
Lauper's fourth album, Hat Full of Stars was released in June 1993 and was met with much critical acclaim. However, due to a lack of support from her record label, the project was not adequately promoted and was a sales failure. The album, which tackled such topics as homophobia, spousal abuse, racism, and abortion sold less than 120,000 copies in the United States and peaked at No. 112 on the Billboard charts, The video for the album's song "Sally's Pigeons" features the then-unknown Julia Stiles as the young Cyndi.
Lauper co-wrote several songs for the album with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ailee Willis, Nicky Holland, Tom Gray, Hugh Masekela, and The Hooters. That same year, Lauper recorded "Boys Will Be Boys" with The Hooters for their CD "Out of Body." The Hooters dedicated their song "Private Emotion" to her.
The greatest hits album, Twelve Deadly Cyns...and Then Some, was released outside of the US in 1994 and reached US audiences in summer of 1995. It included two re-recorded tracks, "I'm Gonna be Strong," originally recorded with Blue Angel, and a reworking of her first hit, newly christened "Hey Now (Girls Just Want to Have Fun)." Twelve Deadly Cyns sold over five million copies worldwide.
1996–2000: Sisters of Avalon
In 1997, Lauper announced that she was expecting a child. Declyn Wallace Thornton Lauper was born on November 17 of that year; he was named after Elvis Costello (whose first name is Declan) and William Wallace.
Her fifth album, Sisters of Avalon, was released in Japan in 1996 and elsewhere in 1997. The album was written and produced with the help of Jan Pulsford (Lauper's keyboard player) and producer Mark Saunders. As in Hat Full of Stars, some of the songs in Sisters of Avalon addressed dark themes. The song "Ballad of Cleo and Joe" addressed the complications of a drag queen's double life. The song "Say a Prayer" was written for a friend of hers who had died from AIDS. "Unhook the Stars" was used in the movie of the same name. Like Lauper's previous album, her record label did not support the alternative and controversial songs and with a lack of major promotion it failed in America, spending a single week on the Billboard album chart at No. 188. Despite the commercial failure, like her previous release the album was met with much critical praise including People magazine, which declared it “90s nourishment for body and soul. Lauper sets a scene, makes us care, gives us hope.”. The album was written and produced with the help of Jan Pulsford (Lauper's keyboard player) and producer Mark Saunders.
In November 1998, Lauper released the Christmas Album Merry Christmas...Have a Nice Life. The album contained both original material and standards, and was co-produced and mixed by William Wittman.
On January 17, 1999, Lauper appeared as an animated version of herself in The Simpsons episode "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken." In the episode, Lauper sings the National Anthem to the melody of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." In the same year, Lauper opened for Cher's Do You Believe? Tour alongside Wild Orchid. She also appeared in the films Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle and The Opportunists.
Lauper contributed a cover version of The Trammps's "Disco Inferno" to the soundtrack for the film A Night at the Roxbury. The song was also released as an EP and earned Lauper one nomination at the 1999 Grammy Awards for Best Dance Recording. In 2000, Lauper contributed the song "I Want a Mom That Will Last Forever" to the children's movie Rugrats in Paris. The song was written with Mark Mothersbaugh. In 2000, Lauper also co-wrote the song "If You Believe" with Faye Tozer of the British pop group Steps, for the band's third studio album, Buzz.
2001–04: Shine / At Last
In 2001, Lauper prepared a new album Shine. The album was a return to her early punk-rock sound and featured Japanese pop superstar Ryuichi Sakamoto, and George Fullan of Train. Just weeks before the album's scheduled release on September 11, 2001, her label (Edel America Records) folded. A five-song EP of Shine was released in June 2002, but the full-length album was released exclusively in Japan. An album of Shine remixes was eventually released through Tower Records.
On October 12, 2000, Lauper took part in the television show Women in Rock, Girls With Guitars performing with Ann Wilson of Heart and with the girl group, Destiny's Child. A CD of the songs performed was released exclusively to Sears stores from September 30 to October 31, 2001, and was marketed as a fundraiser for breast cancer. In late 2000 Lauper also took part in VH1 Divas Live with Patti LaBelle, Jessica Simpson, Debbie Harry, Ashanti, Sheila E., and the Pussycat Dolls.
In 2002, Sony issued a best-of CD, The Essential Cyndi Lauper. Lauper also released a cover album with Sony/Epic Records entitled At Last (formerly Naked City), which was released in 2003. At Last received one nomination at the 2005 Grammy Awards: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), for "Unchained Melody." The effort was also a commercial hit, selling 4.5 million records 
2005–07: The Body Acoustic
In 2005, under a new contract with Sony Music, Lauper released The Body Acoustic, an album that featured acoustic reinterpretations of tracks from her back catalog. The album also included two new tracks one of which was "Above the Clouds." Guest performers on the album included Shaggy, Ani DiFranco, Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday, Jeff Beck, Puffy AmiYumi, Sarah McLachlan, and Vivian Green. "Time After Time" with Sarah McLachlan charted on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.
While she wasn't making music, Lauper stayed busy. She made appearances on Showtime's hit show Queer As Folk in 2005, directed a commercial for Totally 80s edition of the board game Trivial Pursuit in 2006, served as a judge on the 6th Annual Independent Music Awards and made her Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated The Threepenny Opera as Jenny. She also performed with Shaggy, Scott Weiland of Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots, Pat Monahan of Train, Ani DiFranco, and The Hooters in the VH1 Classics special Decades Rock Live. In 2007, she sang "Beecharmer" with Nellie McKay on McKay's Pretty Little Head album, and "Letters To Michael" with Dionne Warwick.
2008–09: Bring Ya to the Brink
Lauper's sixth studio album, Bring Ya to the Brink was released in the United States on May 27, 2008. By the time of the album's US release, the single "Set Your Heart" already had significant airplay in Japan and Lauper had already begun an Australian tour with Katie Noonan and Kate Miller-Heidke. The album featured dance tracks written with artists including Axwell, The Scumfrog, Basement Jaxx, Digital Dog, Dragonette, Kleerup, and others. Bring Ya to the Brink received one Grammy nomination for Best Electronic/Dance Album and charted two #1 hits on the Billboard Dance Charts. "Set Your Heart" was used in the Japanese advertising campaign for the 2008 Toyota Car Model (MarkX ZIO).
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Other projects for 2008 included the 2008 True Colors Tour and a Christmas duet with Swedish band The Hives, entitled "A Christmas Duel." The song was released as a CD single and a 7" vinyl in Sweden. Lauper also performed on the "Girls Night Out", headlining it with Rosie O'Donnell in the US.
Lauper's TV appearances in 2009 included performing on the American soap opera As the World Turns, performing "Time After Time" as a duet with Allison Iraheta on the season 8 finale of American Idol, and appearing at the 2009 TV Land Awards on April 19 dressed as the "Empress of Evil" for a musical tribute to Sid Krofft and Marty Krofft. Lauper performed a duet with Leona Lewis on VH1 Divas on September 19, 2009, singing "True Colors," and performed a comedy skit with Eminem at the MTV VMA's in September 2009. She also played herself in 30 Rock's third season finale and appeared as Avalon Harmonia, a psychic, on the Season 5 premiere of Bones.
On November 17, 2009, Lauper performed a collaborative work with Wyclef Jean called "Slumdog Millionaire" and performed it live on the Late Show with David Letterman. The collaborative effort stems from Jean's latest album: Toussaint St. Jean: From the Hut, To the Projects, To the Mansion.
2010–present: The Celebrity Apprentice, Memphis Blues, Memoir, Kinky Boots and New Album in 2014
In January 2010, American toy company Mattel released a Cyndi Lauper Barbie doll as part of their "Ladies of the 80s" series.
In March 2010, Lauper appeared on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice, coming in sixth place. She donated her winnings to her own True Colors Fund. Lauper also performed a song from her upcoming album Memphis Blues in the show's live season finale.
Memphis Blues - Lauper's 7th studio album - was released on June 22, 2010 and debuted on the Billboard Blues Album Chart at No. 1, and at No. 26 on the Billboard Top 200. The album remained No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart for 14 consecutive weeks; Memphis Blues was nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Lauper made international news in March 2011 for giving an impromptu performance of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" while waiting for a delayed flight at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in Buenos Aires. A video of the performance was later posted on YouTube.
In November 2011, she released two Christmas singles exclusive to iTunes. The first release was a Blues-inspired cover of Elvis Presley's classic "Blue Christmas," and the second was a new version of "Home for the holidays," a duet with Norah Jones. In June 2012, Lauper made her first appearance for WWE in 27 years, to promote WWE Raw's 1000th episode, to promote her song "Echo", and to memorialize "Captain" Lou Albano.
Lauper composed music for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots with Harvey Fierstein. The musical, based on the 2006 independent film Kinky Boots, opened in Chicago in October 2012, and opened on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 4, 2013. In May, Lauper won for best score for Kinky Boots at the 63rd annual Outer Critics Circle Awards. The musical led the 2013 Tony Awards, with 13 nominations and a season high of six wins including Best Musical and Best Actor. Lauper won the award for Best Original Score. This award named Lauper as the first woman to win solo in this category.
In the summer of 2013, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of her debut album She's So Unusual, Lauper embarked on an international tour covering America and Australia. The show consisted of a mix of fan favorites and the entirety of the She's So Unusual record. She will also be a special guest performer on 36 dates of Cher's Dressed to Kill Tour, starting April 23, 2014. A new album has been confirmed by Lauper on a website interview, stating that she will be writing the music in 2014. However, no other details of the project have been confirmed.
Lauper has been an LGBT rights supporter throughout her career, campaigning for equality through various charities and gay pride events around the world for almost two decades. Lauper has stated that she became involved in gay rights advocacy because her sister Ellen was a lesbian, and because Lauper herself was passionate about equality. Lauper's sister Ellen was a role model, actively participating in charity work in the gay community, including working at a clinic for AIDS patients.
The title track of Lauper's second album, "True Colors," became an anthem of acceptance and inspiration, particularly for the gay community. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Lauper consistently performed at pride events throughout America.
Her album Hat Full of Stars contains lyrics that address the issue of homophobia and her song "Above the Clouds" celebrates the memory of Matthew Shepard, a young man beaten to death in Wyoming solely because he was gay. Lauper also wrote the music and lyrics for the Tony Award winning musical Kinky Boots, a show which addresses the problems of acceptance for drag queens. As a member of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Board, Lauper devoted a concert tour to promoting the Foundation's message of understanding and acceptance.
She co-founded True Colors Tour for Human Rights through the United States and Canada, in June 2007. The tour was sponsored by Logo, the MTV Networks channel targeting gay audiences. Fans who attended were give purple "Erase Hate" wristbands by the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The 2007 tour featured Lauper, Deborah Harry, Erasure, The Dresden Dolls, and Gossip, with Margaret Cho as MC and special guests in different cities. A dollar from every ticket sold was earmarked for the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
The True Colors Tour 2008 debuted on May 31, 2008. Joining Lauper at various venues were Rosie O'Donnell, The B-52's, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Cliks, Indigo Girls, Kat Deluna, Joan Armatrading, Regina Spektor, Tegan and Sara, Nona Hendryx, Deborah Cox, and Wanda Sykes, among others. The MC was Carson Kressley from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Sarah McLachlan was also featured at the Burnaby, British Columbia show.
In April 2010, Lauper's True Colors Fund launched the Give a Damn campaign to encourage straight people and the LGBT community to stand up together against discrimination of LGBT people, and to highlight the problems that LGBT students face in school from verbal and physical bullying and harassment as well as prejudice in the work place. Other celebrities associated with the campaign are Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Mraz, Elton John, Judith Light, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Kardashian, Clay Aiken, Ricky Martin, Sharon Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, and Anna Paquin.
Lauper also became a very powerful advocate for the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which sought to include assault based solely on an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity as a hate crime. In 2009 Lauper was present in the White House when President Barack Obama signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.
In 2012 Lauper started the Forty to None Project after learning that although only 10% of American youth identify themselves as LBGT, up to 40% of the homeless youth in America are LGBT. Lauper's project also raised awareness of the problems of LGBT homeless youth by informing the public that LGBT youth are more likely to be sexually victimized than straight homeless youth—and three times as many LGBT homeless youth commit suicide. To tackle this problem, Lauper set up the True Colors Residence in New York City, which is open for LGBT homeless youth. The 40-bed facility offers temporary shelter and aid for homeless LGBT youth as well as permanent housing, along with job placement help.
Lauper's performances at gay pride events include the closing ceremonies for the 1994 Gay Games IV in New York City). On June 24, 2012, Lauper appeared as a Grand Marshall for the annual Gay Pride Parade in New York City.
Lauper's activism is not limited to LGBT activities. In August 2008, she contributed an article titled "Hope" to The Huffington Post, encouraging Americans to vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming United States presidential election. Lauper performed alongside Thelma Houston, Melissa Etheridge, and Rufus Wainwright at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Lauper was also one of the celebrities who designed a T-shirt for the second Fashion Against AIDS campaign in 2009, a collaboration between H&M and Designers Against AIDS to raise HIV/AIDS awareness worldwide, particularly amongst young people.
As one of the earliest female icons to harness MTV's influence and with a pop career spanning over thirty years, Lauper's influence can be seen in multiple recording artists including Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Indie.Arie, Jewel, Jill Scott, Joan Osborne, Kasey Chambers, Maximum Balloon, No Doubt, P!nk, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Sophie B. Hawkins and Vanessa Paradis, as well as Kelly Clarkson, Atomic Kitten, Lady Gaga, Little Boots and Yelle. Katy Perry has stated that Lauper was her 'idol' growing up.
Stephen Thomas Erlewin of Spotify notes that the singer's debut solo album and distinctive idiosyncratic appearance "helped popularize the image of punk and new wave for America, making it an acceptable part of the pop landscape". As Rolling Stone states, Lauper's debut was "arguably the first time explicitly punk-influenced elements were front-and-center on the pop landscape, both musically and via Lauper's Patrick Lucas-styled ensembles, dressing up the droll Reagan decade in feminist chutzpah." The album ranked at #487 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003. The album ranked at #41 on Rolling Stone's list of Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012. In reviewing the album in his 1984 Rolling Stone review, Kurt Loder wrote, "A wild and wonderful skyrocket of a voice… Lauper's extraordinary pipes connect with the right material, the results sound like the beginning of a whole new golden age." Thirty years after its initial release, the album was praised for standing the test of time, being noted as 'everlasting' and a 'once in a lifetime album'. The record has gone on to influence generations of boundary-pushing musicians since its release, evident in everything from the ska-infused punk of No Doubt, the attitude of P!nk, the infectious pop of Katy Perry, the fluorescent personality of Nicki Minaj and, of course, in Lady Gaga's fashion.
Her iconic cover and re-arrangement of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" established her as a 'a feminist idol'. Sheila Moeschen of the Huffington Post argues that the song 'embodied a different kind of feminine aesthetic that ran counter to the raw sensuality and edginess of her contemporaries like Madonna or veteran rockers Joan Jett and Pat Benatar' that introduced 'a nation of women to a new kind of female role model, one that celebrated difference and encouraged playfulness in self-expression'. John Rockwell, the New York Times music critic, wrote that the song was “a giddily upbeat attestation to female pleasure that simultaneously made a feminist statement, fulfilled male fantasies and—especially in its often-played video version—evoked the warmth of family and friends.”. The video for “Girls”, which won the first-ever Best Female Video prize at the 1984 VMAs, featured a multicultural cast of Lauperized women—teased, sideways hair, neon eye shadow, et al.—singing the hook alongside the star. The video is widely noted for being one of the first to feature women of multiple races; the result was a song and video that caught the attention of the mainstream by defying it. Her role as a musical feminist has also been celebrated in her record breaking musical achievements for women including being the first woman to have four Top 5 hits from a debut album, being the first woman to win the composing category solo during the 2013 Tony Awards as well as being one of only four women in the history of American entertainment to have won a competitive Grammy, Emmy and Tony award.
Lauper's song "Time after Time" has been covered by over 100 artists and was ranked at #22 on Rolling Stone's 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years and at #19 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s and in 2008 was given the BMI Millionaire Award for 5 Million Spins on US radio.
Her song "True Colors" is recognized by many as an LGBT anthem and due to her continued involvement with charities such as Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG and the Matthew Shepherd Foundation as well as her many projects that have highlighted LGBT issues such as Kinky Boots and songs like "The Ballad of Cleo and Joe", Lauper is now recognized as a gay icon.
- She's So Unusual (1983)
- True Colors (1986)
- A Night to Remember (1989)
- Hat Full of Stars (1993)
- Sisters of Avalon (1996)
- Merry Christmas... Have a Nice Life (1998)
- At Last (2003)
- Shine (2004)
- Bring Ya to the Brink (2008)
- Memphis Blues (2010)
- Fun Tour (1983–84)
- True Colors World Tour (1986–87)
- A Night to Remember World Tour (1989)
- Hat Full of Stars Tour (1993–94)
- Twelve Deadly Cyns World Tour (1994–95)
- Sisters of Avalon Tour (1996–97)
- Shine Tour (2000–01)
- At Last Tour (2003–04)
- The Body Acoustic Tour (2005–06)
- Bring Ya to the Brink Tour (2008)
- Memphis Blues Tour (2010–11)
- She's So Unusual: 30th Anniversary Tour (2013)
- American Music Awards Concert Series (1991)
- True Colors (2007, 2008)
- Opening act
- Special Guest
- Dressed to Kill Tour (2014)
|2000||Matters of the Heart||Herself||Broadway concert|
|2006||The Threepenny Opera||Jenny (Ginny Jenny/Low-Dive Jenny)||Broadway musical|
|2013||Kinky Boots||Broadway musical (writer)|
|1990||Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme||Mary (Had a Little Lamb)||TV movie|
|The Wall – Live in Berlin||Young Pink||TV movie|
|1993–1999||Mad About You||Marianne Lugasso||4 episodes|
|1999||Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child||Pidge (voice)||1 episode: "The Happy Prince"|
|The Simpsons||Herself (voice)||1 episode: "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken"|
|The Happy Prince||Pidge||TV movie|
|2004||Higglytown Heroes||Operator Hero (voice)||1 episode: "Smooth Operator/Stinky Situation"|
|2005||That's So Raven||Ms. Petuto||1 episode: "Art Breaker"|
|Queer as Folk||Herself||1 episode: "I Love You"|
|2007||The Backyardigans||1 episode: "International Super Spy"|
|2008||Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List||Herself||1 episode: "Fly the Super Gay Skies"|
|Gossip Girl||Herself||1 episode: "Bonfire of the Vanity"|
|2009||30 Rock||Herself||1 episode: "Kidney Now!"|
|The Apprentice: The Celebrity Apprentice 3||Herself/Contestant||Season 3|
|Bones||Avalon Harmonia||Harbingers in a Fountain (2009)
The Ghost in the Machine (2012)
The Woman in White (2013)
|2012||Bob's Burgers||Performer (voice)||1 episode: "The Belchies"|
|Happily Divorced||Kiki||1 episode: "Follow the Leader"|
|2013||Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual||Herself||12 episodes (executive producer)|
|1985||Girls Just Want to Have Fun||Woman in Diner||Uncredited|
|1991||Off and Running||Cyd Morse|
|1993||Life with Mikey||Geena Briganti|
|1994||Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle||Picnic Guest||Uncredited|
|1996||Sesame Street Elmocize||Twyla||Cameo|
|2000||The Opportunists||Sally Mahon|
|2005||The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie||Herself||Cameo|
|2009||Here and There||Rose|
|2011||Dirty Movie||Little Johnny's Mom|
|2013||Henry & Me||Nurse Cyndi (voice)||Post-production|
|The Last Beat||Bebe Markham||Pre-production|
Awards and nominations
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known informally as the Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. Lauper is the first woman to win a Tony solo for Best Score.
|2013||Kinky Boots||Best Original Score||Won|
|1985||Cyndi Lauper||Best New Artist||Won|
|She's So Unusual||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|"Time After Time"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"||Record of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Female Pop Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|1986||"What A Thrill"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|1987||"True Colors"||Best Female Pop Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|"911"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|1988||"Cyndi Lauper in Paris"||Best Performance Music Video||Nominated|
|1990||"I Drove All Night"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|1999||"Disco Inferno"||Best Dance Recording||Nominated|
|2005||"Unchained Melody"||Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)||Nominated|
|2009||Bring Ya To The Brink||Best Electronic/Dance Album||Nominated|
|2011||Memphis Blues||Best Traditional Blues Album||Nominated|
|2014||Kinky Boots||Best Musical Theater Album||Won|
- She's So Unusual won the Grammy for Best Album Package. This Grammy was awarded to the art director Janet Perr and not to Cyndi Lauper.
- Cyndi Lauper was one of the various artists on the "We are the World" single which won four Grammys; however, none went to Lauper.
- Lauper received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), as she was one of the three arrangers along with Steve Gaboury and Don Sebesky.
MTV Video Music Award
The MTV Video Music Awards were established in 1984 by MTV to celebrate the top music videos of the year. Lauper won three award from 16 nominations, being the first win in the category Best Female Video.
|1984||"Girls Just Want to Have Fun"||Video of the Year||Nominated|
|Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Best Female Video||Won|
|Best Concept Video||Nominated|
|Best Overall Performance||Nominated|
|"Time After Time"||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Best Female Video||Nominated|
|1985||"We Are the World"||Video of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Group Video||Won|
|Best Overall Performance||Nominated|
|"She Bop"||Best Female Video||Nominated|
|1987||"True Colors"||Best Female Video||Nominated|
|"What's Going On"||Best Cinematography||Nominated|
|1993||Rolling Stone||The 100 Top Music Videos||"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"||No. 22|
|1999||VH1||100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll||Cyndi Lauper||No. 58|
|MTV||100 Greatest Videos Ever Made||"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"||No. 39|
|Rolling Stone||100 Best Albums of the '80s||She's So Unusual||No. 75|
|2000||Rolling Stone||100 Greatest Pop Songs||"Time After Time"||No. 66|
|2001||VH1||100 Greatest Videos||"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"||No. 45|
|2002||Rolling Stone||50 Essential "Women In Rock" Albums||She's So Unusual||No. 41|
|2003||VH1||100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years||"Time After Time"||No. 22|
|Rolling Stone||The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time||She's So Unusual||No. 494|
|2006||VH1||100 Greatest Songs of the 80's||"Time After Time"||No. 19|
|"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"||No. 23|
- List of artists who reached number one in the United States
- List of awards and nominations received by Cyndi Lauper
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of number-one hits (United States)
- "Cyndi Lauper Biography (1953-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- Cyndi Lauper's gay rights, charity, non-profit arm is at truecolorsfund.org (see special message from Cyndi Lauper)
- [dead link]
- "The Tony Award Nominees". Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Ward, Bruce (2014-01-26). "Cyndi: Rockinâ€™ red to â€œlift people upâ€?". Ottawacitizen.com. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
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- "BBC Music Showcase". BBC.com. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- Morrison, Shelby (2013-04-15). "30 Years Later: Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual" | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Rockhall.com. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
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- Daunt, Tina. "Cyndi Lauper, Ben Folds, Others Join Lineup for Obama's Inaugural". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Hoffman, Jan. "PUBLIC LIVES; She Just Wanted to Have Fun. And She's Having It", The New York Times, December 31, 2003. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
- "Cyndi Lauper – and Lou Reed.". Archived from the original on April 15, 2009.
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- McDonnell, Evelyn (December 1, 2003). "Cyndi Lauper: two decades after blazing the way for a generation of female pop singers, the original day-glo diva is reigniting her career with a collection of songs as colorful as she is.(Interview)". Brant Publications, Inc.
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- Jerome, Jim. "She Wants to Have Fun", People, September 17, 1984. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
- Rourke, Mary (1985-02-08). "Capturing Head-to-Toe Look of the '80s". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
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- Paglia, Camille (Dec 14, 1990). "Madonna -- Finally, a Real Feminist". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
- Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-06-001258-8.
- "Videos Closed-captioned - Sun Sentinel". Articles.sun-sentinel.com. 1989-08-10. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Liverpool - Beatles - Lennon remembered". BBC. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Peace Choir Give Peace a Chance". YouTube. 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "– quote: "... Hat Full of Stars ... The record stiffed, peaking at 112". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Cyndi Lauper | Television Academy". Emmys.com. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- Shafrir, Doree. Cyn City, Radar Online, November 17, 2005. Retrieved August 19, 2008.
- "Cyndi Lauper | Front & Center". Frontandcenter.com. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "BIOGRAPHY: Cyndi Lauper Lifetime". Thebiographychannel.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Long Island Music Hall of Fame | Preserving & Celebrating the Long Island musical heritage". Limusichalloffame.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Sverigetopplistan – Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Sverigetopplistan.se. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Tour: Summer 2009: Girls Night Out Tour with Rosie O'Donnell". Cyndi Lauper. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Wyclef Jean & Cyndi Lauper To Perform On David Letterman". Retrieved 2009-11-17.
- "‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ Recap: Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Catch Up With Her". Newsroom.mtv.com. 2010-05-10. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Celebrity Apprentice FINAL ( Cyndi Lauper,Donald Trump,Holly,Bret Michaels )". YouTube. 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Cyndi Lauper Cheers Stuck Travelers in Argentina – ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Watch Cyndi Laupers impromptu airport performance of girls just wanna have fun". Time. March 8, 2011.
- Leung, Mariana (2012-09-12). "Betsey Johnson and Cyndi Lauper - NY Fashion Week fashion design, indie clothing, style, beauty". Ms. Fabulous. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- Entertainment Weekly, May 18, 2012
- "Kinky Boots – Official Broadway Site". Kinkybootsthemusical.com. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- [dead link]
- "Cyndi Lauper wins Tony for Best Original Score". UPI. 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
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- "Official Website | Cher Confirms Cyndi Lauper As Special Guest On Her Upcoming Dressed To Kill Tour. On Wwhl With Andy Cohen". Cher. 2014-01-29. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
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- "Matthew Shepard Foundation: Home Page". Matthewshepard.org. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Lauper, Others Headline Gay Rights Tour". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
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- "Cyndi Lauper Releases Lost Track from Iconic She's So Unusual for 30th Anniversary Album | Out Magazine". Out.com. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
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- Green, Emma (2014-04-01). "The Feisty Feminism of 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun,' 30 Years Later - Emma Green". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Feminist History In Song: Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’". The Sexy Feminist. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "VH1: 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years: 1-50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "VH1: 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's: 1-50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "Gay Iconography: Cyndi Lauper Is A Not-So-Unusual Choice| Gay News". Towleroad. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- Barron, James; Phoebe Hoban (January 28, 1998). "PUBLIC LIVES; In Their Words". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
- "CNN.com - Transcripts". Transcripts.cnn.com. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
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- "Rolling Stone: "The 100 Top Music Videos" (1993)". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "MTV: 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Collectorsroom: Rolling Stone e os 100 melhores discos dos anos 80!". Collectorsroom.blogspot.com. 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Rolling Stone & MTV: 100 Greatest Pop Songs: 1–50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "VH1: 100 Greatest Videos". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Rolling Stone: The 50 Essential 'Woman In Rock' Albums". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "VH1: 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years: 1–50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Rolling Stone: The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (1–100)". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "VH1: 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's: 1–50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Cyndi Lauper|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cyndi Lauper.|
- Official website
- "Cyndi Lauper" the song, by Mat Shearer
- Cyndi Lauper Fansite
- Paul Burston, Cyndi Lauper is Back, and the Girl still wants to Have Fun (interview), The Times, August 2, 2008
- Cyndi Lauper at the Internet Broadway Database
- Cyndi Lauper at the Internet Movie Database
- NYTimes feature, 2010
|Awards and achievements|
|Grammy Award for Best New Artist
|Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series