She may forever be best known as the offbeat singer with the multi-colored hair on early MTV hits like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” but Cyndi Lauper never faded away like so many of those other 1980s pop stars.

There was always substance beyond the style and it’s still there, surfacing most recently on Lauper’s latest album, a European-flavored dance-’til-you-drop set called “Bring Ya to the Brink.”

It’s exciting, invigorating and propulsive, and Lauper’s taking it on the road now with her “True Colors” tour, where she’s co-headlining with the B-52s, Rosie O’Donnell, Carson Kressley (of “Queer Eye For the Straight Guy” fame) and a revolving series of musical acts, including the Indigo Girls, Joan Armatrading and many others.

They’re focusing on the Human Rights Campaign, voter awareness and voter registration among the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

From New York, Lauper recently discussed the road show, the new album, her memories of recording “We Are the World” and more.

As for the risks of combining politics and the arts, the singer stressed that this tour isn’t about choosing candidates.

“I am not a politician; I am not going to tell you how to vote,” Lauper said. “I just want to tell you how to be able to vote. Because with all the discussions about inclusion and not being included in this country you’d better include yourself.

“Get registered to vote and speak your voice. ‘Cause if you want equality you have to be part of the sum, that’s what equal means, the sum of all the parts. A lot of people give up and they have apathy ’cause it’s too hard. So this makes it a little easier. Information is power. All I’m doing is putting information out. I’m singing and laughing all night ’cause I’ve got great comics and great singers.”

The new album is undoubtedly the most dance-oriented of her long career and features a series of collaborators including Basement Jaxx, Dragonette, Kleerup and Axwell.

“I’m excited that I finished the album,” Lauper said. “I got Jeremy Wheatley to mix like I wanted. I heard his work last year. He did this Goldfrapp single, “Ride a White Horse.’ I felt, wow, you feel the rhythm, I’m engaged in the singer but you feel like, “I’m dancing with her.’ That always struck me.

“Then I did “The Threepenny Opera’ in (New York) with my friend Alan Cumming. Unlike when you’re on tour – when you’re a bunch of wild people but you’re in a bus – when you’re on Broadway, it was amazing, we’d go out and dance. And you danced the whole time and it was an amazing experience for me. When I left I felt, “God, I still want to be with my friends.’

“So I thought I’d do those side projects where it was all about singing or picking up my acoustic instruments again like I did when I was 12. So I figured I’m able to do this, let me write some rhythms, so I collaborated with all these dance artists from all over the world and I’m fortunate that I’m able to do that all.”

Lauper’s had a wildly diversified career, which blossomed in the ’80s before she went on to embrace various artistic endeavors as a singer, dancer, actor and writer.

Her song “Time After Time” has been covered by a huge range of artists, including Dave Matthews, Cassandra Wilson and Willie Nelson. But the most surprising may have been the distinctive interpretation by the late jazz legend Miles Davis.

Lauper originally learned that Davis was planning to record the song through a friend who had connections at her label and at Columbia Records.

“I studied jazz as a young singer, so of course I knew Miles Davis’ work,” Lauper said. “And I was honored that he considered a song that I co-wrote with Rob Hyman. It was amazing, it was like getting a nod.”

She also played a significant role in the 1985 superstar collaboration “We Are the World,” which she looks back on with mixed emotions.

“It was an extraordinary experience,” Lauper recalled. “But I kept thinking, “Where’s Aretha Franklin? How can they do this without Aretha? How can they just have a bunch of guys singing? No Aretha, no Patti Labelle. What is this?’ Oh, I think Ray Charles was fantastic, Dylan was fantastic, all of them were fantastic, bless them for taking time out after the whole night and day.

“We were at the American Music Awards and then afterwards we stayed up all night doing that (“We Are the World’). Everyone was very generous and it was very moving. But I did keep thinking, “Where are the great women leaders here?’ That did cross my mind, but all in all it was a great experience.”

Ever offbeat and irreverent, her early music videos were unforgettable, including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” the video of which featured wrestler “Captain” Lou Albano playing the role of Lauper’s father. Albano himself had quite a colorful career and even managed rockers NRBQ for a while. When thinking of the last time she heard from Albano, Lauper sounded wistful.

“A long, long time ago,” she said. “But I did write a forward to a book he wrote recently. One thing Lou did teach me a long time ago was that 10,000 people booing at once or cheering is the same. I realized that when I opened for the Kinks and I was upset (because she was not well received by some in the crowds). And Lou talked to me about it. And it really changed my whole appreciation for the stage and my whole outlook on performance and what you could really accomplish on stage.”

Of course the road to stardom has changed dramatically during the past two decades. As to advice that she’d offer younger performers who are trying to break through, she noted the ability to take matters into one’s own hands.

“Well, it’s an open market now, baby,” Lauper said. “Get your cameras, learn all you can. It’s do it yourself, and get it on MySpace and YouTube. It takes a lot of work and time to do that. But the computer is everything. It’s our best friend right now and the Internet is your best friend. If you want to be heard, there is a place for you on the Internet. It’s a whole new world.”

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