Pink, at only 19, is a young woman with the experience of many lifetimes, I’m a very extreme person. I went through a lot of phases growing up, and for every one, I was extreme, confides Pink, the latest R&B/pop artist to emerge from the hugely successful, LaFace Records camp. From skateboarder to hip-hopper to rave child to lead singer of a rock band – I did it all, and all at the same time.
Looking at Pink, it’s easy to believe that she skillfully mastered each of her extremes. With a shock of pink hair, sharply focused blue eyes hinting of a rebellious streak and an abundance of self-confidence, but she is also a bewildered girl who is just now finding her place on this planet, a strong person with a million lessons to teach and even more to learn. She’s seen a lot, done a lot, and she now stands on the fault line between the angst of adolescence and the knowledge of adulthoodAnd thus, Pink is filled with self-discovery, having written over half of the dozen songs on her self-titled album herself Pink offers insight into her tumultuous world where life is not always flowers and chocolateI decided at 15 that I didn’t want to be one of those artists that gets up and sings love songs they don’t mean, Pink explains of the songs that appear on her debut album. I decided that I was going to be me to the fullest extent, that my songs were going to reflect relationships I’ve had, things I’ve been through, and even the stuff I’m embarrassed about
My dad always played guitar and taught me songs by Dylan and McLean, Pink recalls. But his love of music left an indelible mark on Pink. Ever since I can remember, I think before I could talk, I sang she continues. I just ran around the house making up my own fantasy world.
By the time she was barely a teen, Pink had navigated the precarious waters of the Philly club scene. Any time not spent testing authority at high school was spent tearing up the dance floor, and eventually, the stage.
I met this guy named Skratch, who was the best dancer in Philly, she says of her thirteenth year. I started dancing with him and eventually I was singing hooks in the background for his rap group, Schools of Thought. I wrote some of my own stuff, about the way it was growing up in Philly. We would just get up on the stage at clubs, and hang out in studios hoping to get some songs down on tape. At the time, making music was medicine.
Calling upon Mary, Janis Joplin, the Supremes, Shirley Murdock, Donna Hathaway and Madonna for inspiration, Pink laid down her first self-written song at fourteen. But she really got her groove on not in the studio, but in clubs. I went regularly on Friday nights to Club Fever, where the DJ gave me a guest spotlight, Pink laughs. My little five minutes on Friday night was all I wanted out of life. I loved the thrill of being on stage. It was the only place that I felt like, okay, I’m cool now. Being heckled only boosted Pink’s ambitions.
One late Friday night, a rep from MCA came round the club, looking for a singer to fill out her new R&B group. She liked Pink’s sound, and asked her to audition for a group called Basic Instinct. She got the gig practically on the spot, but the group fizzled quickly. I didn’t fit in, quips Pink. But I didn’t care. You have to laugh at stuff like that. And anyway, I don’t see myself as belonging to any group.
Nonetheless, another group instantly snapped up Pink as one of three female leads. This one, named Choice, made a ten-cent demo and was immediately signed to LaFace. The group didn’t last – one wanted to sing Broadway tunes, the other wanted to make alternative records and Pink wanted to do it all – but Pink’s place in the LaFace stable was solidified. In fact, it was during studio time with Choice in Atlanta that Pink rediscovered her writing abilities and hooked up Darryl Simmons. He asked me to write the bridge for ‘Just to be Loving You’ I thought that was so cool, because no one had even asked me if I wrote. So I just closed my eyes and out it came. I wrote that, and it was the beginning of my career.
It was also the emergence of Pink’s powerful soprano, which is capable of taking sharp dives and hairpin turns through multiple octaves. I had gotten really good at emulating other people’s sounds, from singing at the clubs, she says. But the day we recorded ‘Just to Be Loving You’ for Choice in the studio, that song was so beautiful, I just sang. I didn’t care what I sounded like. It just came out and shocked me
Pink began writing songs to display her vocal ability and love of the pop side of R&B at a feverish pace. When she approached L.A. Reid with her songs, he was floored. I kept playing him my songs and going, What about this one? What about these? she remembers. And he was like, yeah, I like that one, yeah that’s a single. He looked at me as a self-contained unit, which he thought was interesting. It’s always been really cool with him. Reid signed Pink up as a solo artist and hooked her up with various writing partners – from She’ kspeare to, Babyface and 112There U Go the debut single, which displays the versatility of her voice and the wickedness of her plume, will undoubtedly place Pink on the map.
If this is just the surface, we can’t wait to see what mysteries lurk below.