This two-time Grammy nominee’s career has taken Cidny Bullens from singing back-up on multiple tours with Elton John and singing lead vocals on the “Grease” movie soundtrack to having nine critically acclaimed solo albums to writing and performing his one-person show Somewhere Between: Not An Ordinary Life and writing his memoir. And oh boy, Cid’s life has been anything but ordinary.
Born Cindy Bullens in Boston, Massachusetts, she, as a young female, yearned to be a rock ‘n roll star. In 1974, she landed in Los Angeles and after a few months of pumping gas and hanging around recording studios, she crashed a party where she met Elton John. That same night, he asked her to go on the road with him. A week later she was singing on stage with the most famous rock star on earth in front of 30,000 of people.
Cidny’s life is the stuff of fiction. The androgynous female electric guitar player startled the music industry with her Mick Jagger lips and moves, her raw but crafty songs, and her wild spirit. In the late 1979, she released her first album Desire Wire on United Artists Records for which her single “Survivor” garnered Cindy a Grammy nomination. It was a promising start, but the label folded and ultimately the record business did not know what to do with her. After several attempts at signing to a new label, Cindy retreated, got married to her best guy friend, and moved back East to start a family. Cindy always felt like she was living in the wrong body. But there no viable options for her at the time. Her best friend was a gay man. Though they knew they were bucking the odds, Cindy had two daughters and the couple moved to Westport, Connecticut to try to fit in. A few years later, feeling crushed by the pressures of the Connecticut Gold Coast, they moved to Portland, Maine. Soon after, in December of 1995, their ten-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s disease. Jessie died in March,1996 leaving Cindy and her family devastated.
Cindy picked up her guitar once again and over the next two years wrote her critically acclaimed and self-described legacy album Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth (Artemis Records 1999). Cindy wrote it for herself, portraying a mother’s grief in ten five minute deep, honest windows into what it’s like to lose a child and live on yourself. She never imagined that it would find its way into the mainstream. The award-winning Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth garnered world-wide press and critical acclaim and landed Cindy on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
The experience of Jessie’s death and this body of songs placed Cindy into colleges and universities, medical schools, physician’s conferences, and workshops on Death and Dying, where she told her story and performed the songs. She also performed many concerts for bereaved parents all over the world. Cindy also returned to touring world-wide and made three subsequent solo albums and in 2007 formed the trio The Refugees with Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Wendy Waldman and singer/songwriter Deborah Holland from Animal Logic.
Then in 2011, at the age of 61, she could no longer ignore what had been her lifelong core issue. Cindy changed her name to Cidny and started her transition from female to male. Cidny came out publicly in June, 2012 in an article published by The Daily Beast.
In 2014, Cid began writing his one person show Somewhere Between: Not An Ordinary Life. In seeking some help to get it in good form, Cid turned to Tanya Taylor Rubinstein, a renowned solo show and memoir coach. Tanya is now Cid’s wife. Cid performed his show around the country to rave reviews from 2016-2018, when he began to write songs for what he hoped would be his first album as a man. Walkin’ Through This World, recorded in Nashville with producer Ray Kennedy, was released in late 2020. As with Cid’s other works, this album received much attention and acclaim.
Documentary film director T.J. Parsell and film producer Bill Brimm came to see a performance of Somewhere Between: Not An Ordinary Life in Nashville in 2018. A few weeks later, they were shooting Cid for the feature documentary Invisible: Gay Women in Southern Music. Cid’s story so impressed the director that he made a documentary short called The Gender Line (a line/song from Cid’s show). In 2019-20 the award-winning The Gender Line screened at over 25 film festivals around the world.
In 2021, Cid signed a book publishing deal with The Chicago Review Press for his memoir TransElectric: My Life as a Cosmic Rock Star (2023). Also in 2023, with his band the Refugees, he recorded the new album California, a celebration of of songs from the classic Southern California bands of the 1960's, as well as a new single — "Not With You" — a duet featuring multi-Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman released by Kill Rock Stars Nashville.