She’s so good at being bad: After two and a half years, singer and songwriter Pink is back with a critically acclaimed new CD—lettingloose with another rebel yell.
The 26-year-old singer is one of the most successful and colorful pop artists in recent years. And now, she’s daring to deliver a saucy slap in the face to everyone’s favorite tabloid starlets.
Her latest single, “Stupid Girls,” is ruffling some feathers. In the video, Pink takes on some boldface names—spoofing fellow celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, the Olsen twins, and Paris Hilton.
Matt Lauer, NBC News: So what did Paris Hilton ever do to you?Pink: (laughter) let’s just get right into it.Lauer: Yeah. Let’s get right in here. Paris Hilton seems like a pretty nice girl.Pink: Yeah, I’m sure she is. I was using examples to attack a mentality that I find nauseating.
Pink says it’s not individual stars she has a problem with, but a culture that coerces women to conform to a shallow notion of what’s attractive.
Lauer: Talk to me about that mentality in the song “Stupid girls.” What were you thinking of when you were writing it?Pink: It’s just this force fed image: “Size zero,” “Have to have a certain kind of bag,” “Don’t contribute anything to the world,” Dumb yourself down to be cute because it makes you less challenging as a female.”
If Pink likes anything, it’s a challenge. Since she first sneered her way onto the scene six years ago, she’s been giving a drop-kick to the concept of the cookie-cutter pop star—like at an event for PETA, where she said she would “run down the street naked if it helped an animal!”
For Pink, breaking the rules comes easily—ever since she was an unknown Pennsylvania girl named Alecia Moore.
Pink: I was angry when I was 13. (laughter) I was very angry.
While other soon-to-be-famous teens were going to auditions and winning talent contests, Moore was running away from her divorced parents and rebelling against the world.
Lauer: You were not a girl scout.Pink: I was a brownie.Lauer: Well, okay—Pink: but I got kicked out. (laughter) Lauer: You started getting tattoos and piercings at a young age. And you’ve now talked about the fact that you got into some pretty serious drugs.Pink: I’ve always been open about that. I started smoking at nine years old. Lauer: You started with smoking.Pink: Yes.Lauer: I’m assuming you then smoked pot.Pink: uh-huh (affirms).Lauer: And then we’re talking heroin.Pink: I tried it once. Once. I was very curious. And just wanted to hit that “numb” switch. Lauer: So for you, it was an escape.Pink: Yes, absolutely. And it was something to bide my time until I could just have my chance. So the minute I had my chance… done.
That chance came when a record executive heard her sing at a Philadelphia nightclub. A label gave her a contract, and by 2000, 20-year-old “Pink” was on her way up.
And fans were soon jumping to her funky, break-the-mold mix of R&B inflected pop delivered with a punk swagger.
Awards, acclaim and a second multiplatinum record followed—but in 2003, Pink’s go-it-alone style caught up with her. Her third album sold a relatively dismal 700,000 copies in the U.S., and everyone wondered if Pink’s fire had fizzled.
Lauer: You put an album out a few years ago, it did not sell as well as your past records.Pink: It sold better than the first, not as good as the second. But I didn’t want the second one to sell as many records as it did.Lauer: What? Okay. (laughter) You now have become the first recording artist I’ve ever sat across from who said, “I wanted that album to sell fewer copies.”Pink: Yes, I did.Lauer: Why?Pink: It sold 16 million records. And I didn’t want that. Where do you go from there? Anything you do after that’s a failure.
Determined not to fail this time, her newest album is called “I’m Not Dead”—and coming from Pink, that’s as much a threat as a promise. On this latest release, she reveals her most daring side yet: a softer shade of Pink—as she does an acoustic duet with her father.
Lauer: Tell me about the song.Pink: He wrote it in Vietnam. And it’s sort of a soldier’s cry, I guess. But I think it’s still poignant today. And it’s the first song I ever learned. It’s how I learned to harmonize, how I learned to love acoustic guitar. It’s the first song I ever performed in front of anybody with him. And it’s just perfect.
And Pink has recently forged new bonds in her love life as well. She just married her long-time boyfriend, motocross champion and reality TV star Carey Hart.
Take charge as always, it was Pink who popped the question, during one of Carey’s races.
Lauer: You kind of went after him, didn’t you?Pink: Yes. Well, he thinks so. I’m not sure.Lauer: You held a sign up at one—Pink: Oh, well, yeah, there’s that. (laughter)Lauer: You know, basically “marry me.” Come on.Pink: I told him “I don’t believe in marriage, don’t ever ask me. If you ask me, I’ll walk out the door.”Lauer: “But if I ask you”?
Pink: And then I asked him ‘cause I knew he’d never ask. But I know how much it means to him. And I just like him a lot. I am very fond of him. (laughter)Lauer: I think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about a spouse.
At the wedding ceremony this past January on a Costa Rica beach, the bride wore mostly white, even if she was hardly blushing.
Lauer: It seems this marriage you’ve got has brought out this traditional side of you.Pink: Yeah. Keeps crawling out. (laughter)Lauer: You marry this motocross champion and all of a sudden you’re baking cookies and you’re cooking and you’re—Pink: I’ve always baked!Lauer: But, I mean, it’s just for some reason, I have a hard time seeing you with the apron and the dress.Pink: No, you don’t wear a dress under an apron. If you’re gonna wear the apron, that’s all you can wear.Lauer: (laughter) Well! Where does we go from here? Is there water on set? (laughter)
Whether heating up the kitchen or the dance floor, Pink’s not afraid to be herself—for better or for worse.
Lauer: You actually wrote something on your Web site recently. You said, “I hope never to be perfect.”Pink: I’m not worried about it. I won’t be.