Spotlight:

William Wittman

February 1st, 2021

By Curtis Newart

William Wittman (Photo credit: Angelo Merendino)

Greetings From William!

Thank you, William! xx Lauperland

Cyndi Lauper & William Wittman Won Grammy Awards

with Stephen Oremus and Sammy James Jr. for Best Musical Theater Album of 2013 for the Original Broadway Cast Recording of KINKY BOOTS. Wittman's statue is for Producer/ Engineer/ Mixer.

 

The album premiered at number one on the Billboard Cast Albums Chart and number fifty-one on the Billboard 200 Chart.

The "Sex Is In The Heel" remix was the first Broadway song to hit the Top 10 of Billboard's Dance/Club Play Top 200 in 25 years, when it reached #6 on the chart on September 8th, 2012.

Cyndi Lauper, Stephen Oremus, William Wittman and Sammy James Jr accept their Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album of 2013 for KINKY BOOTS (Jan, 2014) (Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian)

Kinky Boots (Broadway cast album) (2013) © Sony Music Entertainment

Kinky Boots Orchestra (Courtesy W. Wittman)

Kinky Boots Wins Best Musical Theater Album | GRAMMYs

Based in New York,

Wittman has worked with Lauper since the stellar success of her album She's So Unusual in 1983.

"The first time I met Cyndi, we attended a meeting at the CBS Building in New York," said Wittman. "When we were leaving, we had to sign the book at the security desk. As we walked away, the security guard called out to Cyndi asking if she was really the name that she signed. She said 'yeah'. She had signed the name Ella Fitzgerald".

He and Rick Chertoff produced the album, with fellow musicians Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian of The Hooters playing, singing and arranging.

She's So Unusual hit number four on the Billboard 200 chart and stayed in their top forty for 65 weeks. 

It sold 16 million units worldwide.

Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual (1983) © Sony Music Entertainment

how She's So Unusual Got Its Name

In celebration of She's So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration album, Lauper and her band set out on a 55-city tour. Listen below to hear her describe how Wittman influenced the name of her debut solo album.

Cyndi Lauper - Front and Center © 2014 Front and Center Entertainment LLC / MTV Live (Source: YouTube)

Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual: A 30th Anniversary Celebration © Sony Music Entertainment

Cyndi Lauper - Witness © 2014 Front and Center Entertainment LLC / MTV Live (Source: YouTube)

Wittman has Also worked with Lauper

on each of her albums since Hat Full of Stars in 1993, including Sisters of Avalon, Merry Christmas ... Have a Nice Life, Shine, At Last, Bring Ya To The Brink, Memphis Blues, and Detour.

Clockwise, from top left: At Last, Sisters of Avalon, Hat Full of Stars, Memphis Blues, Detour, and The Body Acoustic. © Sony Music Entertainment

Cyndi Lauper - At Last (from Live...At Last DVD) © 2004 Sony Music Entertainment

"As a recording engineer and producer

I’ve learned from the best, but every time I’m faced with a sonic or musical choice I ask myself ‘what would Wittman do?'"

-Eric Bazilian (The Hooters)

The Hooters - Fightin' On The Same Side © Eighty Percent Records (1981)

"ROck Pygmy"

"For some of the time that I was making She’s So Unusual, I was also making an album with Clarence Clemons," said Wittman. 

"Clarence was a great guy. Bruce Springsteen was a big part of those sessions too, coming in to play on a few songs. That’s in part how I got to do the first mixes for the Born In The USA album."

 

"A bunch of us at Record Plant Studios in New York City developed a weird little practice. We would take the long wooden cotton swabs used to clean tape machine heads, sharpen the ends with a razor blade, then shoot them out of drinking straws like a blowgun."

 

"At first we shot at speaker grills or targets, but eventually we progressed, or devolved, into mini warfare with each other."

William Wittman and Clarence Clemons (Courtesy W. Wittman)

"When you’re locked up for 12 to 16 hours a day, six days a week with people making records, you can get a little stir crazy," said Wittman.

"One day, Clarence had enough of the blowgun warfare, so he picked me up and carried me out onto 44th street, all in good fun. That’s when he started calling me the rock Pygmy. Cyndi picked it up and credited me like that for my guitar playing on 'She Bop'."

William Wittman (1974)

Wittman was the Chief Engineer at several major recording studios in New York City, before serving as a staff producer and "A&R weasel" at RCA/BMG and at Columbia/Sony.

TOO MUCH JOY

"In the early 90s I produced an album for seminal alternative band Too Much Joy," said Wittman.

 

"I ended up writing with them and occasionally performing with them. When the bass guitarist left the band I joined the band full time. We made a few more albums together and then took a break."

Twenty-five years later, we got back together, mostly remotely, and made what I think is our best album, Mistakes Were Made."

The album is available for pre-order now on CD, vinyl and digital download.

Pre-order MISTAKES WERE MADE now!

Too Much Joy (Clockwise from top left: William Wittman, Jay Blumenfield, Tommy Vinton, and Tim Quirk) (1995) (Photo credit: Robert Lewis)

Too Much Joy - Pong (2020)

New from Too Much Joy!

Too Much Joy - mistakes were made.jpg

Too Much Joy - Mistakes Were Made 

Pre-order now!

NEW VIDEO! Too Much Joy "Blinding Light Of Love" (2021)

"I had worked with Cyndi

in the studio and played on her records as well as engineering or producing but I had not played live with her until the late nineties," said Wittman.

 

She said, 'You play live with Too Much Joy, so why not with me?'"

Wittman agreed, and has toured internationally with Lauper since 2000 as the Music Director of her band.

Cyndi Lauper and William Wittman (Courtesy W. Wittman)

Cyndi Lauper and William Wittman while on tour with Sir Rod Stewart in Mansfield, MA (July 15, 2017) (Photo credit: Colin McLeod)

Lauper and band (L to R: Allison Cornell, William Wittman, Cyndi Lauper, Kat Dyson, Sammy Merendino, Steve Gaboury) (2002) (Courtesy W. Wittman)

William Wittman and Cyndi Lauper (Photo credit: Colin McLeod)

Cyndi Lauper and William Wittman (2016) (Courtesy W. Wittman)

Kat Dyson, Cyndi Lauper and William Wittman (Photo credit: Colin McLeod)

William Wittman (Music Director), Cyndi Lauper and Marilyn Manson during Cyndi Lauper & Friends: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS rehearsal in LA (2019) (Photo credit: Joe Barbarisi)

As Music Director of Cyndi Lauper and Friends: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS since its inception in 2010, Wittman's worked with P!nk, KeshaAdam Lambert, Billy PorterBebe Rexha, Boy George, Henry Rollins, Belinda Carlisle, Billy Corgan, Perry Farrell, Ani Difranco, Paulina Rubio, and Natalie Merchant.

NEW FROM WIttman:

"Wear A Mask"

"I wrote this song in response to Van Morrison and Eric Clapton's anti-mask song," said Wittman. "My message is 'Let's do what we have to do to get COVID-19 under control -  wear a fucking mask!'"

Wittman enlisted Bazilian to play the guitar solo, and Dave Earl (Lightning Strike) to sing.

(WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE)

William Wittman - Wear A Mask (Warning: Explicit Language)

Download WEAR A MASK on Apple Music now!

Wittman Co-Produced The Album Shine With Lauper,

and co-wrote the tracks "Shine", "It's Hard To Be Me", and "Madonna Whore".

Cyndi Lauper - Shine (2002) © Sony Music Entertainment

Cyndi Lauper - Shine (Great Wall of China)

Cyndi Lauper - It's Hard To Be Me

Bring Ya To The Brink

Cyndi Lauper - Bring Ya to the Brink (2008) © Sony Music Entertainment

Wittman co-wrote "Echo" with Lauper, Peer Åström and Johan Bobäck, and produced "Can't Breathe" (bonus track on the Japanese Special Edition).

Cyndi Lauper - Echo

Long-time musician Wittman

produced and engineered multi-platinum albums for Joan Osborne, The Hooters, and The Outfield, plus records for Mick JaggerBob Dylan, Ricky MartinPat Benatar, Lita Ford, The Fixx, and Hunter Valentine.

Clockwise, from top left: Invincible, Relish, Play Deep, Collide & Conquer, Bangin', and Nervous Night.

Wittman produced and mixed the Grammy Award-nominated song "Invincible (Theme From The Legend Of Billie Jean)" from Pat Benatar's album Seven The Hard Way.

The song hit #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 14th, 1985

Pat Benatar - Invincible (Official Video) (1985)

Wittman also served as engineer and mixer on the album Warrior by Scandal featuring Patty Smyth. The song "The Warrior" peaked at #7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 22nd, 1984.

Wittman and Chertoff produced Smyth’s next album, Never Enough.

Scandal ft. Patty Smyth - The Warrior (1984)

Wittman served as the producer and engineer (in addition to providing vocals) on the album Play Deep by The Outfield.

The single "Your Love" spent 22 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number six, and went double platinum.

The Outfield - Your Love (Official Video) (1985)

Mick Jagger - Hard Woman (1985)

Bob Dylan - Series of Dreams (1991)

Wittman lives in Westchester, NY,

with his wife, author Barbara Ellen Solomon (Barbara Elle). He's a divemaster, fencer and cook. He also writes for Production Expert and participates in their podcasts at Pro Tools Expert.

William Wittman with his wife, author Barbara Ellen Solomon (Barbara Elle) at the 56th annual Grammy™ Awards (2014).

HOT SEAT

William Wittman (Photo credit: Dallyn Pavey)

Breakfast cereal: coffee


Next Halloween costume: human (they’re so cute)


Birthday wish: REAL end to the pandemic


Fave cartoon: Mr. Natural


Fave movie: Animal Crackers (the Marx Brothers)


Fave song: First Girl I Loved (The Incredible String Band)


Celebrity run-in: All 4 Beatles (separately though)


Celebrity crush: Thandie Newton


Fragrance: Habit Rouge


What do you drive: Volvo 


Pet peeve: bad grammar


Room service food: club sandwich

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Lauperland is dedicated, with love, to

CYNDI LAUPER

Mom.Activist.Singer.Songwriter.Actor.

True Colors United Co-Founder

Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee

Tony™ Award Winner

Grammy™ Awards Winner

Emmy™ Award Winner

Billboard Icon Award Winner

NY Times Best-selling Author

MTV Video Music Awards Winner

American Music Awards Winner

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