To many people, Cyndi Lauper was the seemingly one-album wonder who only wanted to have fun. To me, she has been a lifelong hero. Her music has played as the soundtrack to my life, sometimes fading in and out, and others, playing loudly in the foreground.
Cyndi Lauper did not have an easy time growing up. There were definite obstacles that stood in her way, but she always had a talent for singing. She had difficulties both at school, due in part to dyslexia and in part to her simply being different, and at home, but her singing was nurtured through the love of her mother and siblings.
From the beginning, Cyndi was always her own person, never afraid of who she was. She realized that in order to find herself, she would have to leave home on her own and find what it was that was truly important to her. Around the age of twenty, she decided to move to Manhattan, not far from her childhood home in Queens just across the bridge, and it was then and there that she discovered that she could really sing and wanted to try and make a life for herself making music.
After singing for awhile, she began to lose her voice and she realized that this time, it probably wasn’t coming back. Doctors told her that she wouldn’t be able to sing again. However, with the help of a vocal coach and a few months of coaching, Cyndi’s vocal cords had healed and she began to sing again.
At this point in her career, Cyndi joined a band called Blue Angel and with this, met a long-time collaborator. However, the band did not have much success though it was clear that Cyndi’s talent was immeasurable. With the help of her new friend, David Wolff, Cyndi was signed to a record contract.
Cyndi was one of the first women in the music industry to demand that her work be her own.
In 1983, She’s So Unusual was released and Cyndi was practically an instant pop music star. She had the strong desire to express her ideas and feelings in her music and she did not want to be controlled by record executives. This first album of hers was an unbelievable success. It made her name known all over the globe and almost every girl I knew at the time watched in awe as she danced across the screen in those wild outfits around the time of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. With this song and Time After Time, she proved that she could not only sing a rock song, but also a ballad.
Cyndi was a person who’s personality, outfits, colors, and attitude were as much a part of her performance as her music, but it was the music for which she had a true talent.
By the end of 1985, she became the first female rocker to have four songs in the top five on the pop music charts. Her album went platinum and she won Grammy awards, American Music awards, and MTV Music Awards. She was a universal female pop icon. She even participated in the We Are the World fund-raiser for Africa with 45 other top music acts. Her career was taking off.
Soon after, Cyndi released her second album, True Colors. The title track was a hit and the album generated a few other popular songs, but it is said that it simply did not have the same thunder as She’s So Unusual. To me, this is the biggest misconception about the career of this unique and unbelievably talented woman. Cyndi was writing from her heart refusing to be made into a specific image by the music industry. For her, making music was not about being number one, it was about expressing herself musically and creatively and making the music that she wanted to make.
Many people who are not true fans of her person and her music think that Cyndi’s career ended in the 80s after the release of these two albums. However, the truth is that she has continued to make music throughout the years and has several more albums. She may have moved away from making music that made her popular, but Cyndi writes from the soul, from the heart.
To a true fan like me, this woman’s accomplishments are unimaginable. From the time that I was five years old and her first album was released, there was something about Cyndi’s voice that mesmerized me. According to my mother, I used to sit for hours and listen to Time After Time over and over again. There was something in her music, even at such a young age, that touched my soul and inspired me to be my own person… to be an individual and to not be scared of that person I was inside. There has always been something about her, this kind of air she gives off, that is about going out and living life and doing what you want to do.
As I have grown older, I have listened to her music and learned more about Cyndi as a person. Though she has sold less albums more recently than in the beginning of her career, to me this does not mean that she has become less successful. In fact, in my eyes, she has become even more of a success by writing from her heart and writing about the things that truly mean a great deal to her. Cyndi is a non-conformist and that is something that I strongly relate to. I have used her music as an outlet throughout all of my years to deal with many serious issues that have arisen in my own life. I have encouraged others to listen to her and feel what she is trying to say, because for those who feel it, her music is a great inspiration.
Cyndi Lauper has accomplished many wonderful things in her life. Aside from her musical endeavors, she has directed many of her own videos and has acted in a few movies. She has also won an Emmy Award for her guest appearances on the television sitcom, Mad About You. Apart from her professional life, she now has a loving family with her husband David Thornton, an actor, and new son Declyn.
Being a long time fan, I admire both her personal and professional ventures. She has overcome so many obstacles in her life, beginning with her rocky childhood, which is something that was also a prominent aspect of my own life. Though she is almost untouchable, I feel that I can relate to her, both through her experiences and through her music. I have always taken comfort in her voice and her lyrics. They have gotten me through some of the most trying times of my life.
Cyndi has always been my hero and idol-the one person who I found I wanted to model myself after. Her devotion to her individuality and what is in her heart has always been an inspiration in my own life. It has always been my dream to meet Cyndi and tell her all of these things.
A few years ago, this dream came true for me. After twelve years of being what I though was her biggest fan, I finally had the opportunity to see her in concert. It was one of the most amazing nights of my life and I sat in awe next to the stage as I watched her perform all of the songs that I spent my life listening to. After the concert, I had the opportunity to meet with her briefly. Of course, I was a bit starstruck. I mean, here was my lifelong idol sitting right in front of me, but I was able to tell her that I have always been a fan and I admire her with all my heart. She was extremely kind and appreciative and gave me a hug then a picture was snapped. I carry this memory with me always.
I consider myself to be a dreamer and I know that if I try hard enough, someday I will have the opportunity to meet her face to face again. I would just like the chance to express my extreme gratitude to the woman who has inspired me to be the person that I am today. More important than all the crazy outfits and hair colors that she may be known for, to me, it is what is inside her and in her music is what is most significant about this woman’s career.
She is not afraid to speak her mind, be her own person, and make her own music. I think this is a metaphor for life that every girl needs.
Be your own person and don’t let anyone tell you what to wear or who to look like or what to do with your life. Pursue your own dreams and live your life for you because at the end of each day, it is only you that has to be happy with yourself. And Cyndi, if you are out there, thanks for everything.