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The soulful side of a warrior princess

Chicago Daily Herald

5 October 2007

By Jamie Sotonoff

Excuse me, is there a butt-kicking warrior princess in town?

Inside a recording studio on Chicago's South Side is blond-haired Lucy Lawless, and she's not screaming Xena's "Ay yi yi yi yi!" war cry or knocking out bad guys with her chakram.


Rather, she's wearing a fluffy scarf and sweetly singing Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" with her daughter nearby. Lawless is rehearsing for her big weekend here, which includes appearances at the Xena Convention in Rosemont, visits with her relatives in Downers Grove and two nearly sold-out concerts at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago.

Yes, Xena sings.

Her set list is filled with blues, pop and soul covers, ranging from Kool & The Gang's "Get Down On It" to Etta James' "Tell Mama," a song which she sings with as much power as Xena ever had.

Lawless has always loved singing, and did it a few times on "Xena: Warrior Princess," the sci fi/fantasy TV show that made her a star in the late 1990s.

She decided to take singing seriously last year after finishing as runner-up on Fox's reality show "Celebrity Duets." On the show, she had a chance to sing with music legends like Smokey Robinson and Bonnie Raitt.

Since then, she's been working with a voice coach to define her style and shed her New Zealand accent .

"My voice likes rock music. My problem is, I can do a lot of things, but I have to find my own voice," says Lawless, who's been listening to artists like Clarence Carter, Nina Simone and Tuck & Patti lately.

"Xena" went off the air in 2001, and Lawless' costume went in the Smithsonian ("next to Fonzie's jacket, in the leather section.")

Yet, the show remains a cult favorite, attracting fans all over the world, also known as the Xenaverse.

With no plans for a Xena reunion show or movie, Lawless considers Xena part of her past.

"I don't miss it. I don't miss anything, as long as I have my kids with me," she said. "I'm having way too good a time."