“You want a beer?” Pink asked, though she seemed more than happy to drink alone.

Standing in her cheerfully cluttered kitchen on a recent evening, the pop star had just finished a lengthy television shoot at her home north of Los Angeles and was now overseeing dinner for her nine-month-old son, Jameson.

In the living room, Pink’s six-year-old daughter, Willow – the subject of a moving speech her mother gave at August’s MTV Video Music Awards about stifling beauty standards – was practising cartwheels loudly as her father, Carey Hart, prepared to take her for a motorcycle ride.

“Don’t be home too late,” Pink told Hart, a retired motocross racer. “School tomorrow.”


Singer Pink, husband Carey Hart and daughter Willow Sage Hart arrive at the MTV Video Music Awards 2017 in August. Photo: AFP

It had been a long day, and it wasn’t over yet.

“Cheers,” the singer said, turning to me with a weary grin. Then she clinked her bottle against mine and took a restorative gulp.

At this point, Pink, 38, is accustomed to hanging in there – and to doing more than one thing at a time.

Born Alecia Moore in blue-collar Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Pink has just released her seventh solo studio album, Beautiful Trauma.

On the album, Pink takes up many of her reliable themes – fear, anxiety, the lure of damaged love – in highly detailed productions that pull from rock, folk and hip-hop. Yet the music, which Pink created alongside studio wizards such as Max Martin, Jack Antonoff and Greg Kurstin, always feels designed to showcase her powerful singing.

Ross Golan, who co-wrote Barbies and served as Pink’s vocal producer on the track, remembered asking his engineer to turn off Auto-Tune as they were recording the song.

“He looks at me and goes, ‘There isn’t any Auto-Tune on’,” Golan said. “I was sure the vocal was being manipulated – that’s how accurate it was. But she’s just that good.”

Pink’s singing isn’t merely a technical achievement; its emotion also gives her records a welcome timeless quality.

At a moment when many of her peers seem preoccupied with chasing the latest sonic trend, she’s clinging to an older-fashioned idea of what a great pop song should deliver.

Which doesn’t mean she hasn’t been “terrified” to get back in the game, as she revealed when she flopped down on a wine-stained couch after Jameson finished dinner.

What’s scary about putting out an album? You’ve done it plenty of times.

I have two kids. And it’s so different now. I’m not inclined toward drama and feuds and soundbites. But I almost got caught up in it.

I was doing radio in London, and we played this game called “Pink Fast”. They’re like, “Team Katy or Team Taylor?” And I said, “Either way, I can’t win — but Taylor?” And I should’ve just kept my mouth shut, because I don’t believe that. I don’t care. But I felt rushed, and I didn’t know what to do. And I paid for it, because then the next day: “Pink is Team Taylor.”

Does the climate surprise you?

It surprises me how snarky it’s gotten. There were always these feuds between rock stars – I mean, if you like Oasis, there’s always a feud. But it’s gotten pretty bad. And we’re giving our power away by playing into it.

Beautiful Trauma has some heavy moments. You wrote Whatever You Want with Max Martin about a couple whose ‘ship’s going down tonight’ – not exactly the type of pop banger he’s known for.

I wasn’t feeling that way most of the time in the last four years. I spent a year just writing slow, sad songs, thinking I was Adele.

Pink performing at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. Photo: Reuters

When you work with Max or Jack Antonoff or one of these other A-list guys, do you think the process is different from how they work with other singers?

I have very honest conversations with them. If they play me something, I’m like, “No, that could be anybody – I’m not doing that.” It has to be a little bit darker. But, you know, Max is a closet punk rocker.

And they’re generally up for that?

I think they take it as a real challenge and have a lot of fun with it. The first time Max and I got together, I didn’t want to work with him, and he didn’t want to work with me. It was a record company blind date: “You need singles, and I want you to work with this person.”

So, I showed up with three bottles of wine and we started talking and getting to know each other, and I said, “Wow, I’m the person I always said I wasn’t – I totally prejudged you.” And it’s blossomed into a beautifully honest friendship.

Do you still prejudge people?

I prejudge certain types – like maybe at this point certain Republicans that I haven’t met that I feel like I understand and don’t really want to meet. But even those – I mean, my dad’s a 72-year-old Republican white man from Pennsylvania. So I’d have to hate him too, and I don’t – I love him. I think he’s a fascinating man that’s grown into some of his opinions. Which are surprising.

Pink attending a movie premiere in 2016. Photo: AFP

Are you ever hesitant to express your opinions on big issues? The Team Taylor thing shows how scrutinised everything you say is.

If I take an action, I mean it, and I will take the consequences that come with that, celebrity or not. My husband would rather separate things. But I come from a military family. I pay taxes. I vote in every election. I educate myself on what’s going on all over the world. So why shouldn’t I have an opinion? Just because I sing?

Last thing: Billy Joel recently told me you guys had worked together.

Billy Joel is, in my opinion, one of the best songwriters that’s ever lived. He paints a picture with words unlike any other. I walked down the aisle to She’s Always A Woman. I grew up listening to him with my dad. He was the first concert I ever went to at two years old.

I did the Songwriters Hall of Fame 15 or 16 years ago, and I saw him and went over to him and I went, “Hi, you don’t know me, but I’m Pink, and I want you to write a song with me.” He goes, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that – I don’t write pop music anymore.”

Then I ran into him again – I brought my dad to his concert, and he had us backstage. Then I went to a master class of his in Times Square. And I’ve never left him alone. I’ve never stopped asking. He always says no – he’s kind, but he’s firm.

But then we ran into him in the Bahamas at a piano bar. I bought a very good bottle of wine and sent him a glass. He came over and I said, “You gonna write that song with me?” He said, “OK, I’ll try it.” So several months ago I flew to Palm Beach with my brand new baby and we tried to write a song.


He’s too good for me. I clammed up. But we’re gonna keep trying. He goes, “Do me a favour: Go home, pick out the best poem you’ve ever written and send it to me, and I’ll make you a song.”

I got home and was like, “All my poems are the worst pieces of trash I’ve ever seen in my life.” – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service