The 24-city tour, which kicks off Gay & Lesbian Pride Month May 31 at Boston’s Bank of America Pavilion, is once again presented by Logo in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign in support of the newly created True Colors Fund of Stonewall Community Foundation.
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
The goal of this year’s trek is to highlight the need for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and their straight allies to get out and make their votes count this fall.
Before she headed out for last year’s run, Lauper told Pollstar one of the other reasons she created True Colors was to help performers the public might not be so familiar with get some exposure.With the launch of the tour just a few weeks away, and with that aim in mind, Pollstar sat down to talk with some of those artists.
Up first is Deborah Cox, whose resume includes R&B singer, dance club diva, Broadway star, actress and something she’s most proud of – mother.
The last project you did was the Dinah Washington album, Destination Moon. Was that a labor of love for you?
That was a project I had in my heart for a long time, but the timing never seemed to work as far as putting it out. So after taking a break and being a mom and having some family time, amidst all of the little bridge singles that I put out, this became something that I was able to focus on. We got Rob Mounsey, the arranger/producer, to help out with the production. I picked all of my favorites, and we were able to put it out.
The album sounds fresh, yet it doesn’t stray too far from the originals.
I wanted to make sure that there was still some authenticity to the music, but as far as the arrangements, Rob felt strongly about updating them. I think the combination of the two really gave us something that we’re really, really proud of. The fact that it got the nod from all of the jazz critics is what’s most important to me. Because you always hear about artists delving into a different lane and I wanted to make sure that I was credible. I feel really pleased and happy about the way it turned out.
What was performing in Aida like? That was something different for you.
I tend to gravitate to things that are somewhat challenging. I’d done musical theatre before I had my record deal, so it wasn’t something that was foreign to me. But Broadway is such a beast in itself. I did six shows a week. It was a grueling schedule. It was very taxing vocally, because I was in 95 percent of the show; there were 16 songs that I sang in the show. It was a real undertaking at the time. My son was about six months old when I started the show. I was still nursing, so I’d have big boobs one scene and small boobs the next scene and I’d be pumping in between shows.
It was a trip, but it was a gratifying, exhilarating experience because it brought me back to why I wanted to get into music and do musical theatre all over again; It just brought back that passion. Singing with the live orchestra every single night and being amongst a new audience every night was great. It was like walking on a tightrope and making sure that I didn’t fall, because there’s no safety net with live theatre.
Is that something that you would consider doing again if the right role came along?
Definitely. I’m in the process of writing a show and I’m still actively looking for other things that are really intriguing to get involved with because I really loved doing the show. And I loved being in New York. That was fun.
A lot of the live dates you’ve done have been club dates. Have you ever been able to go out and do a regular concert tour?
It’s funny, because I have such a diverse audience, I get pulled in many different directions. A lot of the time I’ll do club dates, like when “Everybody Dance” was really brewing, there was this groundswell of requests for me to come and do shows. So I was doing some club shows, as well as some jazz shows with the Destination Moon album, a completely different circuit. And then the R&B shows, I haven’t done as many. I’ve been concentrating more on finishing the album. So yeah, it’s been a lot of spot dates.
You’re working on a new album?
Yes. I’ve been working on an R&B album for the past year. I’ve been actively recording and writing as well. I’m almost done. I’m expected to be finished recording by June. That’s the deadline anyway.
With club shows you don’t often get the chance to work with a band. You just get to sing to a track. Would you like the opportunity to do a regular tour with a band?
Absolutely. A lot of the time, the venue just can’t accommodate a band. But for me it’s more about being able to perform. So whether it’s to a track or not, I make sure that I have the show programmed in a way where I’m able to still get off vocally, you know, and not be subjected to just what’s playing on the track. I’ll do breakdowns and I’ll switch it up. I don’t do it like the record. Sure I’d prefer doing a show with a full band, but I’ve done it many different ways. So I’m so used to it now.
Let’s talk about the True Colors Tour. How did you get connected with that?
I believe Cyndi’s people know that I’ve got quite a lot of fans in that arena with the remixes and stuff. So her people reached out to my people about my availability to do some of the shows. When I heard about it, I completely jumped at the opportunity because – Cyndi doesn’t know this – but I actually do a couple of her songs whenever I do my live shows with the band. I love “Time After Time” and I’ve always loved her music. “Time After Time” and “True Colors” are two of my all-time favorites.
I don’t know if anybody remembers seeing the Lillith Fair, but I performed “True Colors” in my show. So this is going to be a wonderful sort of hommage I guess, just to be a part of the whole tour. And again, what she stands for as a person, fighting for people’s civil rights and for equality. Those are all things that I stand very firm on and believe in as well. So I’m really excited about being a part of this tour.
Will you be doing any of your new material or will you be doing hits?
I’m going to do a combination of everything. Obviously the dance hits. I’m going to do a couple songs from Destination Moon. It’s going to be a nice mixture of all of the hits – the most popular songs.
If you get the opportunity will you approach Cyndi about doing a duet on “Time After Time” or “True Colors?”
That would be amazing!
Are there any plans for a tour for you in the future?
Yes. Touring is my first love. The live aspect of this business is my passion. So when this record is released – and I’m looking at maybe the end of summer, beginning of fall to come out with it or at least a single – I’m definitely going to be hitting the road and doing shows with a band.