Cyndi Lauper sings the joys of the Blues
Working with B.B. King
BeBe: You work with one of the greatest blues musicians in the business in B.B. King on your latest collection. What was your experience like working with the King of the Blues?
Cyndi Lauper: What can I say? This is the great BB King!!! I was so nervous in the beginning that I would have to leave the studio because I was so excited and thrilled. It brought me to tears. It was the most amazing experience of my life. It was a privilege to work with all the talented artists on this album, such as, Ann Peebles, Allen Toussaint and Jonny Lang.
BeBe: You have definitely had a long standing love affair with the gay community throughout your career. Did you think you may be taking a risk with satisfying the musical palettes of your gay fans with "Memphis Blues"?
Cyndi Lauper: I didn’t see it as a risk. I am the luckiest girl to have the most amazing fans... ever! They love all kinds of music. At different times in my career, I have wanted to record certain genres of music that have been meaningful to me, or that have helped shape me as an artist, and they (gay fans) have always come along for the ride. For that, I am grateful.
BeBe: You are currently on a 20-city tour performing the songs from "Memphis Blues." Yet you chose not play but three West Coast cities, excluding San Francisco where you were Grand Marshall of its Pride celebration a few years ago. What is the reasoning behind that?
Cyndi Lauper: I really wanted to do these dates with Dr. John ("From Memphis To Mardi Gras Tour"), so honestly it was about finding time we both had to hit the road together. Then once that was decided, our agents put the tour together. We just gave them really basic instruction about where we want to go. We both love San Francisco, but it just didn’t work out routing wise.
BeBe: Your "To Memphis With Love" DVD recording from a performance at the Warehouse in Memphis in late 2010 is due for public release later this month. The format would have been great for a television special. Was that ever a consideration?
Cyndi Lauper: That would be great, but that wasn’t my intention. My intention was to show my fans a behind the scenes look at what it takes to make a record, and put on a show, and of course, to document the live performance of Memphis Blues tour. I hope everyone likes it. I worked really hard on it.
BeBe: You perform of course throughout your performance on "To Memphis With Love" shoeless which has become your trademark. How did your barefoot stage presence begin?
Cyndi Lauper: It’s just easier! I really try to be fully connected when I am on stage, and for whatever reason, I like to feel the stage underneath my feet. A good pair of grip sneakers work good for that, too. It’s hard to dance and move and immerse yourself when your feet are killing ya! (Halleloo, sista!)
BeBe: Since 2007, you have definitely brought the awareness of the issues confronting the gay community to the mainstream with your True Colors Tour, True Colors Fund, True Colors Residence, and the MAC Viva Glam Campaign. Do you see yourself as a role model for some of the young artists in the business that have gained favor with the gay community to do the same?
Cyndi Lauper: I will be very glad if that happens. You know you have to support one another. You have to be there for your fans.
A new musical?
BeBe: You continue to express your creative juices and talents through other media such as theater, film, and television. With such acclaim that you have received from your acting, including an Emmy Award, will your thespian side become more apart of your life in the years to come?
Cyndi Lauper: Absolutely! I have a few offers now to do some independent films that I am seriously looking at. I hope to reprise my role on "Bones" this year, and would love to perform on Broadway again, too.
BeBe: Is it true you have a reality show in production? Is this following you in your day-to-day life?
Cyndi Lauper: Yes the deal was inked with Mark Burnett Productions ("Survivor", "The Apprentice," Martha Stewart, "People’s Choice Awards") before I signed on to "Celebrity Apprentice." It is mostly about me and my day-to-day focus on my career. We start filming in January. It is going to be a lot of fun to do. Can’t wait to get started.
BeBe: One of your next projects is penning your autobiography (Simon and Schuster). In general, what might we find out about Cyndi Lauper that we don’t already know?
Cyndi Lauper: I read tarot cards, but I think a lot of people know that. I am not that good at it, but it’s a lot of fun. I am also a big fan of old movies from the glamour Hollywood years. It is one of my favorites to past (the) time when I am not working.
BeBe: Noted pop stars like Elton John, Paul McCartney and even Scissor Sister have taken on writing the score for musical productions on stage. You, too, are writing for a Broadway musical. Tell me a little of this project.
Cyndi Lauper: It is called "Kinky Boots." It is the Broadway adaptation of the British film (a drag queen rescues a shoe factory). I am writing the music for it. Harvey Fierstein (Broadway: "Torch Song Trilogy," "La Cage aux Folles") is writing the book, Jerry Mitchell ("Legally Blonde: The Musical") is the director, and Stephen Oremus ("Avenue Q," "Wicked") is the music director. It is an amazing company to work with. I will not be on stage for this show, but I am having a blast with the development process. Can’t wait for you all to see it.
BeBe: You are so multifaceted. You are a singer, a musician, a composer, an actress, a humanitarian, and soon to be author. Can any of these descriptives be independent of the others when speaking of you?
Cyndi Lauper: I am very lucky that I have had opportunities to do them all.
Cyndi Lauper’s "From Memphis With Love" DVD/CD package will be released on October 25 on Megaforce Records and available at all major retailers.
Her "From Memphis To Mardis Gras Tour" with Dr. John continues with the following dates: 10/25, Buffalo, NY, Kleinhans Music Hall; 10/27, Carmel, IN, The Palladium; 10/28, Aurora, IL, Paramount Theatre. Dates without Dr. John are: 10/31, Kansas City, MO, The Midland by AMC; 11/1, Denver, CO, Ogden Theater; 11/3, San Diego, CA, 4th & B; 11/4, Los Angeles, CA, Club Nokia; 11/5, Reno, NV, Silver Legacy Casino.
For more information about Cyndi Lauper and upcoming projects visit her website.
Watch this clip of Cyndi Lauper on Chelsea Lately:
As an actress, BeBe was introduced to film with a lead role in the independent film "Under One Sun" with her character dealing with religious, racial and gender issues. Additionally, she appeared in the campy musical "Devious, Inc" (Australian Film Festival, San Francisco Short Film Fest) also adding additional vocals to the musical soundtrack. Both of these performances led to her selection for a lead role in Aisha Media’s next short film series, "Con-tin.u.um" to be released in 2012.