Cyndi Lauper realizes longtime dream with "Blues"
By Evie Nagy
NEW YORK (Billboard) - Best known for her '80s-era pop hits, Cyndi Lauper veers off in a new direction with "Memphis Blues."
Out Tuesday (June 22) on Downtown Records, the album is a big change from 2008's dance-oriented "Bring Ya to the Brink." The set features 12 classic blues covers, recorded in Memphis under Lauper's direction with such legends as Allen Toussaint, B.B. King and Charlie Musselwhite and veteran Stax Records session players including Lester Snell and Skip Pitts.
Lauper spoke with Billboard about her vision for the album, her new record deal and her recent appearance on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."
Billboard: After all these years as a pop star, why did you decide to record a blues album?
Cyndi Lauper: Years ago, I had a dream that (jazz pianist) Oscar Peterson came to me and said, "You know, Cyn, I really like your version of (Marvin Gaye's) 'What's Goin' On' (from her 1986 album, "True Colors"). Then he just looked at me and said, "I think you should do some old songs, and make them modern, the way (Janis) Joplin did." So for years, I've wanted to go back and make a blues record.
Billboard: What were your priorities for the recording process in Memphis, to create the record you wanted?
Lauper: It was a very big priority that we walk in and play live. This album was all about the moment and what happens when the groove is exact and the key is right. It's like a portal into another time and space -- that's what music in its purest sense does, and it's the basis of what I learned all my life.
Billboard: After being on Epic for so many years, you've struck a deal with indie label Downtown. What drew you to the imprint? Continued...