Cyndi Lauper Remembers Good Friend Prince: 'He Was So Sweet to Me All the Freakin' Time'


Prince photographed in the 1990s.

The day after Prince's death at age 57, Cyndi Lauper felt better than she had on Thursday -- but not by much.

"I'm pretty devastated," Lauper, a friend and confidant to Prince since both were MTV hitmakers during the '80s, told Billboard on Friday morning (April 22). "It was pretty bad. I feel a little better now but, I dunno, I feel horrible. I loved the guy. You just didn't expect him to go like that. He doesn't do drugs; he was sick, so he might have been taking medication, but I don't know what the heck happened. And, y'know, he always pushed himself. He pushed himself, pushed. It really hurts."

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In a tweet on Thursday, Lauper paid homage to her friendship with Prince and thanked him for advice he'd given her over the years. She said that related to moves Prince made during the mid-'00s to release music online and also selling his 2004 album Musicology bundled in with concert tickets for his tour that year. "He was always brilliant," Lauper said. "He was trying to explain to me how to do it. I had gone back to Sony at the time, and he was like, 'Why'd you do that?!' and blah, blah, blah. He was telling me all this stuff -- how to do this, how to do that -- and I realized just how bright he was, because afterwards, everybody did that. Everybody just copied it, 'cause it was a good blueprint."

Lauper shared a particularly warm memory of seeing Prince twice in one night: first at New York's Madison Square Garden and then attending an afterparty where he performed again. "During the encore, they had everyone from the VIP section stand on line, and he would be singing and you'd have to sing to him and he'd sing back," she recalled. "So he sang to me and I sang back and he just opened his eyes and said, 'Cyndi?' I said, 'You told me to come here! I was just over there...' It was kinda funny, and then I just sang with him and then we talked."

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Lauper choked up a bit when she expressed regret that she did not try to contact Prince during her most recent visit to Minneapolis while promoting her upcoming country covers album Detour, not sure if he would be there. She was also touched to learn that Prince, who covered her 1986 hit "True Colors," was a regular attendee at her concerts. "He used to come and watch these crazy-ass shows I used to try to do," she said. "He was always coming to see me and never coming back to talk to me. I just didn't know what a fan he was, and every time we needed something from him, he would let us use his songs or whatever.

"He was so sweet to me all the freakin' time -- I say 'freakin'' because he did not like cursing, and today I'm especially aware of it after [Thursday]. Maybe I should just stop cursing altogether..."