Cyndi Lau­per takes a mu­si­cal 'De­tour'

'True Colors' singer goes coun­try

GA Voice - - Front Page - By CHRIS AZZOPARDI

It’s not just about hav­ing fun any­more. For Cyndi Lau­per, mu­sic runs deeper than her ’80s-era ec­cen­tric­i­ties may have seemed to sug­gest. Lau­per changes mu­si­cal guises like she changes dye jobs.

The 62-year-old singer takes an­other sharp turn on De­tour, her lat­est rein­car­na­tion, this time as a full-on South­ern belle. The spunky pop priest­ess trades in her pink for plaid and sad­dles up with a slew of Nashville main­stays to sing sig­na­ture mid-20th-cen­tury coun­try dit­ties.

Lau­per re­cently dished on long­ing to be the “un­known singer,” shoe strug­gles and for­ever want­ing to take on Joan Craw­ford and Bette Davis’ in­fa­mous re­venge relic “What Ever Hap­pened to Baby Jane?.” How ex­actly? By star­ring in a ver­sion of it along­side Madonna, of course.

I love the irony of you, mega LGBT ac­tivist, tak­ing on a genre that’s not his­tor­i­cally known to em­brace the LGBT com­mu­nity.

There are a lot of LGBT peo­ple who love early coun­try mu­sic! They love Patsy Cline, they love Loretta Lynn. I loved Loretta Lynn when I was lit­tle and when I heard her sing “The Pill” (a cheeky take on birth con­trol) it was like, “Holy cow!”

You’ve called your new la­bel, Sire Records, your “dream la­bel.” And ac­tu­ally, Madonna’s self-ti­tled de­but was re­leased on the same la­bel in 1983. Do you think you and Madonna might have done a duet if you’d been on the same la­bel back in the day? Was there ever talk of that hap­pen­ing?

Oh, not by busi­ness peo­ple. You know, I al­ways felt for me, I would’ve loved to do “What Ever Hap­pened to Baby Jane?” with her... ’cause I think that’s very funny! (Laughs hys­ter­i­cally)

Which part would you play?

Come on! Who do you think I’d play? I’d play Baby Jane – I’d be tor­tur­ing her. Be­cause she’s al­ways viewed as the bad girl, you know! They’d make her the good girl and I’d be the bad one. Or (we could do Joan Craw­ford’s 1954 west­ern-drama) “Johnny Gui­tar”– she’d be the right­eous one (laughs).

Why is it im­por­tant to you to still per­form in North Carolina de­spite the state’s new dis­crim­i­na­tory leg­is­la­tion known as the “bath­room bill”?

North Carolina is a very im­por­tant place to go be­cause once peo­ple are dis­en­fran­chised the way they have been, it’s very im­por­tant to bring light to a place where peo­ple have none and also ed­u­cate peo­ple on what the real con­cerns are and get peo­ple in­volved in their own des­tiny.

It’s hard for me to even string these words to­gether, but be­cause you were on “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice:” What if Don­ald Trump be­comes pres­i­dent?

Ugh. Ev­ery­body keeps ask­ing me the same ques­tion. I don’t know. I re­ally don’t know. I wouldn’t feel that good about it. I don’t think peo­ple should cam­paign to stop Trump. I think peo­ple should vote, for one, and vote for the per­son they feel is most re­spon­si­ble and can re­ally un­der­stand the way the gov­ern­ment works right now and make it move for­ward in­stead of stop­ping it ev­ery frickin’ two min­utes and cost­ing peo­ple who pay taxes a lot of money. It’s a lit­tle dis­con­cert­ing – the whole frickin’ thing – and it’s gone on for too long.

It’s been seven years since “Bring Ya to the Brink,” your last full al­bum of orig­i­nal non-mu­si­cal ma­te­rial. Do you write? Are there plans to re­lease orig­i­nal ma­te­rial un­der your own name?

Well, I’m prob­a­bly gonna write an­other Broad­way show.

Oh, you are?

Yes. I think if I wrote (for a solo pro­ject) I’d prob­a­bly write un­der a pseu­do­nym and sing un­der a pseu­do­nym be­cause it’d just be a lot eas­ier to have it be re­ceived bet­ter.

Why can’t you put your name on it?

I don’t know. Be­cause I don’t want to be judged. I’d rather do new mu­sic with a pa­per bag over my head and be the un­known singer. (Laughs)

But you’ve been in the spot­light for al­most your en­tire life. Aren’t you used to crit­ics?

No, I know, but there are things that I can do as Cyndi Lau­per and things that I can’t. Just ’cause I can’t doesn’t mean I won’t. I just won’t do it in a con­ven­tional way. You can see Lau­per live in con­cert when she plays At­lanta Sym­phony Hall on June 5.

Cyndi Lau­per’s ‘De­tour’ show will play At­lanta Sym­phony Hall on June 5. (Pub­lic­ity photos)

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