Cyndi Lauper Takes A Career ‘Detour’: ‘80s Pop Icon Talks New Country Music Album

Cyndi Lauper is taking a career detour—literally. The colorful ’80s pop hit maker, who was an MTV staple back in the music television network’s heavy rotation heyday, has plans to release a country music album this spring. Lauper’s new album will be titled Detour. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cyndi Lauper said her new release won’t be a traditional country record.

My main concern was not making things clinical. I wanted the beat to be dirty and sexy. It was supposed to be a mix of R&B and country.

Cyndi Lauper is best known for her brand of spunky 1980s pop. Some of the singing superstar’s biggest pop hits in the ’80s included “Girls Just want To Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” which featured music video collaborations with the late wrestling great Captain Lou Albano. But 30 years later, she’s switching gears to collaborate with George Strait’s record producer Tony Brown, as well as other county music legends, for Detour.

Lauper recorded her Detour album in Nashville, with a title track that features the legendary Emmylou Harris. In addition, Willie Nelson joins Cyndi for a new rendition of his own ’60s hit, “Night Life,” while Jewel appears on the song “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” Cyndi also teams up with singer Alison Krauss, as well as Vince Gill, for a cover of Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty’s classic, “You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.”

In an interview with Elle, Cyndi Lauper said she cut her teeth on country music and rockabilly, so it was an easy transition for her to go country.

“It was wonderful to be able to more or less go home with this album. A lot of this country, early rock, and rockabilly stuff I cut my teeth on. Like Elvis Presley and Wanda Jackson.”

Lauper also made it clear that she doesn’t really care what people think of her crossover to the country genre. In addition, the “True Colors” singer said she never listens to record company execs who talk about how her music is “disposable art,” because she thinks serious artists are lifers in the field and committed to delivering memorable work.

“I can’t do anything about how other people think. Is it going to change how they think about me? I don’t know. [But] it’ll change me doing anything if I worry about it. I think the only thing that any person should be worried about is what they think about themselves. And that will allow you to walk freely through the world … You’re either serious or you’re not serious. And I was very serious. I wasn’t—and am still not going to let anybody—stand in my way.

Of course, Cyndi Lauper is far from the first pop or R&B star to crossover to country music. In 2011, Lady Gaga released a country version of her signature song, “Born This Way,” while music legend Lionel Richie worked with Willie Nelson and Jennifer Nettles on his 2012 release, Tuskagee. Even rockers like Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and Poison singer Bret Michaels have taken a shot at the Nashville-based genre, so Lauper’s in very good company.

Fans will have to see how Cyndi Lauper fares with her new album, but there’s no doubt about it: At age 62, this girl still just wants to have fun.

Detour will be Cyndi Lauper’s 11th full-length studio album, and it will be released by Sire Records on May 6. Check out the video below to hear Lauper perform the first single, “Funnel of Love.”

[Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Skyville]