Cyndi Lauper

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Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper at An Evening With Women event.jpg
Cyndi Lauper at An Evening with Women Event, May 2008
Background information
Birth nameCynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper
Born(1953-06-22) June 22, 1953 (age 60)
OriginOzone Park, Queens, New York City, U.S.
GenresPop, rock, New Wave, dance, soul
OccupationsMusician, songwriter, producer, actress (film & stage)
InstrumentsVocals, Guitar, Dulcimer
Years active1977–present
LabelsPortrait, Epic, Daylight, Downtown
Associated actsBlue Angel
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Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper at An Evening With Women event.jpg
Cyndi Lauper at An Evening with Women Event, May 2008
Background information
Birth nameCynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper
Born(1953-06-22) June 22, 1953 (age 60)
OriginOzone Park, Queens, New York City, U.S.
GenresPop, rock, New Wave, dance, soul
OccupationsMusician, songwriter, producer, actress (film & stage)
InstrumentsVocals, Guitar, Dulcimer
Years active1977–present
LabelsPortrait, Epic, Daylight, Downtown
Associated actsBlue Angel

Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper[1] (born June 22, 1953)[1] is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and LGBT rights activist whose career has spanned over four decades.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] In 2013, she became the first artist in over 25 years to top the dance charts with a Broadway single.

Over the course of her career, Lauper has released over 40 singles and (as of 2011) has sold more than 50 million records worldwide.[5][6] 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.[7] Lauper has won Grammy, Emmy, Tony, MTV VMA, Billboard, and AMA awards. In 1999, VH1 ranked Lauper No. 58 of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll.[8] 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 thirty 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.[9]

Life and career[edit]

1953–71: Early life[edit]

Cyndi Lauper was raised in Ozone Park, Queens, in New York City.[10] 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).[11] Lauper's parents divorced when she was five years old.[12] 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 twelve, she began writing her own songs and playing an acoustic guitar given to her by her sister.[13] Even when she was young, Lauper expressed herself by dyeing her hair different colors and wearing 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 seventeen, 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.[14]

1980–82: Blue Angel[edit]

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.[15]

After Blue Angel broke up, 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 thought that she had star potential since she had a four-octave singing range,[16] perfect pitch,[citation needed] 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 would later become romantically involved with her) and got her signed with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of Epic Records.

1983–85: She's So Unusual[edit]

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). Lauper became popular with teenagers and critics, in part due to her hybrid punk image, crafted by stylist Patrick Lucas.[17]

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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.[18]

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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),[citation needed] 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,[citation needed] and also featured her attorney, her manager, her brother Butch, and her dog Sparkle.[citation needed] 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.[19]

In 1985, Lauper participated in USA for Africa's famine-relief fund-raising single "We Are the World," singing a climactic soprano part in the bridge.

Lauper appeared with professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, who played her "bodyguard."[citation needed] 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 the inaugural WrestleMania event.[20] Dave Wolff, Lauper's boyfriend and manager at the time, was a wrestling fan as a boy, and engineered the rock and wrestling connection.[citation needed]

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.

1986–88: True Colors / Vibes[edit]

Lauper received two nominations at the 1986 Grammy Awards: Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "What a Thrill" and Best Long Form Music Video for Cyndi: Live in Paris.

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 co-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.[citation needed]

1989–92: A Night to Remember[edit]

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.[21]

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."[22] She also took part in a project Ono and Lennon developed called "The Peace Choir," performing a new version of Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance." She reworked "Give Peace a Chance" by Ono and Lennon's son Sean.[23]

1993–95: Hat Full of Stars / Twelve Deadly Cyns[edit]

Lauper's fourth album, Hat Full of Stars was released in June 1993 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,[24] 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.[citation needed]

In 1993, Lauper returned to acting, playing Michael J. Fox's ditzy secretary in Life with Mikey. She also won an Emmy Award[25] for her role as Marianne on the sitcom Mad About You.

1996–2000: Sisters of Avalon[edit]

Lauper performing in 2000

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.[26]

Her fifth album, Sisters of Avalon, was released in Japan in 1996 and elsewhere in 1997. It failed in America, spending a single week on the Billboard album chart at No. 188. 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.

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.[citation needed] 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[edit]

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."

2005–07: The Body Acoustic[edit]

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.

On October 16, 2006, Lauper was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.[27]

2008–09: Bring Ya to the Brink[edit]

Cyndi Lauper performing in 2008

In 2009, Lauper took a role and wrote a song for the Serbian movie Here and There, which stars her husband, David Thornton, in one of the main roles.

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. "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.[28] Lauper also performed on the "Girls Night Out", headlining it with Rosie O'Donnell in the US.[29]

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.[30] 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[edit]

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.[31] 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.[32]

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.[33][34]

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.[citation needed]

In September 2012, she performed at fashion designer Betsey Johnson's 40 year Retrospective Fashion show. [35]

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,[36] and opened on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 4, 2013.[37] In May, Lauper won for best score for Kinky Boots at the 63rd annual Outer Critics Circle Awards.[38] 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.[39] This award named Lauper as the first woman to win solo in this category.[40]

In the summer of 2013, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of her debut album She's So Unusual, Lauper will embark on an international tour covering America and Australia. The show will consist 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.[41] A new album has been confirmed by Lauper on a website interview,[42] stating that she will be writing the music in 2014. However, no other details of the project have been confirmed.


Lauper performing at the Gay Games VII, Wrigley Field, July 22, 2006

Lauper has been a LGBT rights supporter throughout her career, actively 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.[43] 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.[44]

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).[citation needed] On June 24, 2012, Lauper appeared as a Grand Marshall for the annual Gay Pride Parade in New York City.[45]

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.[46] 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.

Personal life[edit]

Lauper has been married to David Thornton since 1991. They have one son, Declyn Wallace Thornton (born 1997).[47]

Lauper was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic school. She refers to herself as a "Recovering Catholic".[48]



Opening act
Guest performer


List of theatre, television and film credits
2000Matters of the Heart[disambiguation needed]HerselfBroadway concert
2006The Threepenny OperaJenny (Ginny Jenny/Low-Dive Jenny)Broadway musical
2013Kinky BootsBroadway musical (writer)
1990Mother Goose Rock 'n' RhymeMary (Had a Little Lamb)TV movie
The Wall – Live in BerlinYoung PinkTV movie
1993–1999Mad About YouMarianne Lugasso4 episodes
1999Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every ChildPidge (voice)1 episode: "The Happy Prince"
The SimpsonsHerself (voice)1 episode: "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken"
The Happy PrincePidgeTV movie
2004Higglytown HeroesOperator Hero (voice)1 episode: "Smooth Operator/Stinky Situation"
2005That's So RavenMs. Petuto1 episode: "Art Breaker"
Queer as FolkHerself1 episode: "I Love You"
2007The Backyardigans1 episode: "International Super Spy"
2008Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-ListHerself1 episode: "Fly the Super Gay Skies"
Gossip GirlHerself1 episode: "Bonfire of the Vanity"
200930 RockHerself1 episode: "Kidney Now!"
The Apprentice: The Celebrity Apprentice 3Herself/ContestantSeason 3
BonesAvalon HarmoniaHarbingers in a Fountain (2009)
The Ghost in the Machine (2012)
The Woman in White (2013)
2012Bob's BurgersPerformer (voice)1 episode: "The Belchies"
Happily DivorcedKiki1 episode: "Follow the Leader"
2013Cyndi Lauper: Still So UnusualHerself12 episodes (executive producer)
1984Prime CutsHerselfCameo
1985Girls Just Want to Have FunWoman in DinerUncredited
1988VibesSylvia Pickel
1991Off and RunningCyd Morse
1993Life with MikeyGeena Briganti
1994Mrs. Parker and the Vicious CirclePicnic GuestUncredited
1996Sesame Street ElmocizeHerselfCameo
2000The OpportunistsSally Mahon
Christmas DreamCameo
2005The Naked Brothers Band: The MovieHerselfCameo
2009Here and ThereRose
2011Dirty MovieLittle Johnny's Mom
2013Henry & MeNurse Cyndi (voice)Post-production
The Last BeatBebe MarkhamPre-production
Section BBettyPre-production

Awards and nominations[edit]

Tony Awards[edit]

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.[49]

2013Kinky BootsBest Original ScoreWon

Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Lauper has won two awards from 15 nominations.

1985Cyndi LauperBest New ArtistWon
She's So UnusualAlbum of the YearNominated
"Time After Time"Song of the YearNominated
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"Record of the YearNominated
Best Female Pop Vocal PerformanceNominated
1986"What A Thrill"Best Female Rock Vocal PerformanceNominated
1987"True Colors"Best Female Pop Vocal PerformanceNominated
"911"Best Female Rock Vocal PerformanceNominated
1988"Cyndi Lauper in Paris"Best Performance Music VideoNominated
1990"I Drove All Night"Best Female Rock Vocal PerformanceNominated
1999"Disco Inferno"Best Dance RecordingNominated
2005"Unchained Melody"Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)Nominated
2009Bring Ya To The BrinkBest Electronic/Dance AlbumNominated
2011Memphis BluesBest Traditional Blues AlbumNominated
2014Kinky BootsBest Musical Theater AlbumWon

MTV Video Music Award[edit]

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 YearNominated
Best New ArtistNominated
Best Female VideoWon
Best Concept VideoNominated
Viewer's ChoiceNominated
Best Overall PerformanceNominated
"Time After Time"Best New ArtistNominated
Best Female VideoNominated
Best DirectionNominated
1985"We Are the World"Video of the YearNominated
Best Group VideoWon
Viewer's ChoiceWon
Best Overall PerformanceNominated
"She Bop"Best Female VideoNominated
1987"True Colors"Best Female VideoNominated
"What's Going On"Best CinematographyNominated

Other recognitions[edit]

1993Rolling StoneThe 100 Top Music Videos[50]"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"No. 22
1999VH1100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll[8]Cyndi LauperNo. 58
MTV100 Greatest Videos Ever Made[51]"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"No. 39
Rolling Stone100 Best Albums of the '80s[52]She's So UnusualNo. 75
2000Rolling Stone100 Greatest Pop Songs[53]"Time After Time"No. 66
2001VH1100 Greatest Videos[54]"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"No. 45
2002Rolling Stone50 Essential "Women In Rock" Albums[55]She's So UnusualNo. 41
2003VH1100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years[56]"Time After Time"No. 22
Rolling StoneThe 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[57]She's So UnusualNo. 494
2006VH1100 Greatest Songs of the 80's[58]"Time After Time"No. 19
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"No. 23

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cyndi Lauper Biography (1953–) Film
  2. ^ Cyndi Lauper's gay rights, charity, non-profit arm is at (see special message from Cyndi Lauper)
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Tony Award Nominees". Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Cyndi Lauper Tickets – Buy Online". Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  6. ^ "BBC Music Showcase". Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  7. ^ 30 Years Later: Cyndi Lauper's "She's So Unusual" | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
  8. ^ a b "VH1: 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  9. ^ Obama's Inauguration Adds Cyndi Lauper, Ben Folds
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Cyndi Lauper – and Lou Reed.". Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. 
  12. ^ Cyndi Lauper Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story -
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Cyndi Lauper Website- Bio Page
  15. ^ "Cyndi Lauper". MTV. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  16. ^ Jerome, Jim. "She Wants to Have Fun", People, September 17, 1984. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  17. ^ Rourke, Mary (1985-02-08). "Capturing Head-to-Toe Look of the '80s". Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  18. ^ Priya Elan (2008-09-27). "Music: Priya Elan pays tribute to the man who wrote Girls Just Want To Have Fun". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  19. ^ Paglia, Camille (Dec 14, 1990). "Madonna -- Finally, a Real Feminist". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  20. ^ Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-06-001258-8. 
  21. ^ Videos Closed-captioned - Sun Sentinel
  22. ^ BBC - Liverpool - Beatles - Lennon remembered
  23. ^ Peace Choir Give Peace a Chance - YouTube
  24. ^ "– quote: "... Hat Full of Stars ... The record stiffed, peaking at 112". Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  25. ^ Cyndi Lauper Emmy Award Winner
  26. ^ Shafrir, Doree. Cyn City, Radar Online, November 17, 2005. Retrieved August 19, 2008.
  27. ^ Long Island Music Hall of Fame, 10–16–06. Retrieved 11–28–06.
  28. ^ "Sverigetopplistan – Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  29. ^ "Tour: Summer 2009: Girls Night Out Tour with Rosie O'Donnell". Cyndi Lauper. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  30. ^ "Wyclef Jean & Cyndi Lauper To Perform On David Letterman". Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  31. ^ ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ Recap: Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Catch Up With Her
  32. ^ Celebrity Apprentice FINAL ( Cyndi Lauper,Donald Trump,Holly,Bret Michaels ) - YouTube
  33. ^ "Cyndi Lauper Cheers Stuck Travelers in Argentina – ABC News". 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  34. ^ "Watch Cyndi Laupers impromptu airport performance of girls just wanna have fun". Time. March 8, 2011. 
  35. ^ MS. FABULOUS: Betsey Johnson and Cyndi Lauper - NY Fashion Week fashion design, indie clothing, style, beauty
  36. ^ Entertainment Weekly, May 18, 2012
  37. ^ Kinky Boots – Official Broadway Site
  38. ^
  39. ^ "Cyndi Lauper wins Tony for Best Original Score". UPI. 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  40. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Matthew Shepard Foundation: Home Page". Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  44. ^ "Lauper, Others Headline Gay Rights Tour". Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  45. ^ Oh, Inae (2012-06-25). "Gay Pride Parade NYC 2012: Cyndi Lauper – Huffington Post". Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  46. ^ Lauper, Cyndi (August 24, 2008). Hope. The Huffington Post. Retrieved on August 30, 2008.
  47. ^ Barron, James; Phoebe Hoban (January 28, 1998). "PUBLIC LIVES; In Their Words". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  48. ^ Interview with Piers Morgan, CNN, Aired December 3, 2011. See
  49. ^ Cyndi Lauper wins first Tony Award for 'Kinky Boots' | The Music Scene |
  50. ^ "Rolling Stone: "The 100 Top Music Videos" (1993)". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  51. ^ "MTV: 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  52. ^ "Collectorsroom: Rolling Stone e os 100 melhores discos dos anos 80!". 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  53. ^ "Rolling Stone & MTV: 100 Greatest Pop Songs: 1–50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  54. ^ "VH1: 100 Greatest Videos". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  55. ^ "Rolling Stone: The 50 Essential 'Woman In Rock' Albums". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  56. ^ "VH1: 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years: 1–50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  57. ^ "Rolling Stone: The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (1–100)". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 
  58. ^ "VH1: 100 Greatest Songs of the 80's: 1–50". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2011-10-15. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Culture Club
Grammy Award for Best New Artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Eileen Heckart
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Succeeded by
Betty White