Cyndi Lauper and country music may not seem like a natural fit.
But for the pink-haired pop icon, switching musical gears is as simple as swapping spike heels for cowboy boots.
“The whole foundation of my style came out of Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn,” Lauper, 63, explained. “I don’t think I would be able to sing ‘She Bop’ without learning Patsy Cline (songs). … All those hiccups came out of country and rockabilly.”
Lauper’s latest album, “Detour,” finds the singer-songwriter putting her unmistakable spin on classic country songs from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. She’ll explore that down-home repertoire in concert Tuesday at Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles.
Known for her powerful voice and fearless fashion sense, Lauper soared to success in the 1980s with a string of chart-topping hits including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Time After Time,” “She Bop” and “True Colors.” The Queens native scored her first Grammy Award in 1985, snagging the golden gramophone for best new artist.
Over the decades, Lauper has earned a reputation as an artistic chameleon — experimenting with dance and electronic music on her 2008 album “Bring Ya to the Brink,” channeling the blues on 2010’s “Memphis Blues” and branching into musical theater in the Broadway productions “The Threepenny Opera” and “Kinky Boots.” (On Tuesday, she’ll be accompanied by her “Memphis Blues” tour mate, blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite.)
In 2013, Lauper won the Tony Award for her original score for “Kinky Boots,” becoming the first woman to sweep the category by herself. The “Kinky Boots” Broadway cast album nabbed Lauper her second Grammy, for best musical theater album.
Lauper, who played the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez in 2010, readily acknowledges her penchant for pushing boundaries.
“I don’t want to be a Kewpie doll,” she said, a direct nod to her signature spunky baby-doll voice. “I want to be thoughtful and rock and in your face.”
“And red,” she added with a shout. “Red is the color of signs that say, ‘Do not enter,’ and that’s the door you want to go in!”
With “Detour,” her 11th studio album, Lauper is once again testing her limits by revisiting her roots.
Lauper credits her aunt Gracie with introducing her to Cline, Lynn and other country greats. (Lauper covers two of Cline’s most famous tunes, “I Fall to Pieces” and “Walkin’ After Midnight,” on “Detour.”) But her musical education didn’t stop there, she said, reeling off a list of influences that included Fats Domino, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Tina Turner.
Although seemingly separate, those genres are “all very closely related,” Lauper said. “They tell stories, and it’s those stories (that are) the heart of American music. I sing American music.”
On “Detour,” released in May, Lauper tackles tunes such as Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love,” Guy Mitchell’s “Heartaches by the Number” and Marty Robbins’ “Begging to You” with the help of Vince Gill, Alison Krauss and other country powerhouses.
Lauper even gets an assist from folk singer-turned-country star Jewel, who lends her yodeling skills to a cover of Patsy Montana’s “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.”
“I don’t yodel great,” Lauper aquiesced. “They say Peter Gabriel learned (how to yodel) in three lessons. Let me tell you something — I’m no Peter Gabriel.”
In assembling her dream team for “Detour,” Lauper took inspiration from country legend Dolly Parton, who performs at Vina Robles Amphitheatre on Wednesday. “Everything I did, I kept thinking ‘What would Dolly do?’” Lauper said.
That included recording “Detour” in the birthplace of country music, Nashville, Tennessee.
“When I saw what was going on in Nashville, I immediately fell in love with the fact that ... there’s still a music community there, and they support each other,” Lauper said. “I wanted to work with the Nashville cats, and I got to.”
“It’s pretty wild how the whole thing came together. I feel really blessed that these wonderful, magical artists really sang on a record I was doing … to celebrate country music and how it influenced me,” Lauper said, describing the experience of making “Detour” as “one of the more exciting bucket list items.” “My whole career has been kind of magical.”
As Lauper looks to the future, she sees more thrilling experiences on the horizon. “The only way to be a great singer is (to) go out there and learn and keep learning and keep challenging yourself,” she explained.
“I’m a lifer. When you enter this profession, which is actually a vocation, you’re either in it for the long run or you’re not. Me, I’m in it for the long run,” Lauper said.
And, she added, “I’m really excited about the possibilities” of what’s to come.
8 p.m. Tuesday
Vina Robles Amphitheatre, 3800 Mill Road, Paso Robles
$47.50 to $57.50
805-286-3680 or www.vinaroblesamphitheatre.com