Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Her Party's Started: No Longer One of 4 Non Blondes, Linda Perry Has Found New Success as a Songwriter and Producer for Megastars like Pink and Christina Aguilera. (Music)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Her Party's Started: No Longer One of 4 Non Blondes, Linda Perry Has Found New Success as a Songwriter and Producer for Megastars like Pink and Christina Aguilera. (Music)

Article excerpt

Everywhere you went in 1993, the question was "What's Up?" Radios blared the song's chorus, somewhere between a yodel and a battle cry: "Hey-yay-yay-ay, hey-yay-ya-a-ay/And I say, hey, What's goin' on?" In the mouth of out singer-songwriter Linda Perry, fronting the San Francisco band 4 Non Blondes, the question was not rhetorical. Whatever was going on, you knew she damn well planned to find out.

Restlessness personified, Perry broke up the band after just one hit album: Bigger, Better, Faster, More! She released a 1996 solo album, In Flight, that didn't do well, and soon after, she seemed to fall off the map.

Then in 2001 a young singer named Pink massacred the charts with a big, brassy dance hit called "Get the Party Started"--and we discovered that the genius behind the party was none other than Linda Perry, the song's cowriter and a producer of Pink's monster hit album, M!ssundaztood. Triumphantly reborn as a sizzling-hot producer, Perry has since produced a chunk of Christina Aguilera's new record, and there's talk of a collaboration with Courtney Love.

So it was no surprise that when Perry performed on a recent night at Hollywood's edgy club the Knitting Factory, both Pink and Aguilera were in the house--and took the stage to sing Perry-penned songs. It was a show the audience of about 200 friends and fans will never forget. With the energy of a kid on a trampoline, Perry delivered original after original in a voice powerful enough to peel back the eyelids. Then, for good measure, she came back to re-create the soaring screams of Robert Plant in an electrifying nine-song Led Zeppelin set.

So when will Perry take her superlative talent back into the spotlight? Not anytime soon, she insists in this E-mailed Q&A--one of the few interviews she's given in many months. Having found success in the background, she prefers to stay there. We'll see. From where we sit, Linda Perry has always known what's up. And the rest of the world is finally catching on.

Being a woman, was it harder to get where you wanted to be in the music business?

I never found being a woman made my career harder or easier. What I have found is that being a strong-minded individual can be threatening.

After 4 Non Blondes, a lot of artists would have tried to keep their work exactly the same. But you chose to make your own solo album [In Flight], and after that you produced a movie. What gave you that strength to keep risking and doing brand-new things?

I believe that we are all meant to take risks, make changes, and fight for what we believe in. My strength comes from the ability to believe in myself. I make my decisions based on my gut feelings. Sometimes I make mistakes, and sometimes I succeed, but that's the nature of the game. I am very proud of the work I've done in the past, and I look forward to the work I will do in the future. One thing's for sure: I will never have any regrets or find myself saying, "What if? …

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