Exclusive: Linda Perry on her new VH1 show, Pink, and her issue with 'American Idol'
Linda Perry is nothing if not passionate. She is best known as the front woman for 4 Non Blondes, as well as writer and/or producer of some of the most popular songs of the last 20 years, including Pink’s “Get the Party Started,” Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and Faith Hill’s “Cry.”
Now fans will get to see her in action on her new VH1 series, “Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project,” which debuts July 16. In the 10-week summer series, she coaches several acts she has handpicked on how to write songs, how to record, how to perform, and how to navigate this tricky industry. She is doggedly honest and forthright. She will select one of the artists to sign to her own label.
We recently talked to Perry at her studio in Los Angeles, where the show takes place. She had very strong opinions about how her show will different from other singing competitions, such as “American Idol” and “The Voice.”
Her objection to such shows isn’t that most of these winners aren’t writing their own material, but that the talent level isn’t high enough. “The majority, 89% of the ‘artists’ that show up on these shows would never, ever be sought out by a label or management or agency and said, ‘you are spectacular, we’re going to sign you’ at their local karaoke club in Bumf**k, Michigan. And that’s the truth.”
She’s a little harsh on “American Idol”—- most of us can definitely name several artists who launched their careers from “Idol” aside from Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, but her greater point is that her show will pull back the curtain on how the process works… from songwriting to recording…and reveal the blood and guts it takes to be a true artist.
She’s doing the show not only for the contestants, but to help those watching at home. “If I inspired some 14 year old to not go down the route of selling perfume and using music as a promotional tool and she decided, ‘You know what, I’m not going to take that casting call job, I’m going to sit here in my room that truly inspire me because I’m going to trust that my emotions speak for me’,” then she says she has succeeded.
She promises we will see her unfiltered on the show: “What you’re going to see on the show is exactly how I am with who ever, if it were was Christina, Pink, Alicia Keys, whoever. That’s exactly how I am.”
Speaking of Pink, Perry, who produced much of Pink’s “Missundaztood” album and wrote “Get The Party Started,” had a falling out with Pink after she went on to work with other artists, including Aguilera. The two have since made up and Perry says she would love to work with her again:
“I would love it, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I would absolutely welcome it and love it because I really really love that girl, so who knows.”
We also asked her what advice she would give Aguilera, who has had great success as a guest on songs by Maroon 5 and A Great Big World, but has struggled a little bit lately. In addition to producing Aguilera, Perry wrote one of her biggest hits, “Beautiful.”
An episode of "Behind The Music" on Perry will also air July 16.