Talking with Cyndi Lauper

“PEOPLE ALWAYS GET THE WRONG IMPRESSION OF ME,” says Cyndi Lauper, who has just turned 40. “After they’ve seen me live, they come up andsay ‘I didn’t know you could sing.'”

Not only that, there’s a thoughtful person under that platinum bob; “These are heavy times we’ve just lived through,” she says, “and I wasn’t going toignore that.” Last year’s Republican “family values” crusade troubled Lauper and she sympathized with Anita Hill: “I’ve had sexual harassment on thejob when I was 17, and when you ain’t got no money you’d be surprised what you put up with.”

Lauper decided to make her political points through the characters in her songs. She was encouraged by her husband, actor David Thornton, to whomshe was wed in 1991 with vows read by Little Richard. (She and Thornton both appear in the new Michael J. Fox comedy, Life with Mikey.)

At the same time, Lauper decided to take more control over her career. On her last album, 1989’s A Night to Remember, she remembers, “I was doingsongs by people who were writing about their new car or the new extension on their garage. I don’t do anybody else’s songs anymore.'”

In the meantime, she says she’s untroubled by the diminishing sales of each of her records. She’s So Unusual sold nearly 5 million copies; TrueColors (1986) only a million; A Night to Remember (1989) less than 500,000. “I don’t need to have zillions and billions of dollars,” she says. “I just wantto do work that I’m really happy with.”

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