LET THE CANARY SING is a new feature-length documentary that chronicles the incredible life and career of Cyndi Lauper, through both archival footage and current commentary from herself, her family, friends, lovers, fellow artists, and admirers. It chronicles Lauper’s meteoric ascent to stardom during her 1980s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” era, to her continuing profound impact on generations through her music, ever-evolving punk style, unwavering feminism, and tireless advocacy. The documentary takes the audience on an engaging exploration of a renowned and pioneering artist who has left a remarkable legacy with her art, and continues to do so.


From growing up in the suburbs of New York City with her mother, brother, and sister, to the savvy strong-willed woman she remains today, this documentary provides a deep look into the mind and career of the fascinating person that is Cyndi Lauper. From a young age she knew she was different, and she fully embraced that unique perspective and personality in a creative way. She was equally inspired by Patsy Cline and The Beatles, as she was by the local gas station attendants and priests. This eclectic outlook was reflected in all that she created, and her strong determination to stand behind her creative endeavors has propelled her continuously forward to where she is today.

Growing up in the era of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, and young musicians like Hendrix and Joplin dying, it made for a pretty bleak outlook. Failing as an office worker, she decided she couldn’t be any worse at being a singer, and soon joined Blue Angel as their lead vocalist. Unaware of her own vocal strength, she  damaged her vocal cords to the point of requiring therapy to recover her voice. Branching out on her own, her first hit was the now iconic “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, which was originally written and performed by Robert Hazard, who recorded a demo of it in 1979. Hazard wrote the song from the male perspective about women in the bedroom, and Lauper flipped it into a feminist anthem by subtly changing some of the lyrics. The first song she wrote and recorded on her own was “Time After Time”, and she also contributed music to soundtracks, such as Steven Spielberg’s “Goonies”. Then after a brief respite from the industry to realign herself, she returned dabbling in acting, and every genre of music possible. She didn’t ever want to be pigeonholed into any type of mainstream mould. 

Beyond her musical success, she’s always been an advocate for human rights for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or any other characteristic that makes us all unique. Having befriended her lesbian sister’s two gay friends when she was just a teenager, she was devastated when one of them passed away from AIDS. She wrote the song “True Colors” in tribute to him and to bring light to the plight of gay men during the current epidemic. This video was also the first to feature sign language and subtitles, a further way she was making the world more inclusive for all. She continues to be a strong advocate for homeless queer youth, through her True Colors United organization.

As to how Lauper feels about the finished product, she says, “Over the years I’ve been asked to do a documentary about my life and work, but it never felt like the right time. Until now. When I first met Alison Ellwood, I knew right away I could trust her to tell my story honestly, which was incredibly important to me, and she succeeded in that. I’d like to thank Alison, the producers, and all of the amazing documentary participants who agreed to be interviewed!”

LET THE CANARY SING  was directed by Emmy® Award-winning documentarian Alison Ellwood, and made its world premiere at the 2023 Tribeca Festival. Now streaming on Paramount +

There’s also a companion album that includes a career-spanning collection that follows Lauper’s career, starting from her days in Blue Angel to her breakout single “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” to the iconic pop stardom that followed. With hits “True Colors,” “I Drove All Night” and more, this collection is a staple for any Cyndi Lauper fan. The album will be released on vinyl and as a digital expanded edition and is available for pre-order here from Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment.

It can also be streamed here. which is exactly what I did while writing this, and it made me wonder if this might be the set list for her Farewell tour she recently announced taking place this fall across Canada and the United States, including stops in Montreal (Oct 18), and Toronto (Oct 20). Tickets.

About Paramount+

Paramount+ is a global digital subscription video streaming service from Paramount that features a mountain of premium entertainment for audiences of all ages. Internationally, the streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel™, in addition to a robust offering of premier local content. The service is currently live in Australia, Austria, Canada, the Caribbean, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latin America, South Korea, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.

For more information about Paramount+, please visit www.paramountplus.com, and follow @ParamountPlusCA on social media. 

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.