I had her on my list because I'm an 80s kid and her voice very much defines part of the backdrop that I grew up against - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, True Colours, Time After Time. But to be honest, I wasn't really taking her more seriously than that, really. I also enjoyed her guest mentoring on Australian Idol last year.
But I had seen her promoting her new album, I think it was "At Last" at that time, a year or so ago? She was talking about her project the True Colors Tour. She was so intense and earnest about it, and she sang a really lovely version of True Colours to accompany it. The True Colors Fund is Lauper's own project to celebrate the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and advocate for the basic values and freedoms that she believes should be shared by all Americans.
It was all this in my mind that I picked up two of her albums on the weekend - At Last and The Body Acoustic. I'm not sure what I was expecting but what I got was just an absolutely gorgeous day of listening to exquisite music.
At Last is a series of covers of mostly jazzy songs. Just unbelievably beautiful - mature, haunting, moving and soulful interpretations of some much loved songs. They really show the her range and how gifted a vocalist she is, and also how gifted a musician she is in how she brings her own interpretations to well-loved songs like At Last, La Vie on Rose, Unchained Melody and so on.
The Body Acoustic takes the well known Lauper songs, and some others, and again reinterprets them as well as bringing onboard singers like Sarah McLachlan, Ani Difranco and Shaggy to duet with her.
For me, both albums showed the richness and beauty of Lauper's voice and what she brings as a performer to the delivery of a song - even Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, which fundamentally was a flip, glib number.
I'm sad to be moving on tomorrow to the next artist as I'd love to stay with Lauper a bit longer. I see she has a new album out and I might chase up some more of her older ones at some point.
Here's True Colours, recently performed:
Can't embed At Last but here's the link and it's really worth checking her out as a jazz singer. Just stunning!
And my favourite song from The Body Acoustic - Above the Clouds
All this Lauper music reminds me that the version of True Colours that is my favourite, is Kasey Chamber's version
Which leads me to have to include Not Pretty Enough in Female Appreciation Month. Chambers wrote this song directed towards the Australian commercial radio stations who wouldn't play her music. She thought it was because they thought she wasn't pretty enough. Ironically, this song was picked up and played a lot and brought Chambers into the mainstream arena. Also unable to embed, here it is.
Bit o' country to finish with, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson, Rattling Bones
And some more links for Female Appreciation Month:
random_alex appreciates Fiona Apple
benpayne discovers Kid Sister
catundra appreciates women in Western Art, starting with Artemisia Gentileschi
Also, catundra unlocked a bunch of her previous posts appreciating Suzanne Vega and Serena Ryder, Voice of the Beehive and Kirsty MacColl