P!nk Talks Putting Her Kids Before Her Career, Her Horrible 1st Contract, and Why She Believes in an Afterlife
P!nk Talks Putting Her Kids Before Her Career, Her Horrible 1st Contract, and Why She Believes in an Afterlife
Grammy winner also performs live on the Stern Show including her new hit “Trustfall”
While the world knows P!nk as one of the most successful recording artists of all time, she’s got another job far more important to her than her music: being a mom. She stopped by the Stern Show studio on Wednesday to talk to Howard about how she balances commitment to her family with her career, one that’s now spanned over two decades and earned her a mile-long list of hit songs.
“Creatively I am always … trying to be better,” P!nk said of her professional drive. But real-life problems come for even the biggest of superstars. She told Howard about perhaps the most challenging moment that happened during her “Beautiful Trauma World Tour” a few years back.
“The first year of that tour was impossible. And it shaved off a couple years of my life, and it broke my heart, and it made me question everything,” P!nk said, explaining both she and her two children were dealing with repeated illnesses and injuries while out on the road that eventually caused her to cancel some of her scheduled concerts. Some in the press were far from sympathetic.
“There’s newspapers saying I’m fucking off on a beach somewhere and I’m literally like dying and I’m trying to get well. And I take it so seriously. If you look at my track record, I never cancel. I’ve gone on stage bleeding, with separated shoulders – I never cancel,” P!nk said.
Remembering that difficult time caused P!nk to get emotional, not necessarily from her own pain but for the pain it caused her kids.
“This is why it’s so important that we’re all so close,” she said while looking around at her band and backup singers. “We all have lives outside of this and we’ve been together for so long … we go through stuff and sometimes we have to take a break.”
Early in her career, P!nk was actually discouraged from having children by someone in the industry since it could tarnish her image as a pop star. It was advice she wasn’t looking for and certainly didn’t follow. “Having a family was important to me and being a mom is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever gotten to do. These kids are fucking delicious,” she exclaimed.
With her ninth studio album “Trustfall” now out and climbing the charts, P!nk is preparing to once again go out on the road, but this time with a much better understanding of just how far she can push herself. Howard wondered if she could’ve ever dreamed she’d still be touring at this point when she was a little girl.
“I have a pretty big imagination, but no. Not this big,” she replied.
Early Career Choices and Setbacks
Before she was a mother and world-renowned pop star, P!nk, born Alecia Moore, was a young teenager trying to make it in the all-girl R&B group Choice. At some point, her then-record label gave her an ultimatum to either go solo or lose her contract, but with one stipulation: she wasn’t allowed to tell her bandmates the full story. “I had to tell them that I wanted to go solo. That was the deal,” she recalled to Howard before reciting what an executive told her. “‘I’ll shelve you for the rest of your life, I’ll never let you out of your contract, you’ll never do anything.’”
Faced with the hard decision, P!nk broke things off with the group. “I went into the room with my managers first who managed all three of us and I told them what was going on and they said, ‘Well, you have to do it,’” the singer remembered. “And then they went into the room with the girls and said, ‘She’s a fucking cunning cunt and she’s about to break your heart’ and then everyone disappeared. I had no record deal, I had no management, and then I was homeless.”
Just 17 and with no experience in the business, the artist had to rebuild. “I basically renogiated my own contract for an outfit … and I got a job at a gas station, then I moved to the Bronx with these guys, and we all got publishing deals together,” she said.
Though P!nk wanted to part ways with her management, it was anything but a clean break. “They sued me for all of my money,” she revealed, highlighting the financial impact it had on her despite the monster success of her sophomore album, “Missundaztood.” “I’d sold like 16 million records, and I was broke, like penniless.”
What’s up With Linda Perry?
As a teenager in the suburbs of Philadelphia, P!nk was heavily inspired by the 4 Non Blondes album “Bigger, Better, Faster, More!” – particularly the songwriting of frontwoman Linda Perry. “I used to trip on acid at 12 and 13 years old and sing out of the attic ‘Drifting’ at the top of my lungs until the cops were called because her voice — I could feel myself in her.”
With that in mind, the singer sought out Perry when she needed a producer for “Missundaztood.” “Everyone was like, ‘Why the fuck are you looking for Linda Perry?’” she remembered. “I was like, ‘You don’t understand … that woman saved my life.’”
But, after working together on two albums, along with Perry’s success with artists including Christina Aguilera, the pair had their struggles. “[Our] relationship was very complicated,” P!nk admitted to Howard. “She always said I burst her bubble and she was so much happier when she was left alone and that she never wanted any of this.”
The singer insists their falling out had nothing to do with Aguilera, who Perry gave the hugely successful ballad “Beautiful” to instead of her. “[Perry is] so talented and she just went on to be all these things and that was the part that hurt, it had nothing to do with Christina, it had to do with all of it,” she explained.
In fact, P!nk admits the song did go to the right person in the long run. “One great thing about Linda is she will pull perfection out of you, and she did that with Christina … that song ended up where it was supposed to be,” she told Howard. “It found its home.”
Never Meet Your Heroes?
With more than 20 years in the music business, P!nk has met some of the industry’s biggest names. While interactions with the likes of Stevie Nicks have gone swimmingly, others have not. “Madonna doesn’t like me,” the singer said matter-of-factly on Wednesday. “Some people just don’t like me … I’m a polarizing individual.”
As P!nk remembers it, the issue stems from when the two stars met at “Live! with Regis and Kelly” in 2003. “She tried to kind of play me … and I’m not the one, so [it] didn’t work out,” she told Howard. “She was such an inspiration to me, but it sort of got twisted around that I was like fangirling and was dying to meet Madonna, when in actuality she invited me into her dressing room. And so, I just said a joke when Regis brought me out … I’m like, ‘I thought she wanted to meet me.’”
Despite the failed meeting, the “Trustfall” singer is still a fan. “I fucking love Madonna and I love her no matter what,” she confessed of the Queen of Pop.
P!nk and … Bobby McGee?
One hero P!nk never got a chance to meet was Janis Joplin, who died of an accidental overdose at the age of 27. At one point, P!nk was rumored to be playing the rock icon in a major motion picture, but the project never materialized. “I think, honestly, Janis doesn’t want it made,” she said before offering other theories. “I think there’s a lot of things that go into that. I think it’s a lot harder to get a biopic done about a female – that’s why we don’t have that many.”
Another issue, according to P!nk, is that producers seemingly wanted to alter Joplin’s story. “They want to make it a happy ending – it’s not a happy ending,” she noted. “I mean, it’s a completion, but it’s not the truth … I wasn’t there, I can’t say the whole story, but it certainly wasn’t a happy ending.”
P!nk’s Relationship With Her Father
When Howard played the singer a performance she did with her father, James, who passed away from prostate cancer in 2021, she was visibly moved. “It makes me so happy,” P!nk said as she listened to “I Have Seen the Rain,” a song he wrote while stationed in Vietnam.
The song brings up fond memories for P!nk. “I had such a good childhood in a lot of ways,” the artist, whose parents divorced before she was 10, revealed. “Growing up as a veteran’s kid was a cool thing … to see grown men hug and cry and dance and sing, and bonfires and kegs and campouts — I mean, true family.”
The first track off “Trustfall,” “When I Get There,” is about her father. “I wonder if he’s sitting with all my buddies,” P!nk said of the song’s background. “It’s a nice thought, right? We want to think there’s something beyond this … that we’re not all just little ants meaninglessly walking around doing dumb shit … I want to think, you know, that he’s my angel.”
Before James passed, he told his daughter what he wanted to come back as in his next life. “He goes, ‘Well, I’m a pilot, honey, so I’d like to be a bird of flight … or a cannibal chipmunk,’ and I was like, ‘We’re going to let that be the morphine,’” P!nk remembered.
After her father’s death, when the singer was quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic, P!nk discovered he just might have gotten his wish. “I heard a commotion, and I looked on the dining room table – there was a hawk, and it was staring at me, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, Dad!’” she revealed. “Every time I walk out of my house, this fucking hawk follows me all the way anywhere I’m going ‘til I get where I’m going and then he flies away, so I’m a believer.”
‘What About Us’
Some might have trouble hitting the high notes during their early-morning Stern Show performances – not P!nk, though. “Just give me the mic,” she said with a laugh. “It’s different, but I like it because it gives me my rasp back – when I quit smoking, I lost all the cool in my voice … when you sing in the morning, I’m like, ‘Ah, there’s that dirty, dirty rasp.’”
First on the setlist was “What About Us” from her 2017 album “Beautiful Trauma.” “I think that this is a time in the world where we need to be together and stand up for ourselves and others,” she said of the song’s message. “I always say the only way forward is diversity and inclusivity and we are a traveling city of diversity and inclusivity … we concentrate on what we have in common instead of what we don’t.”
“Fuckin’ Perfect” is one of two original songs from P!nk’s 2010 compilation album, “Greatest Hits… So Far!!!” It came about as she was preparing for the birth of her daughter, her firstborn. “I was fucking scared,” the artist admitted. “I wanted to explain myself before they came out … I wanted to tell this person about myself and tell them what I was going to think about them … I wanted to give them some love.”
But once the song came out, P!nk soon learned that the love she wrote about was being received by her audience. “I realized that other people were getting that from me and now I’m like a mom to all,” she told Howard. “It’s about me, and it’s about you. It’s like, we have this idea of ‘perfect’ and I think the messiness … that’s the perfection.”
Even though the record company tweaked the single version title to “Perfect,” the singer maintains it didn’t bother her. “They’ve been bleeping me my whole life,” she joked.
Closing things out with the title track from her new album, P!nk spoke of the song’s inspiration. “I think it requires a lot of trust just to even leave the house these days,” she said of “Trustfall.” “We all feel like we’re falling backwards, and we don’t know where the ground is, and that’s such an unsettling feeling.”
Channeling her “inner psychologist,” the singer continued. “Who do we trust? What do we fall for? What are we jumping for? Who do you trust around you to catch you? Do you trust yourself? Do you know you can handle this?” she wondered before adding, “and that’s where ‘Trustfall’ comes in, ‘cause I feel like we’re falling.”
P!nk’s new album “TRUSTFALL” is available now. For more info on her upcoming world tour, click here.