You might think of Cyndi Lauper as a grown-up Rainbow Brite with a singing voice, and if you have, you’d be wrong. Lauper has won 18 MTV Music Awards, man! You can’t mess with that.
She was born in Queens in New York City and grew up attending a harsh, Catholic elementary school, only to be expelled for asking a nun, "Do you get your period?"
Parts of her life are quite common for artists, like starting her songwriting at the age of twelve, experimenting with wild hair color, dropping out of high school (of course), getting heavily into drugs (though not Crue-heavy), and eventually leaving home to find herself. After that, the story begins to stand more on its own, thanks to a great deal of encouragement and knowledge from a father figure she calls Bob, but whom I never saw in the only documentary that I know mentions him. It's as if he's like that blonde nutbag's Big Daddy on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"...or, in a much less complicated reference, Doctor Claw. Lauper took his advice to travel, going through part of Canada [where it's rumored that she wandered through dense woods for two weeks, probably eating berries and befriending squirrels] and ending up in Vermont, taking art classes at Johnson State College, all with her miniature Collie named Sparkle. Yeah...Sparkle...That's not hurting my she's-not-Rainbow Brite case...
Her [supposedly Wolverine-like] search for self-actualization led to a move back to New York City, where she made her rounds in different cover bands until 1977, when she damaged her vocal cords, to which three physicians responded by saying she would never sing again (Ick, that sounds like the plot to a Hillary Duff movie). Obviously that didn't last, perhaps thanks to a voice coach's superpowers, and she moved on to form the band Blue Angel with a songwriter-saxophonist. If only M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold had learned from her mistakes...
Sometime after Blue Angel disbanded, Lauper fell in love and moved in with a guy named David Wolff, to whom the word 'wolf' is clearly just not good enough, and got a job at a vintage store called Screamin' Mimi's. The pair agreed that David would be her manager in her pursuit of a solo career, blah, blah, during which time she spent more money on her crazy wardrobe than she was bringing home.
In 1983, She's So Unusual was released with five top 10 singles---the most for any female musician to achieve on their debut record. You know, besides William Hung. A number of the songs on that album had different lyrics in the recording booth than they did when they crossed Lauper's sights. For instance, she rewrote "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", saying it was rather "misogynistic". One of the tunes does feature a girl admitting to repeatedly forcing herself on her frigid boyfriend, though. Much, much better.
To receive her 1985 Best New Artist Grammy, she showed up at the podium with WWF legend Hulk Hogan posing as her bodyguard. It was friggin weird. Did I mention that she had a stint doing appearances on WWF specials? It was nuts --- she was yelling and doing that bratty, snarling face and, of course, her hair was like that of Heat Miser in The Year Without a Santa Claus. She deserves a lot of credit for holding her own in any situation, including a WWF arena. I've seen documentary footage of her politely arguing to have a dance number at a charity concert go a particular way---her hair mostly purple, with gay men in half their stage makeup practicing behind her. Bascially, she has Ryan Seacrest's dream job.
She has a young son, by the way, and I can't help but wonder if she lets him go to school in his Batman costume, or...eat his ravioli plain and listen to a Yoko Ono compilation CD...while wearing an eye patch. If I were to ever be famous, whatever for, I think that she and I should each be featured in a special "E! Investigates: Stars Who Babble Awesomely", and many of the Cyndi Lauper clips could be directly from her season of "Celebrity Apprentice". Lauper has always been a nonconformist, so even if you refuse to tolerate any of her music, she's done a lot to get where she is...like go on "...Apprentice" to express how impressed she was by David Hasselhoff's presence at that hotel that one time (Please focus, Lauper. I have told you: Ritalin. You have to take it daily). She was plenty busy before hitting TV, of course, because of recording her latest album, which is all blues, and it's weirder for many of her fans than the Wikipedia synopsis of the book "The Last Song". It's more unsettling for them than Ke$ha's decision-making skills are for me. That said, Lauper is going to push herself to explore, as any real artist does, and not worry about CD sales.
Dude, Cyndi Lauper is a true individual and in my mind, there is no better type of person than that. She's been an activist throughout her career, too. She was in the song and video for "We Are the World" in '85 (during the recording of which her clinking bracelets really threw off the engineers), played a big role in countless events for gay rights (even starting a non-profit devoted to just that), and she's in the 2010 campaign alongside Lady Gaga (perfect pairing, since they're both blonde and have a penchant for colorful, campy stage shows) for MAC makeup brand's Viva Glam line, which is all about AIDS fundraising.
Some of you might find her talking voice annoying, but the woman is talented and badass.