Cyndi Lauper never considered herself to be "so unusual" in the first place. "I never really thought I was that different," Lauper tells the Dallas Voice, in reference to her Grammy-winning debut album "She's So Unusual."
"I thought what I wanted to do was different. The artistic things I wanted to do, maybe they were very different."
Indeed, Lauper, who performs 8 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, has continued to stand out for her varied musical output, as much as for her colorful personality. In June, she became the first woman to claim a solo Tony Award for best original score for her musical "Kinky Boots." The show also won five other Tonys, including Best Musical.
"I'm excited. I mean, they don't put us in the rice fields anymore, so that's good," she says jokingly of her landmark win in the Dallas Voice. "And there's more of me coming up. I'm excited that I was able to do that, but I also feel like I just wanted to do a really good job. That was really important. But hey, I'm big on firsts. It's important to widen the horizon."
Since making her 1983 major label debut, Lauper has released a range of pop-rock albums, tried her musical hand at standards and Memphis-style blues, performed on Broadway in a revival of "The Threepenny Opera," and now finds herself as one of the creative forces behind a hit musical.
"Kinky Boots," which is about the owner of a shoe factory who reinvents his business by specializing in footwear for drag queens, dovetails nicely with Lauper's championing of gay rights and diversity.
"I thought that this story was really bigger than me," Lauper tells EW.com. "You want to be involved with something that's bigger. Maybe it's like Dorothy. I click my ruby boots three times and say, 'There's no place like home at the (Al) Hirschfeld Theater, there's no place like home like New York City, where diversity and acceptance has always made this city bright. And that's what makes 'Kinky Boots' bright. That's what it's about: Diversity and acceptance. And that's something worth rolling your sleeves up and toiling for no matter how many years."
This year is also significant for Lauper in that it's the 30th anniversary of "She's So Unusual," which remains her most successful record. The album was the first by a female artist to chart four Top 5 singles in "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "Time After Time," "All Through the Night" and "She Bop." Lauper won a Grammy for Best New Artist, and the record was also cited by the Grammys for package design.
To mark the occasion, Lauper says she's performing the tracks in their original style on her current tour.
"I listen to it and understand why some other rock 'n' rollers were frightened of me," she tells the Dallas Voice. "It was a little different and confusing, I guess, for some people. It was funny, wildly nutty and yet it had some very deep moments, which must have been very confusing. Though I think it made perfect sense. It was very much me."
Having had such a big year, Lauper is thinking small for the immediate future.
"My upcoming project is to take some time and sit on my big ol' butt and not think for two seconds ... and then it'll come to me," she tells the Dallas Voice. "Yes, I do want to do something else. But right now I'm on tour. Maybe that was a good thing. Get away from it and think about what I'd like to do, and then choose wisely."