10 Things We Learned From Cyndi Lauper's Reddit AMA
In 1984, Cyndi Lauper used her, well, unusual style to her advantage, releasing She's So Unusual, the first debut female album to land four top five hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Lauper recently told Billboard the songs contained "were about empowering all us freaks. We stood up and showed them how many of us there really were."
She spent the decades since releasing albums, touring, appearing in films and TV shows, and writing music for Broadway. In 2013, Lauper won the Tony for Best Score for Kinky Boots, and she's pretty darn close to EGOT status, missing only an Oscar. On Tuesday (Nov. 4), she joined Reddit for her first AMA ("ask me anything"). Here are 10 things we learned:
1. If she could choose one person to work with, past or present, it would be electric blues singer-songwriter Charlie Musselwhite.
"I was thinking about the people that I wanna work with, before they're not around anymore and I really want to make a kind of blues kinda dance/trance thing with Charlie Musselwhite and any very open minded – in a kinda really open dance guy who can understand that kind of thing."
2. She tried to work some dulcimer into Kinky Boots.
"When I had to sing... I sang this new song that I'd been working on. And I wasn't warmed up, but it was the most cookoo and kinda real throwback to the old music days, when they'd just pull out a piano and you'd just sing this song -- you'd just pitch a song with a piano. That and the first time we did the music and a reading and I put together a jug bang, like with a conga, guitar, piano and bass and acoustic guitar and I played dulcimer.
"I thought it was 'wow' but Harvey Fierstein couldn't get over that I was playing dulcimer. He doesn't like dulcimer, but now i think it's important to send him a dulcimer for Christmas. Or just send a Christmas card with a dulcimer in it. Because I think the world needs more dulcimer. That and Daryl Roth, who was extremely fond of the dulcimer."
3. How does it feel today to hear one of her songs on the radio?
"It's weird. It's different now, because sometimes you could just be talking to someone bout something, and then 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' comes on and you're like 'yea...that's me.'"
4. She's working on another Broadway show, but she can't share details yet.
"I really can't, because it's not up and running. And it's still in the talk. And you talk about these things sometimes, forever. I hope that it actually does get going, because it's very interesting and very very different from Kinky Boots. Just the total opposite. But I figa that's the only way I could learn, or grow."
5. What was it like working on The Goonies?
"It was pretty great. [Director] Dick Donner was great. And honestly, imagine -- I had Steven Spielberg in my video. That was pretty cool. I remember when I first met him and he told me Barbra Streisand actually sang to him and I was jealous on so many levels. Like 1, I never even met Barbra and she sang to him and I used to sing with her so much when I was little and she didn't even know. And the fact that he wasn't impressed that I was there at all, hehehe! But he was actually in our video.
"I really believe that during the '80s, I felt he was just one of the great directors, because his personality was so awesome and big. And he would tell ya stuff and you'd get inspired to do whatever it was that he said. When my mother was shy, he would have her say her lines and eat cookies and I thought 'wow, add an activity, that is brilliant. Next time I get stuck, I'll be sure to have an activity!' And meeting the kids -- I did that because I wanted to go to Hollywood and act on a Hollywood set. I guess it was just one of those things as a little kid I always wanted to do. So I got to do it."
6. How she managed to take hold of Prince's song "When U Were Mine."
"He wasn't possessive about this one. He had already, probably recorded it and it was out. So Rick Chertoff had been holding onto all these songs and one of them was this Prince song and I thought it was really kinda cool and modern, just a crazy sound. I thought when we did it, at the time, it was all ... new wave. I think recording that song was fun, because I got to push myself in a direction I had never thought of doing, like doing two low voices and then the high voice. And I really loved the fact that he talked about sheets -- that she didn't have the decency to change the sheets. I thought, 'Who the f--- writes about sheets? That's awesome.'"
7. What music did she grow up listening to?
"'P.S. I Love You' was the first single I bought with my own money! And I loved the Beatles, I loved the Supremes. Before that I always listened to Barbra Streisand and all the things my Mom listened to -- all the Broadway shows, but when I got meet the Beatles and the Supremes in the fourth grade, I really loved them. I met them and it changed everything."
8. What does she do for fun?
"I don't know. Sleep? I like to go bike riding with my husband in Minnesota when the mosquitos aren't out. It depends on how fast ya pedal, because they can't catch you. But mosquitos are the State Bird of Minnesota."
9. Captain Lou Albano (who played Lauper's dad in the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" music video) was very religious.
"Captain Lou made everything I did... fun. I think my favorite moment was the first time we went out and I did an interview to promote my first album and I had been watching all of the Beachcomber movies -- you know, how they had the Great Kahuna. And I thought 'We should have Captain Lou as the Great Kahuna, he could be guiding us all and that would be so much fun.'
"Little did I know -- god bless Captain Lou -- he was very religious. He had a crucifix on the outside of his door, the inside of his door. He was that religious. So when I did 'She-Bop' and I wanted him to be dressed as a nun, he didn't want to do that -- Sisters Against Transgressors, you know. So we changed it. And we put something else -- Suburban Wives Against Transgressors, I'm not sure, but to see Captain Lou singing with my Aunt Helen, my Aunt Grace, my mom and Aunt May -- it was so amazing. I mean, in my videos, the thing I'm most grateful for was that I was able to put my family in it, and in all my videos, I'm able to see somebody -- so I got to do stuff with my family, and they will always be my picture books of our lives together, besides our regular life."
10. If you fall, she will catch you, but there's a kicker.
"If you fall, I'd catch you, but it depends on how big ya are, because if you're too big, we'll fall together, so it's kind of a not-good-prospect to catch someone bigger than you. I'd try, but I can't promise you wouldn't fall anyway..."