Pop star Cyndi Lauper admits she was born to sing the blues. So far, fans seem to agree, sending her new album “Memphis Blues” to the top of the blues chart for 12 consecutive weeks. Cyndi Lauper’s recent transformation from pop diva to blues maven was inspired by her lifelong admiration for the early blues pioneers, including one the earliest of them all, Ma Rainey. Lauper dedicated the album to Rainey, whose influence on younger singers earned her the title, “Mother of the Blues.”
Lauper’s love for jazz and blues began after hearing records by Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
Growing up in Queens, New York, she also listened to The Beatles and Janis Joplin. One of her first groups was a duo called Blue Angel, described as a “cross between rockabilly and new wave.” Having only limited success with Blue Angel, she launched a solo singing career, and, in 1984, released one of the best-selling albums of the decade, “She’s So Unusual.” The album produced four Top 5 singles, including “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, and earned her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Lauper has shifted musical directions over the years, alternating between acoustic and electronic rock, dance and pop standards. With “Memphis Blues,” she says, “The blues is the basis of everything you sing your whole entire life.” Cyndi Lauper, teaming up with guitarist Jonny Lang, performs a chilling rendition of the Robert Johnson classic, “Crossroads.” Also featured on the album are blues and soul greats B.B. King, Alan Toussaint, Charlie Musselwhite and Ann Peebles. Lauper is currently promoting her latest outing with a national radio appearance and upcoming concerts in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Connecticut – Voanews