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Cyndi Lauper celebrates 30 years of being 'Unusual'

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Cyndi Lauper Photo Credit Gavin Bond hi-res RT crop

Cyndi Lauper. (Photo by Gavin Bond)

When mapping out her 30th anniversary "She's So Unusual" tour, Cyndi Lauper racked her brain over whether to include Florida on the itinerary.

The Grammy Award-winning singer and Tony Award-winning "Kinky Boots" lyricist was upset about the Trayvon Martin case and was well aware of big-name acts like Stevie Wonder boycotting Florida and any other states that have "stand your ground" laws.

So she went to a trusted source for advice: Harry Belafonte, whom she had met in 1985 during the recording of the all-star charity hit "We Are the World."

"I asked him, 'Harry, what should I do? Should I avoid Florida?' " she said in a phone interview this week. "He said something so true and so simple, 'If a tree falls in a forest, does anybody hear it?'

"He was right. If I didn't come to Florida, I wouldn't be able to get a positive message across. So I decided that on all my Florida dates that all proceeds from 'meet and greets' would go toward The Trayvon Martin Foundation. It's a very important organization, designed to raise awareness of how violent crime impacts families of the victims.

"It's also an advocacy against all forms of racial, ethnic and gender profiling. And they're out to educate kids on conflict resolutions, like teaching them how to behave around adults, what to say and how not to inflate a potentially deadly situation."

The foundation's commitment to turning a tragedy into a positive is what convinced Lauper to add Florida to her tour schedule. That tour, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of her breakthrough album, "She's So Unusual," includes a stop Friday night (Nov. 8) at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.

This girl just wants to have fun again.

"It really is a fun show," she said. "I have a great band with me, and we play the entire album and then, depending on the mood of the crowd, I play other songs from throughout my career. It's really not an oldies show, it's just me and the fans revisiting good times."

And she's more than happy to revisit "She's So Unusual." Her debut album catapulted her to stardom like no other female artist in history to that point.

All five singles - "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "Time After Time," "She Bop," "All Through the Night" and "Money Changes Everything" - reached the Top 30 on Billboard's pop chart. In fact, her first four singles went Top 5, making her the first female artist to achieve that feat with songs from the same album.

It sold more than 22 million copies worldwide and garnered her the Grammy for Best New Artist.

"It's a very iconic album," Lauper said. "It means a lot to people, especially women and girls because 'Girls' became such an anthem for them. I'm just so honored to be part of that, and I'm so proud of the album."

CYNDI LAUPER
7:30 p.m. Friday (Nov. 8). Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $49.50-$100. (727) 791-7400; rutheckerdhall.com.
Last modified: November 10, 2013
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