Rocktober Musician Bios

Legendary and iconic singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper offers a poignant account of the journey that led her to become an international superstar—from her years growing up in Queens, New York, to the making of enduring hits like “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “True Colors,” to becoming an actress, a mother, an outspoken activist, and maintaining a music career that has lasted more than thirty years.

After leaving her childhood home at seventeen, Cyndi took on a series of jobs: racetrack hot walker, IHOP waitress, and, as she puts it, “gal Friday the thirteenth,” as she pursued her passion for music. She worked her way up playing small gigs and broke out in 1983 withShe’s So Unusual,which earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist and made her the first female artist in history to have four top-five singles on a debut album. And while global fame wasn’t always what she expected, she has remained focused on what matters most. Cyndi is a gutsy real-life heroine who has never been afraid to speak her mind and stick up for a cause—whether it’s women’s rights, gay rights, or fighting against HIV/AIDS.

With her trademark warmth and humor, Cyndi fearlessly writes of a life she’s lived only on her own terms.

Wyclef Jean is one of the most influential voices in hip-hop. He rocketed to fame in the 1990s with the Fugees, whose multi-platinum album, The Score, would prove a landmark in music history, winning two Grammys and going on to become one of the bestselling hip-hop albums of all time. In Purpose, Wyclef recounts his path to fame from his impoverished childhood in “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s Haiti and the mean streets of Brooklyn and Newark to the bright lights of the world stage.

The son of a pastor and grandson of a Vodou priest, Wyclef was born and raised in the slums of Haiti, moving with his family to New York when he was nine. He lived in Brooklyn’s notorious Marlboro projects until his father, Gesner Jean, took them to Newark, where he converted a burnt-out funeral home into a house for his family and a church for his congregation. But life in New Jersey was no easier for Wyclef, who found it hard to shake his refugee status. Forced to act as a literal and cultural translator for his parents while still trying to master English himself, Wyclef soon learned that fitting in would be a constant struggle. He made his way by competing in “freestyle” rap battles, eventually becoming the best MC in his school. At the same time, Wyclef was singing in his father’s choir and learning multiple instruments while also avidly exploring funk, rock, reggae, and jazz-an experience that would forever shape his sound. When Wyclef chose to pursue a career in music over attending theological school, Gesner, who hated rap, nearly disowned him, creating a gulf between father and son that would take nearly a decade to bridge.

Within a few short years, Wyclef would catapult to international renown with the Fugees. In Purpose he details for the first time ever the inside story of the group: their rise and fall, and his relationships with Pras and Lauryn Hill.

Wyclef also looks back with candor at the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 and his efforts to help rebuild his homeland, including the controversy surrounding YÉle, his aid organization, and his exploratory bid for president of the island nation. The story revealed in Purpose is one of inspiration, full of drama and humor, told in compelling detail, about the incredible life of one of our most revered musical icons.

Young has successfully explored so many different musical styles in his solo and collaborative work that his career could serve as a map of rock music in the last 50 years. Not every musician could have moved so silkily from the gentler sounds of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, & Nash to the hard-driving rock of Crazy Horse to experimentation that has led to Youngs being dubbed the godfather of grunge. A non-compromiser and active environmentalist, too; heres his story.


An iconic figure in the history of rock and pop culture (inducted not once but twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Neil Young has written his eagerly awaited memoir: ‘I felt that writing books fit me like a glove; I just started and I just kept going’. Young offers a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical career, spanning his time in bands like Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crazy Horse; moving from the snows of Ontario through the LSD-laden boulevards of 1966 Los Angeles to the contemplative paradise of Hawaii today. Candid, witty and revealing, this book takes its place beside the classic memoirs of Bob Dylan and Keith Richards.
The story of Heart is a story of heart and soul and rock ‘n’ roll. Since finding their love of music and performing as teenagers in Seattle, Washington, Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson, have been part of the American rock music landscape. From 70s classics like “Magic Man” and “Barracuda” to chart- topping 80s ballads like “Alone,” and all the way up to 2012, when they will release their latest studio album, Fanatic, Heart has been thrilling their fans and producing hit after hit. In Kicking and Dreaming, the Wilsons recount their story as two sisters who have a shared over three decades on the stage, as songwriters, as musicians, and as the leaders of one of our most beloved rock bands. An intimate, honest, and a uniquely female take on the rock and roll life, readers of bestselling music memoirs like Life by Keith Richards and Steven Tyler’s Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? will love this quintessential music story finally told from a female perspective.
Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen is one of the most important and influential musical artists of the past fifty years-and one of the most elusive. In I’m Your Man, journalist Sylvie Simmons, one of the foremost chroniclers of the world of rock ‘n’ roll and popular music, explores the extraordinary life and creative genius of Leonard Cohen. I’m Your Man is an intimate and insightful appreciation of the man responsible for “Suzanne,” “Bird on a Wire,” “Hallelujah,” and so many other unforgettable, oft-covered ballads and songs. Based on Simmons’s unparalleled access to Cohen-and written with her hallmark blend of intelligence, integrity, and style-I’m Your Man is the definitive biography of a major musical artist widely considered in a league with the great Bob Dylan. Readers of Life by Rolling Stone Keith Richards and Patti Smith’s phenomenal Just Kids will be riveted by this fascinating portrait of a singular musical icon.
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