Pink isn’t your stereotypical pop star. The singer, who rose to fame in 2000, said she tried to do the “Hollywood thing” once ― for a night ― when she was 20 years old.
“It was awful,” she told HuffPost. “I walked into The Standard [Hotel], and then I walked around and I walked outside and I found the first homeless man with a dog and guitar. And I hung out with him all night and sang songs on the street. I was like, ‘I think I like you better.’”
Nearly 20 years later, she’s still doing her own thing, in her own way. That’s evident on her seventh studio album, “Beautiful Trauma,” which arrived this week, marking her first new effort in five years. After all this time you’d think Pink would be used to the album release cycle, but she admits she still gets butterflies.
“I feel a little nauseous,” she said on Tuesday in New York. “Which is good. That means I still care.”
Fans already got a taste of the new record over the summer with the release of the single “What About Us.” It’s a strong pop song that showcases Pink’s vocal chops, but it also has a message.
What about all the plans that ended in disaster?
What about love? What about trust?
What about us?
When asked what she thinks about when she sings that song, Pink said, “I think about all my friends ... gay, straight, black, white, Mexican, women. I think about all my people. My people are human people. I’m so disappointed in government. I’m just so disappointed. And it’s hard for me not to cry at this point. It’s so overwhelming. I’ve always been a fighter and this is my weapon — is a pen. And I have ears. And so I’m angry. I’m angry about it. I’m angry. I’m angry about how people are being treated. I’m angry how women and black people and Mexican people and gay people are being treated. And I’m sick of it. And when you think it can’t get worse, it does.”
Now a mother of two, Pink says she’s worried about her kids’ futures.
“I have a 6-year-old little girl who I’m raising, and the day she figures out what kind of world she lives in is going to be the day that breaks my heart,” Pink said. “I don’t yet know how to have that conversation. I’m hoping somebody else makes a speech and teaches me before that day comes. And that’s what ‘What About Us’ is to me.”
The rest of the album features a mix of bold pop songs and beautiful ballads, centered around themes of hope, anger and nostalgia. She co-wrote the tracks alongside a bevy of top-notch writers and producers, including Max Martin and Jack Antonoff. Prior to entering the studio, Pink didn’t have a clear direction in mind, but now she’s really proud of how everything turned out.
“I go through moments where I just write poems in my phone and I go back and read it and it’s crap. And I have to start from scratch. But I did an OK job of just being honest,” she said.
She draws from her own life most of the time, so there’s no shortage of material.
“I’m a 38-year-old woman that’s a mother of two children. I’ve been married for 11 years. Either on or off. Mostly on. My parents are aging. My dad just beat cancer,” she said. “I’m putting one foot in front of the other just like everyone else. I just have a pen in my hand. And a lot of people get to hear about it. But it’s the same shit everyone is going through.”
Pink also looks to her muse ― her husband, Carey Hart ― to craft lyrics.
“He pisses me off. He’s my guy. He’s my person. From one minute to the next, I look at him and am like, ‘You’re the best man. You’re the best dad. You’re beautiful and I love you.’ And then five minutes later, it’s like, ‘There’s nothing I’ve ever liked about you.’ And I know he feels the same way about me,” she said.
Meanwhile, Pink thinks she’s never sounded better than she does on this album, and she easily attributes that to quitting smoking.
“I think it’s also, I don’t know, I was really, really present on this record,” she said. “And I intentionally wanted to do a good job. I’m not a perfectionist while recording. It’s kind of a vibe and I wanted this to be a sound.”
Some of the new songs will make up the set list for Pink’s 2018 world tour, which will hit some 40 North American dates from March through June. She’ll no doubt pull from her back catalogue of hits to round out the performances. And you can be sure, in typical Pink fashion, acrobatics will be involved. It’s just the Pink way.
When she’s not soaring above the crowd or recording new music, Pink lives a pretty quiet life on a farm with her family, some chickens and rescue dogs.
“There are trees to climb,” she said.
Very far away from any Standard Hotel.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.