Where do old interviews go to die? Since 1988 they’ve gone into the MTV News vault, but we’ve been exhuming them to bring you these classic natterings. Here’s the latest in the series, which runs every Tuesday.
In June of 1988, just days after celebrating her 35th birthday, singer Cyndi Lauper was back in her native Queens to mark another milestone — her long-delayed high school graduation. It was a little odd. Lauper was at that point one of the world’s most recognizable pop stars — a thrift-store-fashion pioneer with an endearing nasal honk that morphed, onstage, into a phenomenal alto wail that could pin back your ears. Her 1984 debut album had spun off some very big hits — chief among them, the deathless “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (currently featured in “Baby Mama”) and the chart-topping “Time After Time” — and the title track of its follow-up, the 1986 “True Colors,” had returned her to number one.
And yet there she was, up on a little stage at Richmond Hill High School, in cranberry robe and mortarboard, waiting in a line of more conventionally successful students to pick up her diploma. “I really tried doin’ the formal education,” she told us, noting that she’d flunked out of four different high schools altogether. “I figured, I’m a dummy, OK, I can deal with that.”
Lack of high school certification didn’t affect her career, obviously (1988 was also the year she made her first feature-film appearance, starring with Jeff Goldblum in a movie called “Vibes,” which, alas, went nowhere). She was hampered, however, by the loud, wacky image her video fame had been built upon — wackiness having a fairly short shelf life. She remains a great singer, though, and has in fact never stopped making albums for her original record company. Her latest release, just out, is called Bring Ya to the Brink. The wackiness is long gone, but the voice remains undimmed. You might want to give it a listen.
Enjoy digging through The Loder Files? You’ll find more here, and there’s much more to come from the vaults — check back every Tuesday!