Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the neighboring borough of Queens, Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper (born June 22, 1953) attended four high schools before receiving her honorary high school diploma from Richmond Hill High in Richmond Hill, NY.
In her late teens, Cyndi Lauper sang in a number of local cover bands. With her unique, baby-doll voice, Lauper combined elements of new wave, punk, and funk to create her own signature sound. As one of the biggest stars of the early MTV era, Lauper skyrocketed to fame with her debut album She’s So Unusual. Lauper’s first single from the album, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” quickly became an anthem of female empowerment as it climbed to number two on the charts. Thanks to heavy MTV airplay, the album eventually went quintuple platinum, selling five million copies and producing 4 top-ten hits, including “All Through the Night” and number one single, the ballad, “Time After Time.” To this day, Lauper’s debut remains a benchmark in pop music history.
Two years after the release of She’s So Unusual, Lauper made a brave crossover into adult contemporary territory. The title cut from Lauper’s sophomore effort, True Colors went to number one on U.S. charts in 1986. Three years later, A Night to Remember was released, with “I Drove All Night” breaking into the Top Ten.
Lauper remained busy throughout the 90′s, releasing a handful of albums, (including her first holiday album, Merry Christmas… Have a Nice Life!) to little media fanfare. In 1995 English fans saw the release of Lauper’s best of compilation, 12 Deadly Cyns and Then Some. The disc featured a remix release of Lauper’s 80′s hit, “Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun,” which reached number one on English charts.
While working on her 1993 album A Hat Full of Stars, Lauper met producer Russ Titelman. Titleman and Lauper developed a lasting relationship where “he started sending me music,” Lauper divulged. “I remember how inspiring it was to just know a guy who loved music.”
Years later, when Lauper began to think about recording interpretations of familiar pop songs, it was Titleman she called on to produce. The result, 2003′s At Last, was proof positive that Lauper was no longer just out looking for fun. Along with maturity came perspective for Lauper, and her take on tunes made famous by the likes of Billie Holiday, Etta James and The Animals proved that she is up to the challenge.
“When I hear those songs, I remember… how the music affected the people around me, and what those times were like,” explained Lauper. When you reinterpret a song… you have to find out what it is you’re trying to say…for me, [that's] the whole magic of the music.”