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Interview: Cyndi Lauper

7 min read

Cyndi Lauper has, over the past 3 decades, evolved as one of music’s most iconic and celebrated figures. With her powerful vocal range and eccentric persona, she has released some of music’s most recognizable pop anthems and love songs.

CynsiLauperShesSoUnusualFrom timeless ballads that include Time After Time, All Through The Night and True Colors through to saucy up-tempo gems like She Bop and the superstars era-defining anthem and signature hit, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper has proven that she is every bit for the quantity as she is for the quality of her musical offerings.

Music isn’t the only thing Cyndi Lauper has become known for over the last 30 years. She has appeared in numerous films and TV shows, has offered us a New York Times Best Seller in the form of last years A Memoir, composed music for the new Broadway hit, Kinky Boots and helped spread acceptance and awareness of the global LGBT community, becoming one of the biggest supporters and voices of the community.

As the superstar welcomes in the 30th Anniversary of her phenomenal 16 million selling, Grammy Award winning debut album, She’s So Unusual, a tour in support of the milestone anniversary has been announced which will send Cyndi around the world, performing the iconic album in its entirety, beginning in the US as well as dates in Australia throughout 2013. Ahead of the tour we got to speak with Cyndi to talk about the upcoming tour and her lengthy career as a musical icon. Here is what she had to tell us:

Brendon Veevers: How are you Cyndi?

Cyndi Lauper: Fabulous, Thank you.

BV: 2013 marks a very important milestone for you and your debut album, She’s So Unusual with the albums 30th Anniversary. What are your feelings on reaching such a milestone?

CL: 13 is my lucky number and so far 2013 has been an amazing year!  I’m happy that 2013 also marks the 30th Anniversary of my solo career. It’s all coming together.

BV: What are your fondest memories of recording the album back in 1983?

CL: Wow…there were so many. You have a week? LOL. It was an amazing journey. Everyone who worked on the album were all so committed to making the best record we could and we had so much fun doing in – Rob Hyman, Bill Wittman, Lenny Peze and Rick Chertoff and I are still really good friends.  When you start a friendship with that kind of experience you are attached for life.

BV: Did you have a feeling, when recording the album, that it would become such an iconic and era-defining collection as it is regarded today?

CL: We felt pretty good about the record.  We really loved it and were hoping it would be received well but don’t think any of us were prepared to how well it did. It was awesome.

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BV: You have recently announced a string of dates to take the record back out on the road, starting here in San Diego. Why have you chosen San Diego to be the lucky city where you kick off the tour?

CL: I love San Diego. Just can’t wait to be back to party with you all. Get your dancing shoes on San Diego! It is going to be a party. I also have Hunter Valentine on the road with me and I’m excited to have them on the road with us.

BV: Will the set list for the shows consist of songs just from She’s So Unusual or will you throw in some other songs from your career?

CL: We will be doing the entire She’s So Unusual album from beginning to end in their original arrangements too. The encore – I will have a few surprises for you but you have to come to find out!!!

BV: What are you most looking forward to about the She’s So Unusual 30th Anniversary Tour?

CL: To be able to party with all my fans again! To see them enjoy the songs that I did 30 years ago and to see them enjoy them again 30 years later. They have come along with me on every adventure – from the acoustic to the dance to the blues and back again. I have the most amazing fans ever.

BV: We have recently read your autobiography, Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir. We were amazed at the journey you experienced in the lead up to your international success with She’s So Unusual. What was it like revisiting all of the moments that have paved the way for your career and all of the experiences that followed?

Photo: Miranda Penn Turin
Photo: Miranda Penn Turin

CL: To be doing what I love every day. I can’t imagine not singing, writing and producing. I cannot imagine not doing music. But the most rewarding thing for me and for what I am most grateful is my family.

BV: As someone who has been successful for over 30 years, what do you think is the secret to longevity?

CL: Stick to your guns and believe in yourself. Don’t let others tell you who they think you are.

BV: You are one of the most prominent entertainment figures to support and push for the equal rights of the international LGBT community. An ongoing debate is the Marriage Equality act and allowing same sex couples the right to marry in all states within the US. Do you believe change is on the horizon?

CL: Yes, change is definite. The majority of Americans now support the freedom to marry for gay couples, as it should be. A big part of this change is because people are sharing their stories, they are letting their family and friends know how not being able to get married is impacting their lives. And, then those family and friends are sharing the story with the people in their lives. It is a chain reaction, but we need more people to spark the continuing conversation. If that happens, equality will be a reality that much sooner.

BV: How do you think we can achieve a universal acceptance and understanding of the LGBT community and the need for equal rights for the LGBT community?

CL: Stay strong, speak up when you see injustice occurring. People ask me why I am so involved in helping the gay and transgender community, it is simple – I am family and friend. And, from where I come from you do not sit back and watch as your family and friends’ civil rights are being stripped away. More people need to get involved, share their stories, stand up for the people in their lives who are getting discriminated against. It has been a trend that has been happening for a while now and if we build upon our success, watch out because change is gonna come much

BV: What other LGBT issues do you think still need to be addressed and how do you think we can achieve this and make a change?

CL: Gay and transgender youth homelessness. Most people do not realize that up to 40% of all homeless youth identify as gay or transgender, yet only 5% of the general youth population does the same. The most cited reason for this big disparity is family rejection. Parents are throwing their kids out at an alarming rate. That is why last year the True Colors Fund started the Forty to None Project, the first and only national organization to solely focus on ending LGBT youth homelessness. I encourage everyone to check out our website at to learn how you can get involved and make a difference.

BV: What led you into the world of philanthropy and supporting the global LGBT community?

CL: Like I said, I am friend and family. You support the people you care about in your life, especially when they need your help. Also, I have been very fortunate to have many gay and transgender fans over the past 30 years, they stood by me through thick and thin and I hope I have done the same.

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BV: We were given a glimpse into your hectic life in your TV series, She’s Still So Unusual on the WE Network. What was it like having the cameras following your every move and what was the appeal of doing a reality show for you?

CL: I thought it would be fun for my fans to see how my projects came to life.  Also, most importantly, how I did my best to be a good mother/wife/daughter/sister at the same time.  The struggle of the juggle that everyone has when they try to balance career/family

BV: You composed the music to the new Broadway show, Kinky Boots. How did you get involved with that?

CL: Harvey Fierstein called and asked me. It was just that simple. What a honor to work on a musical with Broadway royalty and also a friend too. What more can a girl ask for?

BV: Are there any plans to record and release a new record in near future?

CL: In fact I am planning something right now but nothing I am can announce just yet. Don’t want to spoil anything until I have something solid.

BV: Thanks for your time Cyndi and we look forward to seeing you on tour later this year

CL: Thanks Brendon