No one is more surprised than Linda Perry when one of the hit pop songs she’s written, whether it’s Pink’s “Get the Party Started” or Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” roars out of a radio or in a club. “I’m not pop,” she says. “I don’t even know how I got in there, because my true self is dark rock & roll. I love the Velvet Underground. I love Zeppelin. I’m in that area. It’s super funny that I got into this whole pop world, because it’s not where I live. But maybe that’s why it makes me interesting.”
Pop tunesmith is only one of Perry’s many careers. Since becoming famous as a member of 4 Non Blondes in the late Eighties, Perry not only survived one-hit-wonder status in the ’90s with “What’s Up” but went on to remake herself as an A-list songwriter and producer, working with a diverse group of acts from Miley Cyrus to Weezer. This year, Perry is up for a Grammy in the Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) category for her work on albums by teenaged singer Willa Amai and rocker Dorothy, as well as for the soundtrack to Served Like A Girl, a documentary about female military veterans that includes Perry-helmed songs by Pink, Aguilera and others.
Perry, 53, is currently wrapping up an album with Natasha Bedingfield. She’s also been curating charity events for Haitian relief and victims of last year’s California wildfires. She took a break in a relentlessly crammed schedule to look back at the 15 songs and productions that shaped her career and life.