She’s Still Got Her “Rock Moves”
This punk rocker has created a new layer of Pop with her confessional songs, sassy attitude, and famous acrobatic-like performances; selling more than 16 million albums and 45 million digital songs in the U.S., with 23 songs in the Billboard top 40.
Ask anyone about Pink, and they’ll tell you that her musical color hasn’t faded at all over the years, except maybe from her hair, which is ever-changing. Her latest album Beautiful Trauma, comes after a five-year hiatus, but she certainly hasn’t slowed down or lost relevancy. In February, she was at the center of it all as she sang the National Anthem at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN for Superbowl LII. She delivered a beautiful rendition of the song, singing her heart out in front of America despite having the flu. As a native of Philadelphia, she was stoked to be at the Superbowl where her fellow Philadelphia Eagles were going to play (and later, win). In an Instagram post before the game, she said that she had been wanting to sing the National Anthem “since 1991 when [she] saw [her] idol Whitney Houston own this song.” And that she did, spitting out a throat lozenge right before fiercely grabbing the microphone, and leaving America breathless.
The Superbowl performance came right after a very busy year for Pink, who had been on somewhat of a publicity tour to promote Beautiful Trauma, which released October 13th. Her last album The Truth About Love released in 2012, and between the two projects, she had been working on family, and her marriage to motocross racer Carey Hart. Her relationship with Hart hasn’t always been a walk in the park, at times it’s tiring.
“Monogamy is work! But you do the work and it’s good again,” the singer says of her strenuous relationship.
The pair first got together in 2002, and married in 2006. Two years later, they had a public breakup, and Pink’s response, the song “So What,” became one of her most popular hits. She delivers the nonchalant lyrics: “I guess I just lost my husband/ I don’t know where he went.” The song became a #1 Pop single, and stood on the charts for weeks. Hart made a notable appearance in the music video, and the pair got back together not too long after. Today, they are 11 years married, and although it’s been tough at times, she wouldn’t want it any other way. “He’s my muse,” she spilled about Hart, “He is a wonderful man and a wonderful dad…We just have a story that we’re writing together and we’re just never done.” The story turned a new page as the couple welcomed their first child, Willow in 2011, and their second, Jameson in 2016.
Pink’s love for her children was famously displayed at the MTV Video Music Awards back in August through her memorable speech. She was awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which is an incredible honor considering that it’s only bestowed upon the biggest names in Pop. Past recipients have included Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyoncé and countless others. It marks the receiver as someone who has created a legacy, and forever solidifies their place in the culture. When Pink went up to accept the award, she skipped the usual “thank you’s,” opting to dedicate the award to her six-year-old daughter, Willow. Her daughter had expressed insecurity over her appearance, telling her famous mom that she was “one of the ugliest girls I know,” and that she looked “like a boy with long hair.” In response, she went on to construct her daughter a Powerpoint presentation of androgynous legendary rock stars that “live their truth” like Prince, David Bowie, and Michael Jackson. She told her daughter that she also had experienced people trying to tear her down for being androgynous: “…when people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions, my body is too strong.” Despite the criticism and hate-filled comments, she hasn’t changed a thing about herself, choosing to live her life as free as ever. In a statement that would strike many hearts all over America, Pink closed the speech as she looked out at her daughter from the stage:
“We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.”
The speech showed that she was still the same confident, loud star that had burst onto the scene years ago. Always unapologetically herself, with no hair on her tongue.
Pink, born Alecia Beth Moore, grew up in a small suburb of Philadelphia: Doylsetown, in Pennsylvania. Her parents divorced when she was eight, causing her to develop a rebellious and tough attitude. To cope, she became a problem child. She got into many dilemmas when she was growing up, confessing that she “was the one that had the mouth.” She continued on to say, “I was the runaway…No one wanted their kid near me.” She had run-ins with the law, started smoking cigarettes at age nine, marijuana at 10, and used multiple drugs from 12-15. At 15, she nearly overdosed in a Philadelphia club while out partying; she called herself a “candy raver.” After the alarming experience, she promised she’d quit all forms of drugs, and to this day, she remains clean.
As time went on, Pink adopted an alternative method to replace her previous negative indulgences, something she had been obsessed with since she was a little girl: music. She listened to “protest music”: The Rock ‘n Roll, the Punk. She also started actively singing, landing gigs at small bars and clubs in Philly. She got her stage name after her friends agreed that she resembled Mr. Pink, a character in the 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs. Her bold attitude and powerful voice was already her own, and it didn’t take long for someone to notice her undeniable talent. She got discovered while performing at one of the nightclubs, and soon became part of an R&B girl group, Choice. They recorded a few songs together, but none did great enough to gain the group any exposure; it was clear that Pink was destined for something bigger. She signed to L.A. Reid’s LaFace Records after Choice didn’t work out, and began to work day and night on her first album Can’t Take Me Home. It released in 2000, and was a wide success, selling more than three million copies, and peaking at #26 on the Billboard 200.
Despite the achievement, Pink had something else in mind for herself. She realized that she was about to become another pop princess, another Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. She didn’t want to be placed in that box alongside them. Instead, she wished to follow in the footsteps of some of her idols 4 Non Blondes, Janis Joplin, and Madonna. She wanted to be louder, grittier, and different. She wanted to be herself. Label executive L.A. Reid tried guiding Pink by recommending that she take an etiquette class, among other things, to try to soften her image. Upon this suggestion, she laughed and marched in the opposite direction. In 2001, she dropped her second album, Missundaztood, that really showed the trademark style that Pink fans would come to know and love. She was more pop punk, singing more lyrics that came off as candid diary entries rather than catchy words. In one of the songs, “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” she sings about being unlike other girls at the time: “Tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears/She’s so pretty/That just ain’t me.” On Missundaztood, she gathered help from one of her idols, 4 Non Blondes member Linda Perry, to co-produce and co-write some of the tracks, and it paid off. Over 11 million records were sold worldwide as fans became immersed in the tough lyrics of a woman who dared to be unordinary.
“I wanted to figure out what I missed out on in the ’60s and ’70s when people were hanging out together and making music and talking about real stuff. So I did. I leaped,” Pink said, referencing the 2001 album.
People loved it, they couldn’t get enough, not even at the award shows. In 2003, she won a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for “Trouble,” a song off of her third album Try This. In 2010, she did it again, owning another Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Imagine,” a song she featured on with Herbie Hancock, Seal and India.Arie. In total, Pink has won three Grammys, and has been nominated for a staggering 19. This past January, she performed “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” at the Grammys, a song off of Beautiful Trauma. She was able to wow the crowd in another way, abandoning her usual trapeze acts for a humble performance, dressed in jeans and a plain white tee.
Beautiful Trauma was inspired by everyday life. Lately, there have been a lot of negative reports in the news, but Pink says it all evens out when it comes to the good souls in the world that encourage change. “Everywhere you look, it’s really [trauma]. But at the same time, there are so many rad, good people in the world… There’s just love to be made still. I think beauty and trauma go— that’s just what life is,” the singer muses. Indeed, the album couldn’t have come out at a better time, and the sales reflect that. It opened at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and amounted in 408,000 sales in the U.S. The 13 track album doesn’t disappoint, following her signature style as she sings about difficulties in marriage, and the world, even getting vaguely political on “What About Us.”
Pink is an icon that has broken the mold of what a pop star should be; no singer has to be a perfect, polished starlet to sell records. Girls began to look up to her as a role model from the very beginning as she showed the world that she could have short hair, curse, be as “boyish” or as “girly” as she wants, and more. She paved the way for current stars to follow like singers Halsey, Kesha, and Alessia Cara, that don’t fit into the typical pop star archetype. “I can’t win the game of ‘I want to be on every magazine cover and I want to be the prettiest and the best singer and the best dancer’ and all that,” she admits, indicating that she’d rather live for herself and no one else. No matter how much criticism the singer receives over the years, it’s clear that she’s here to stay, all while exhibiting her true self to the world. Be sure to catch her doing just that as she continues her Beautiful Trauma World Tour! Her “rock moves” will take over the BB&T Center on April 25th when she does what she does best: performing upside down without a filter for her fans.
By Selene Rivera