Elton’s Former Backup Singer On ”Blue Moves” And A Red Piano
Cidny Bullens (formerly ”Cindy”) was one of Elton’s backing vocalists on the Rock of the Westies and Louder Than Concorde (But Not Quite as Pretty) tours. They have done other projects together as well, which Cidny discussed with Eltonjohn.world.
EJW: When Elton played Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, for three shows last year, you attended two of them. Since you were part of his band when he performed at the venue in 1975, this must have brought back amazing memories.
CB: It was an incredible experience. My mind was like a split screen. one part watching him from the audience (up close, with great seats), and one part back in 1975, when I was just stage right of the piano. Of course the technical aspects of those two experiences were very different. But the emotional aspects were similar to me. I was humbled to be on the stage with him all those years ago, and I was humbled to be there in 2022, and to have been a part of his history.
EJW: Besides touring, you sang on a couple of outstanding Blues Moves tracks: Chameleon and Crazy Water. What was it like to do an album with Elton?
CB: It was wonderful to be asked to sing on one of his records [I also did backing vocals on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart].
I watched Elton sing the lead vocals on several of the songs, stunned by how quickly he could capture the depth and tone or spirit of a particular song. With Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word, I wanted to cry. That’s still one of my favourite songs.
EJW: You have gone to release your own recordings, one being Walkin’ Through This World, the first since you transitioned from ”Cindy” to ”Cidny.” Five years later (in 2005), your album dream #29 came out, with one track, 7 Days, featuring the vocals of Tim Wakefield, who was a Boston Red Sox pitcher. You also got Elton to play on the title track, right?
CB: I had always wanted Elton to do something on one of my records, but had never asked him. Dream #29 just screamed for his piano! He had always been super-supportive of my career, always encouraging me to continue . . . even when I was having my kids in the eighties and not really doing much in music.
I got up the nerve to ask Elton, and he said yes. So I flew to Las Vegas, where he doing his Red Piano residency, with a track of the song in my computer. We actually recorded his part in the theatre at Caesars Palace while he played it on the red piano!
EJW: Besides solo work, you have a band called The Refugees. In fact, you have a new album coming out soon. What is the music like?
CB: Wendy Waldman, Deborah Holland and I have been singing together since 2007. Wendy is a Grammy nominated singer/songwriter (she wrote Save the Best for Last, the Vanessa Williams hit) and Deborah was in Animal Logic with Stewart Copeland (of the Police) and jazz bass player, Stanley Clarke.
California is our fourth album. I had the idea of doing a compilation album, singing some of those great songs from the iconic bands that came out of California in the 1960s and early 70s–the Byrds; the Flying Burrito Brothers; Crosby, Stills & Nash; The Mamas & the Papas; the Beach Boys. . . .
EJW: Your autobiography, TransElectric: My Life as a Cosmic Rock Star, is also on its way–for which Elton penned the foreword.
CB: Elton, as I stated earlier, has always been there for me personally and professionally. When people ask me what it was like to sing with him those many years ago, I answer that the best part of that experience is that we have remained friends. He and David [Furnish] felt it was important to get my story out there. And perhaps help others to have a better understanding of what it is to be transgender.
My memoir goes through it all–the early parts with Elton and others; my family life and the tragedy of losing my 11-year-old daughter to cancer; and into my in my later life.
Having Elton’s words and his blessing is a gift!