Thursday, March 1, 2007

Cindy Lauper

Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper (born June 22, 1953), better known as Cyndi Lauper, is a Grammy Award-winning singer and Emmy Award-winning film, television and theatre actress. Her melodic voice and wild costumes have come to epitomize the 1980s and New Wave — the decade and genre in which she first came to fame.

Early life & pre-fame
Cyndi Lauper was born in Ozone Park, New York to Fred Lauper and Catrine Dominique. She has a sister (Elen) and a brother (Frank). At the age of 12, she learned how to play the guitar and started writing her own lyrics. She soon dropped out of high school and traveled to Canada, then returned to New York at a later time.

In the mid-seventies Lauper performed as a vocalist with various cover bands (such as "Doc West" and "Flyer") in the New York metropolitan area, singing hits by bands such as Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, and Bad Company. In 1977, due to damage to her vocal cords, Lauper took a year off and trained with a vocal coach.

After Lauper got her voice back she returned in 1978 and performed her own material with her band, Blue Angel. In 1980, they released a self-titled album on Polydor Records. Despite critical acclaim, the album "went lead" as Lauper says, and the band split soon afterwards. Lauper filed for bankruptcy and started working in retail stores.

1983-1987: Rise to fame
In 1981, while singing in a local New York bar, Lauper met David Wolff, who took over as her manager and got her signed with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Records. On October 14, 1983, She's So Unusual was released, which became a worldwide hit and made Lauper a household name. The album was a mixture of teen-friendly pop-rock, synthesized dance music, punk-edged vocals and a mainstream New Wave sound. The lead-off single and above video was "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", which quickly established itself as a female anthem, and its accompanying video proved very popular on MTV. Other hits from the album included: "Time After Time", a romantic ballad that would later be covered by over 70 artists, most notably Miles Davis; "She Bop", a paean to masturbation; "All Through the Night, a Jules Shear cover; and "Money Changes Everything", a slick cover of The Brains' New Wave number. She's So Unusual also included "When You Were Mine", a Prince cover, which was later released as a promotional single in 1985. At the time, Lauper became very popular with teenagers, in part due to her quirky image, which took the popular late 1970s punk look and marketed it to a mainstream audience. She spent the whole year of 1984 on tour promoting her album. By the end of the year, she was the first female to have four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 top-five hits from one album. She had the good fortune to also have Rob Hyman & Eric Bazilian of The Hooters as her studio band to record all the background vocals, music tracks and instrumentals for the album. (Hyman & Bazilian also wrote many of the songs that appeared on the album as well.)

Cindy Laupers unique fashion sense was enhanced by her visibility of MTV. She was so unique that it was not uncommon for girls to have either the Madonna look or the Lauper look.

Lauper started out 1985 by participating on USA for Africa's famine-relief fund-raising single, "We Are the World". She won a Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category and also won for Album of the Year (She's So Unusual), Record of the Year ("Girls Just Want to Have Fun")and Best vocal female performance ("Time After Time). At the Awards event, she appeared with WWF Superstar Hulk Hogan, who played her "bodyguard". In return, she made many appearances as herself in a number of WWF's "Rock and Wrestling" events, where she was supposedly the manager of Wendy Richter. Their entrance music was "Girls Just Want to Have Fun". This cross-promotion arranged by David Wolff and Vince McMahon also led to a number of appearances with professional wrestlers (most notably Captain Lou Albano, who she met on an airplane during her Blue Angel days) appearing in her early videos. Lauper also contributed to "The Wrestling Album", under the pseudonym "Mona Flambé" as guest backing vocals. She later described the period as fun, but it became an increasing distraction to her musical ambitions, and largely stopped her WWF appearances after 1985. In July, she charted her next single, "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" for the film The Goonies which also featured WWF Wrestlers such as The Iron Sheik, Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, The Fabulous Moolah & Nikolai Volkoff.

Lauper released her second album, which won her another Grammy Award for Best female vocal performance True Colors on September 15, 1986, revealing a more mature sound and sensibility, it reached number four on the Billboard 200. For this album, she wanted to be taken more seriously and increased her involvement both in production and songwriting. Guests on the album included: Nile Rodgers, Aimee Mann, Billy Joel and The Bangles. Although the album wasn't as successful as its predecessor, it contained a few hit singles: the title track, which went on to become her second platinum number-one hit; "Change of Heart"; "Boy Blue"; and a cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On". True Colors also featured the track "Maybe He'll Know", which was originally from the Blue Angel album. She also sang the jaunty theme song for the series "Pee-wee's Playhouse" the same year, though she was credited as "Ellen Shaw." In promoting her album, Lauper travelled all over the globe for her True Colors World Tour.
In 1988, Lauper traveled to the former Soviet Union as part of a project to collaborate with Russian songwriters, her trip resulted in the song "Cold Sky", which appeared on the album Music Speaks Louder Than Words.

1988-1995: Career lows, personal highs
Lauper made her film debut in the 1988 quirky comedy Vibes, alongside Jeff Goldblum and Peter Falk, as a psychic in search for a city of gold in South America. The film was poorly received by critics and commercially flopped. Her soundtrack contribution, "Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)", also didn't chart into the Top 40, though it charted into the Hot 100. A Night to Remember, her third album, was released on May 23, 1989. Though critically well-received, it was not a commercial success. The album spawned only one hit,which earned her another Grammy Award for Best female vocals Performance "I Drove All Night", which was originally penned for Roy Orbison, although his version was not released until 1992, three years after Lauper's version and four years after his death. She also wrote and produced most of the album. The same year, French-Canadian pop star Mitsou covered "Heading West" (co-written by Lauper and appearing on A Night to Remember) on her EP single of the same title.
The following year, Lauper joined many other guests for Roger Waters' massive performance of The Wall in Berlin, performing "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II". She also was part of The Peace Choir, who did a version of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance". She co-starred with David Keith, Richard Belzer and David Thornton, who eventually became her husband in the same year, in the action-thriller, Off and Running, released in 1991. She starred as a small-time actress on the run from a murder.

Lauper continued to act. In 1993, she played Michael J. Fox's ditzy secretary in Life with Mikey, which also starred Nathan Lane. Around the same time the movie came out, she released her critically acclaimed fourth album Hat Full of Stars in June 1993. With a smooth new R&B sound, world music instrumentation, and samples and production by Junior Vasquez, she tackled such topics as spousal abuse and abortion. Despite the critical accolades, however, sales were poor largely because the album was not promoted. When talking about this album Lauper says: "I wanted to make the album I always needed to make. I had to say the things I never could." In addition to co-producing and co-writing this album, Cyndi is also directing three videos from it, making her one of the few artist/directors in the pop world today. Lauper embarked on a North American tour that summer, playing mainly small venues.

Twelve Deadly Cyns...and Then Some released worldwide in 1994 (except in the U.S., where it was held back until summer 1995), was a greatest hits compilation that included three new tracks: "I'm Gonna be Strong," a remake of a remake she did with Blue Angel; "Come On Home;" and a reworking of her first big hit, newly christened "Hey Now (Girls Just Want To Have Fun)". The album was released under a number of different titles, packaging and track listings around the world. Twelve Deadly Cyns sold over 4 million copies worldwide and she began a world tour to promote the album. Twelve Deadly Cyns was especially popular in the UK, reaching number two on the music charts, while the new "(Hey Now) Girls Just Want To Have Fun" hit number four. Lauper also won her Emmy Award for her role as Marianne on the sitcom Mad About You.

Her fifth album, Sisters of Avalon (released in Japan in 1996 and everywhere else in 1997) brought her back into the limelight. With subject matter even more adult than before, it was quickly embraced by the gay community everywhere for its dance and club stylings. The topical themes of the album also contributed to its "pink" appeal: the song "Ballad of Cleo and Joe" addressed the complications of a drag queen's double life, "Brimstone and Fire" painted a portrait of a lesbian relationship, and "You Don't Know" tackled the thorny issue of coming out. The album's singles were remixed to great acclaim, and Lauper began performing as a featured artist at gay pride events around the world. She also co-headlined Tina Turner's summer tour. Lauper and Thornton also welcomed their son, Declan Wallace Thornton on November 19, 1997. Lauper says about the pregnancy, "I'm in my eleventh week and I know I'm having a football player or model. I feel like this kid should be in college by now, it's taking so long."[citation needed]

Lauper recorded and released her last album under her contract with Epic, the appropriately-titled "Merry Christmas, Have a Nice Life," in late 1998. It was a collection of Christmas standards and a few originals. The album did not perform well, and failed to chart.
In 1999 she co-headlined a tour alongside Cher's Do You Believe? Tour, and contributed a cover version of The Trammps's classic "Disco Inferno" to the soundtrack of the film A Night at the Roxbury, the remixed version became a club hit and received a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording. She also garnered critical plaudits for her roles in several independent films including The Opportunists (with Christopher Walken).

Lauper prepared her seventh album in 2001, Shine, which saw her returning to her early pop/rock sound without losing the "maturity" she had embraced on later records. Just weeks before the album's scheduled release on September 11, 2001, however, her label, Edel America Records, folded, and the tracks were leaked to the public. Although a five song EP of the same name was made available through her website and at Tower Records, the full length album concept was scrapped. She then undertook her second co-headlining tour with Cher's Living Proof: The Farewell Tour in 2002. In 2003, an EP of remixes from the unreleased Shine album was sold on the Edel America Records website. Additionally Lauper's former label Sony issued a new greatest hits CD entitled The Essential Cyndi Lauper. She then re-signed with Sony/Epic Records and a cover album called Naked City was in the works.

In November 2003 an album of standards was released entitled At Last (formerly Naked City), which became a Top-40 hit in the U.S. and Australia. It showed off her skills as a unique interpreter and critics agreed that Lauper's voice - always a force to be reckoned with - was even stronger at age 50 than it had been in her heyday. In March of 2004 the full length Shine album was finally released, though exclusively in Japan. She was won for a 2005 Grammy Award for "Best Instrumental Composition Accompanying a Vocal" for her interpretation of the song "Unchained Melody" on the At Last album.


Lauper's album The Body Acoustic, released in 2005, featured acoustic reinterpretations of tracks from her back catalog as well as two new songs (Above the Clouds) which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best female vocals Performance. It featured guest appearances by Shaggy, Ani DiFranco, Adam Lazzara, Jeff Beck, Puffy AmiYumi and Sarah McLachlan. Since the album's release, Cyndi Lauper's star has been on the rise, especially in Canada. She continues to tour the world performing live and is noted as an energetic live performer. Despite not having released a proper follow-up to 1997's Sisters of Avalon, she has maintained a devoted dedicated fanbase and lives in New York with her husband and their son. As of 1998, Lauper also had a home in Stamford, Connecticut.[1] In 2005, Lauper also appeared on Nellie McKay's sophomore album on the track "Bee Charmer."
Also in 2005, she appeared on Showtime's hit show, Queer As Folk in a scene performing a new remix of Shine.

In 2006 she made her Broadway debut in a revival of The Threepenny Opera.
In the second quarter of 2006, Lauper directed a television commercial for the Totally 80's edition of the board game Trivial Pursuit. The commercial features her old WWF "rival" Rowdy Roddy Piper along with 80's celebrities Tiffany, Downtown Julie Brown, Corey Feldman, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others.

On October 16, 2006, Cyndi Lauper was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.[3]

Official Studio Albums
She's So Unusual [1983]
True Colors [1986]
A Night to Remember [1989]
Hat Full of Stars [1993]
Sisters of Avalon [1996]

Lauper wrote "Code of Silence" with Billy Joel. It marked the first time Joel shared a songwriting credit on one of his albums.
She was interested in recording "Voices Carry" by 'Til Tuesday but the band ultimately decided to record the song themselves for their debut album.
On the classic game show Press Your Luck, there was a Whammy based on her.
Her song "Time After Time" was covered by Eva Cassidy, Gameface with Gwen Stefani,INOJ and Miles Davis.
Her song "It's Hard To Be Me" was inspired by Anna Nicole Smith, in particular by one of Smith's many court appearances during which she claimed "It's expensive being me".
Kasey Chambers recorded a cover version of the Cyndi Lauper song "True Colors" which was the theme song of the 2003 Rugby World Cup and reached the top 5 in Australia in May 2003.
Cyndi Lauper appeared on an episode of Queer As Folk in the fifth season performing "Shine" at Babylon.
Cyndi Lauper appeared on an episode of the Super Mario Brothers Super Show in the episode "Robo Koopa".
Included her mother in some of her music videos including "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough".
Sang with Nat Wolff from NBB (Naked Brothers Band)
The Song 'True Colours' was used in a Sony Bravia Plama TV ad and The Dove Self-Esteem Fund of Singapore ad which let's teen girls to show the best of what they have.

External links
Official site

No comments:

Ad by Google