1980s pop star to release country album

Cyndi Lauper became famous for her pop hits in the 1980s, now she's reinventing her sound.
Cyndi Lauper became famous for her pop hits in the 1980s, now she's reinventing her sound.

Cyndi Lauper, one of the flamboyant stars of the pop wave of the 1980s, plans to take a "detour" to country music.

The singer on Wednesday announced her first solo album in six years, entitled Detour, on which the 62-year-old will perform country classics.

Lauper will team up with country greats including Willie Nelson, in a collaborative cover of his song Night Life, as well as Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss.

Lauper grew up in New York City and maintains a thick local accent but said that as a child she listened to country music, a genre historically identified with the US South.

"When I was a really young kid, country music was pop music, so this is what we grew up listening to," she said in a statement.

"These songs are part of some of my earliest memories, so it has been an absolute thrill to revisit them," she said.

Lauper said she was especially inspired by Patsy Cline, who was among the pioneering women in country and among the first in the genre to enjoy crossover success on the pop charts.

"Her voice was like one of my girlfriends. That's how close I felt to her," Lauper said.

Lauper covers two of Cline's most famous songs - Walkin' After Midnight and I Fall to Pieces - on Detour, which will come out on May 6.

Lauper became a global sensation with her 1983 debut album She's So Unusual, gaining attention for her glam, multicolored costumes and her distinctive "hiccup" in which her voice momentarily jumps higher.

The album produced a series of hits, most memorably Girls Just Want to Have Fun.

Lauper has sold more than 50 million albums in her career.

While country is new for Lauper, she has branched out widely in style in her later career.

Her last album, 2010's Memphis Blues, went in a blues direction with collaborations from legends B.B. King and Allen Toussaint, who both died last year.

She previously went full-out into electronica in 2008's Bring Ya to the Brink. Lauper also wrote the music to the Broadway production Kinky Boots, the story of a struggling shoemaker who teams up with a drag queen.

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Kinky Boots won Lauper a Tony Award for Best Original Score, the first ever for a woman by herself, as well as her second Grammy Award after being named Best New Artist in 1985.

Her latest album comes amid a growing following in the United States for country music, which has become one of the biggest radio formats thanks to growth outside the South, even though sales for pop albums remain significantly higher.

-AAP

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