It has been six years since "Sisters of Avalon," Cyndi Lauper's last album for Epic Records. In the meantime, she independently released "Shine," a five-song EP, and entertained hundreds of thousands

It has been six years since "Sisters of Avalon," Cyndi Lauper's last album for Epic Records. In the meantime, she independently released "Shine," a five-song EP, and entertained hundreds of thousands of people through her opening slot on Cher's tour.

But now, she has come back home. Lauper has signed with Daylight/Epic and is working on "Naked City," a new album of torch songs that will be out by year's end. "There were a lot of changes going on at Epic while I was last there," Lauper tells Billboard. "I came to the conclusion that I needed to step away, and I needed to explore an independent way."

Having done that, she says she is thrilled to be reunited with Epic president Polly Anthony and Sony Music executive VP of A&R David Massey, who is head of Daylight.

While her live draw and overall appeal has remained strong, Lauper's album sales figures have faltered. "Sisters" sold 56,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, while "Shine" stands at 40,000 units. However, Massey was undaunted by the numbers when he re-signed her.

"I believe that Cyndi is due for a major comeback," Massey says. "This standards-oriented repertoire will open Cyndi up to a whole new audience who are unaware of her huge vocal power and will consolidate her base internationally, which remains strong."

The torch album, producer Russ Titelman says, includes "some songs that wouldn't normally be thought of as torch songs, so Cyndi's kind of reinventing this stuff." For Lauper, "these songs are stories of the people from when I grew up. I watched all these women and all the things that were important to them," she says.

Moreover, Lauper sees the album as a way to inject a little life back into this often plastic world. "I wanted to make sure that I put a little sense of humanity back in the world that's surgically enhanced -- I mean the music, not the people," she says. "That's what I was born to do here, and that's what I feel is my path. That's something I can contribute."

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