Lauper, Cyndi 1953-
LAUPER, Cyndi 1953-
PERSONAL: Born Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper, June 22, 1953, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Catrine Dominique (a waitress); married David Thorton (an actor), November 24, 1991; children: Declyan (son). Education: Attended art schools.
ADDRESSES: Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212-1825.
CAREER: Singer, songwriter, and actress. Singer with Doc West (disco group), beginning 1974; with Flyer (rock band), beginning 1977; and with Blue Angel (rock band), 1977-82.
Actress in films, including (as herself) WWF Wrestle-mania, Coliseum Video, 1985; (as Sylvia Pickel) Vibes, Columbia, 1988; (as herself) Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues, 1988; (as Cyd Morse) Off and Running (also known as Moon over Miami), 1991; (as Geena Briganti) Life with Mikey (also known as Give Me a Break), Buena Vista, 1993; (as picnic guest) Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (also known as Mrs. Parker and the Round Table), Lauren Film, 1994; (as herself) Twelve Deadly Cyns . . . and Then Some, Sony Music Video, 1994; and (as Sally Mahon) The Opportunists, First Look Pictures Releasing, 2000.
Actress on television specials, including The Patti La-Belle Show, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1985; An All-Star Celebration Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., NBC, 1986; Cyndi Lauper in Paris, Home Box Office (HBO), 1987; Rolling Stone Magazine's Twenty Years of Rock 'n' Roll, 1987; Late Night with David Letterman Sixth Anniversary Show, NBC, 1988; MTV's 1988 Video Music Awards, Music Television (MTV), 1988; Late Night with David Letterman Eighth Anniversary Special, NBC, 1990; Tribute to John Lennon, syndicated, 1990; The 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1991; In a New Light '93, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1993; (as presenter) The American Music Awards, 1993; The American Music Awards 20th Anniversary Special, 1993; (as presenter) The 47th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1995; Lifetime Applauds: The Fight Against Breast Cancer, Lifetime, 1995; (as herself) Unauthorized Biography: Milo—Life of a Superstar, Comedy Central, 1997; Intimate Portrait: Cyndi Lauper, Lifetime, 1998; Intimate Portrait: Patti LaBelle, 1998; Christmas in Rockefeller Center, 1998; (as voice of Pidge) Happy Prince: An Animated Special from "The Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child," 1999; Rock 'n' Roll Moments, TLC, 1999; An All-Star Tribute to Joni Mitchell, CBS, 2000; (as herself) Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music, 2001; and (as performer) VH1 Divas Las Vegas, VH1, 2002. Guest star on television shows, including Mad about You and (as herself) The Simpsons.
Song producer for the films The Goonies, Warner Bros., 1985, and Vibes, Columbia, 1988. Songs used in films Life with Mikey, 1993, Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, 1997, 200 Cigarettes, 1999, and Never Been Kissed, 1999. Producer, Rock 'n' Wrestling Saturday Spectacular, CBS, 1985. Managed World Wrestling Federation champion Wendi Richter. Worked variously as a waitress, housekeeper, kennel attendant, racehorse walker, and clerk at a vintage clothing store.
AWARDS, HONORS: Woman of the Year, Ms. magazine, 1984; eight nominations, MTV Video Music Awards, and seven nominations, National Academy of Video Arts and Sciences, both 1984; Grammy award nomination for album of the year, for She's So Unusual, and for record of the year and best female pop vocal performance, for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," Recording Academy, 1984; Grammy award for song of the year, for "Time After Time," and for best new artist, Recording Academy, 1985; Emmy award, 1995, for guest starring performance on Mad About You; Grammy award nomination for best dance single, 1998, for "Disco Inferno."
songwriter: sound recordings
(With John Turi and others) Blue Angel, Polydor, 1980.
(With others) She's So Unusual, Epic, 1983.
(With others) True Colors, Epic, 1986.
(With others) The Best Remixes, Epic, 1989.
(With others) A Night to Remember, Epic, 1989.
(With others) A Hat Full of Stars, Epic, 1993.
(With others) Twelve Deadly Cyns . . . And ThenSome, Epic, 1994.
(With Jan Pulsford and Catherine Russel) Sisters ofAvalon, Epic, 1996.
(With Jan Pulsford and others) Merry Christmas . . .Have a Nice Life, Epic, 1998.
(With William Wittman and Rob Hyman) Shine, Rella Records, 2001.
Also wrote the songs "Chicken Man," "It's Not Like You," "Signals," "Steady," "Code of Silence," "The Only Fish in My Sea," "Paper Heart," and "If You Believe" for other artists.
SIDELIGHTS: Singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper was one of the most notable rock stars to emerge in the 1980s. With her distinctive wild hair colors, rag-tag, mismatched clothes, and strong Queens accent, Lauper was a unique presence on stage and on the emerging medium of music television, but her importance extended beyond her looks. At a time when feminism was not yet universally accepted, Lauper sang, in a four-octave voice, about women who were in control of their own lives and their own sexuality.
Lauper grew up in Queens, New York, with her brother, sister, and single-parent mother (her parents divorced when she was five), who worked as a waitress to support the family. From a young age, Lauper vowed to escape the drudgery of menial work and child-raising that seemed to characterize the lives of all of the women she knew. At seventeen, Lauper left home. She attended a series of art schools and worked at a variety of jobs, including walking racehorses, before joining the disco band Doc West in 1974. Lauper gained local recognition with Doc West for her eerily accurate covers of Janis Joplin songs, but Lauper was not happy singing disco: she wanted to rock.
In 1977 Lauper left Doc West and helped to found Flyer, a rock band, but singing rock music was hard on Lauper's vocal cords. Her high-pitched voice was not what rock audiences were used to, and Lauper did serious damage to herself by trying to sing low enough to please them. Shortly after joining Flyer, Lauper saw a doctor about her vocal cords and was told that they were ruined, that she would never sing again. Undaunted, Lauper sought help from Katherine Agresta, an opera singer who gave voice lessons to rockers. With Agresta's help, Lauper regained her voice within a year.
That same year, Lauper was introduced to musician John Turi by her manager. Lauper and Turi formed a band, Blue Angel, which played covers of classic rock songs as well as original material. The band was something of a success and even recorded one album, but the album failed to sell and the group broke up amid a lawsuit with their manager in 1982. Lauper was eventually forced to declare bankruptcy, and to pay her bills she took a job singing in a Japanese piano bar. Then Lauper met David Wolff, a rock music manager who also became Lauper's boyfriend. Within a year, Lauper had recorded her debut solo album,
She's So Unusual.
Lauper cowrote four of the songs on this album, including the number-one hit "Time after Time" and "She Bop." Along with "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," which quickly became an anthem for liberated women and girls across the country, and "All through the Night," those songs gave Lauper a hit record: She's So Unusual was the first debut album ever to produce four top-five singles. Lauper won two Grammys that year, one for "Time After Time" and one for best new artist. They were well deserved, many critics said, Jim Jerome writing in People that She's So Unusual is an album "of astonishing range." Rolling Stone critic Kurt Loder called Lauper "the finest female junk-rock vocalist since the heyday of the great Maureen Gray."
Lauper had another hit with her 1986 song "True Colors," written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, and the album of the same name went double-platinum. She has continued to write new material and to release new albums, but as Lauper's music became more serious and less like the "frothy, flippy delight" of She's So Unusual, as Carl Arrington described it in People, sales declined. Still, Lauper retains a committed base of fans who turn out in large numbers when she tours. When she released a cover of the 1978 hit "Disco Inferno" in 1999 it broke into the top forty on the dance charts.
"I have tried throughout my career to do songs that were worthy and not just disposable art, things that meant something to me, because then they would mean something to other people," Lauper told Billboard's Chuck Taylor in 1999. "I try not to sing words that aren't grounded in some form of reality."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Clarke, Donald, editor, The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Viking (New York, NY), 1989.
Contemporary Musicians, Volume 11, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Contemporary Newsmakers 1985, issue cumulation, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1986.
Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 33, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Hochman, Steve, editor, Popular Musicians, Salem Press (Pasadena, CA), 1999.
Nite, Norm N., Rock On: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock 'n' Roll, Volume 3: The Video Revolution: 1978-Present, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1985.
St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Willis, K. K., Jr., Cyndi Lauper, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1984.
Advocate, March 19, 2002, Cyndi Lauper, "Sisters Just Want to Have Fun," p. 12.
Billboard, June 10, 1995, Jim Bessman, "Lauper Rejuvenates Career with 'Cyn'-ful Epic Anthology," pp. 13-15; March 1, 1997, Larry Flick, "Lauper's Artistic Aspect Emphasized on Epic Set," pp. 15-16; October 3, 1998, Melinda Newman, "Lauper Makes a 'Merry' Exit from Epic, Looks for New Label Deal," p. 16; July 31, 1999, Chuck Taylor, "She's So Unusual: Fired-up Lauper Hits Dance Chart with 'Disco Inferno,'" p. 92.
Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), August 1, 2000, John Dingwall, "Cyndi Slags Her 'Sex Songs'; Britney in Lolita Row," p. 21.
Detroit News, December 5, 2001, Wendy Case, "Cyndi Lauper Wants to Bring Laughs and Tears to Space Show," p. 5.
Entertainment Weekly, September 6, 1996, Ethan Smith, review of Off and Running, p. 84; April 4, 1997, David Grad, review of Sisters of Avalon, p. 84; August 18, 2000, Owen Gleiberman, review of The Opportunists, p. 100.
Florida Times Union, December 28, 2001, Nick Marino, "Cyndi Lauper Tells What's Going On," p. WE11.
Houston Chronicle, August 29, 2002, Michael D. Clark, "Lauper Lands on Her Feet," p. 5.
Life, April, 1984, Nancy Griffin, "Cyndi Lauper Spies Success," pp. 114-119.
Multichannel News, May 28, 1990, Linda Haugsted, review of Mother Goose's Rock 'n' Rhyme, p. 10.
National Review, June 21, 1993, John Simon, review of Life with Mikey, p. 77.
People, April 2, 1984, Carl Arrington, review of She'sSo Unusual, pp. 22-23; September 17, 1984, Jim Jerome, "Cyndi Lauper: Verve and Videos Turn an Outcast Oddball into a Musical Phenomenon," pp. 82-86; July 1, 1985, Jim Jerome, "Queen of the Goonies," pp. 42-43; October 20, 1986, Ralph Novak, review of True Colors, pp. 27-28; August 15, 1988, Peter Travers, review of Vibes, p. 11; June 19, 1989, David Hiltbrand, review of A Night to Remember, pp. 22-23; May 7, 1990, review of Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme, p. 45; June 14, 1993, Joanne Kaufman, review of Life with Mikey, p. 21; September 8, 1997, Peter Castro, "No Pregnant Pauses," p. 33.
Record (Bergen County, NJ), June 28, 2002, Kris Nicholson, "Still Colorful and So Unusual; Cyndi Lauper Follows Her True Career Path," p. 14.
Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), August 15, 2002, Mark Brown, "With Cher as a Fan, Lauper's Legacy Lives," p. 7D.
Rolling Stone, January 19, 1984, Kurt Loder, review of She's So Unusual, p. 61; May 24, 1984, Kurt Loder, "Dream Girl," pp. 13-18; October 31, 2002, Jancee Dunn, "Where Are They Now? Cyndi Lauper."
Sun (London, England), August 1, 2000, Dominic Mohan, "Cyndi Raps Britney's Lolita Look," p. 19.
Time, March 4, 1985, Jay Cocks, "These Big Girls Don't Cry," pp. 74-75.
Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI), September 12, 2002, David Burke, "Lauper's Happier Outside Hit Machine," p. 3.
All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com/ (February 3, 2003), "Cyndi Lauper."
Cyndi Lauper Home Page, http://www.cyndilauper. com (March 27, 2003).
MSN Entertainment,http://entertainment.msn.com/ (March 27, 2003), "Artist Spotlight: Cyndi Lauper."
TV Tome,http://www.tvtome.com/ (March 27, 2003), "Cyndi Lauper."
Yesterdayland Pop Music, http://www.yesterdayland. com/ (March 27, 2003), "Cyndi Lauper."*