Never one to be shy, singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper (1953-) was born Cynthia Anne Stephanie Lauper in New York City. Growing up in an Italian-Sicilian home, she was dyslexic and started playing the guitar at age 12. She fell in love with music.
"I don't need to just be a star. I want to be something other than that. I never thought of myself as a big looker. Although it does take a lot of effort to fix yourself up," the independent singer said in 2001.
Known for her eclectic style, upbeat music, and strong vocals, Lauper became an MTV favorite and rose to fame in the 1980s.
"No matter what you wanna be, you gotta break yer ass; you gotta work hard. Do whatís in your heart and donít take no for an answer," the upbeat performer advised.
Her 1983 solo debut album, She's So Unusual, featured the song, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, an anthem to feminine self-expression.
"I wanted to bring women together," Lauper explained. "It brought women around the world together--it was a celebration, and I think that's very important."
Winning a Grammy for Best New Artist, her next album featured the title track True Colors, an exquisite song with lyrics full of hope and encouragement.
"When I have color on my hair, I wake up ó I can think, I can see. And I canít understand spending all that time painting your hair and not making it look like a flower," said Lauper who in 2010 slugged it out on The Celebrity Apprentice and released Memphis Blues, an album with legends Allen Toussaint, B. B. King, and Ann Peebles.
"I sang that for courage," Lauper revealed. "Then I realized that if it was a healing song for me, it was a healing song for the world."