Best known for her groundbreaking songwriting and production career for artists such as Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion and Gwen Stefani, Linda Perry has stepped back into the spotlight with the first release of her own music in over 15 years. Outspoken as ever, Perry reflects on saving the 4 Non Blondes mega hit, What’s Up?, encouraging Aguilera to keep her first, vulnerable vocal take of Beautiful, and why new song, The Letter is one of the best she has ever written.
“I still don’t listen to too much music. I’ve always been a weirdo that way,” confesses Perry from her home in L.A. “I remember my mom bringing home The Jungle Book soundtrack a long time ago. She gave it to my brother and she gave me Cinderella, and I was so bummed out because I loved The Jungle Book music. So I made a trade with my brother. I said I would give him all my desserts, and he could have my Cinderella album if I could have The Jungle Book. He didn’t give a shit about The Jungle Book, so he was like, ‘yeah, sure, sucker!’ That was probably one of the first things that I heard that I felt like I needed to have.”
Her time with the 4 Non Blondes put her on the map; the band’s first and only album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More! spent 59 weeks on the Billboard 200 and sold 1.5 million copies between 1992 and 1994, spearheaded by the release of the album’s anthemic second single, What’s Up? For all the album’s success, Perry admits that she can’t listen to the record.
“I know fans of 4 Non Blondes don’t really like hearing this, but I really struggled with the record. I don’t like the record; I don’t like the way it sounds. It doesn’t sound like me. I can’t even listen to that record. It’s so unbearable to my ears because I don’t like the way I was singing. I feel like somebody gave me the reins to go at 100 the whole time. And that’s what I did – I turned all the way to 10 and just stayed there throughout the whole record. I couldn’t save the record, but I could save What’s Up?” she recalls.