Cyndi Lauper’s sung R&B, electronica, classics, obscurities, and picked up a Grammy and a Tony for writing the Kinky Boots musical. She brings her new country album, Detour, to Humphreys by the Bay October 3 and took a few questions at home in New York City.
What was the first country song you fell in love with?
"Funnel of Love"
...off of Cyndi Lauper's Detour
“I just heard Patsy’s Cline’s voice and really loved it. I guess ‘I Fall to Pieces’ or ‘Walkin’ After Midnight.’ I sang ‘I Fall to Pieces’ with my [old] band Blue Angel. I said, ‘I don’t care how many people did these songs, I’m gonna do these songs! I don’t care, I love her!’
“I thought Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty songs were really funny. I used to watch them on television. I saw Patsy Cline and she was beautiful. Her accent was great, too.”
Had you thought about being a singer before that?
“I always sang; that was a blessing for me. Because it kept me company. I would sing all the time. I sang so much that my grandmother came downstairs one time — I was singing ‘The King and I’ and I was changing my voice through all the different parts — and my grandmother just came downstairs, took off the record, and went upstairs with it. She couldn’t take it anymore.”
How did you go about picking these country songs for the album?
“Seymour Stein [at Warner Bros. Records] was sending me songs. Everybody was sending me songs, their favorite stuff, left and right. I tried to find the songs that, one, I could sing; two, I could relate to; and three, that pertain to today. Even though they’re old songs, there’s a timeless element. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry. And some just give you hope.
Seymour asked for a Christmas song, too. I heard ‘Hard Candy Christmas,’ which Dolly Parton made famous. I love Dolly so much, and I loved the song because it was so hopeful. You gotta give people hope; like, it’s gonna be okay. And it usually is. You just have to live through it: take a deep breath, it’s gonna be okay. And that’s what I would like to be associated with. And sing.”