Britney Spears has that coy auto-tuned purr.
Christina never met a vocal run she could resist.
Taylor Swift seems to have a smile tucked away inside her voice no matter the subject of the song, like sunshine ready to break through the clouds.
Then there’s P!nk. Her voice seems to be unleashed from somewhere deep inside her petite, muscular frame with all the passion and force of a gymnast exploding over a vault, then sticking the landing with grace and precision.
The long, blonde, flowing locks that seem de rigueur for female pop stars don’t grace her head. P!nk’s head is crowned with an ever-changing punk pixie that might be platinum one day and magenta the next. Her eight-year-old daughter is also beginning to experiment with cuts and colors, and P!nk doesn’t really care if you don’t approve.
From her voice to her fashion to her parenting, everything about P!nk rings bold, confident and authentic. It takes moxie to muscle your way through a crowded field of pop princesses and musical divas, and P!nk has it. As the bold singer/songwriter/performer turns 40 this week, here’s my take on P!nk’s powerful moxie:
People with moxie know their voice and won’t settle for less.
P!nk’s voice is a marvel. It’s a finely tuned instrument with impressive range and expressiveness, capable of unleashing everything from a primal howl to the tenderest of whispers.
She began honing in in earnest as a young teen, playing gigs in clubs around Philadelphia when she was just fourteen. You don’t have to listen hard to hear the influence of one of her early idols, Janice Joplin.
It was enough to catch the attention of producer L.A. Reid, who signed P!nk and her R&B group when she was just sixteen. It wasn’t long until he was urging her to go solo. Her freshman effort was a hit and she began drawing attention and fans, but she wasn’t entirely satisfied with the way she was being marketed as another “cookie-cutter” pop star alongside contemporaries like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
For her second album, she took matters into her own hands. She sought out the help of Linda Perry, another singer/songwriter influential in her life, and holed up in Perry’s L.A. mansion for months on end. The result was Missundaztood, which produced signature hits Get The Party Started, Just Like A Pill and Family Portrait. The pop vibe crackled with raw, rock and roll energy and resonated with emotional depth. It marked a turning point for P!nk. The album made her sound, her style and her skills impossible to misunderstand.
P!nk had the confidence to stand firm in her convictions about her music and her career and make difficult decisions early on. She knew what she wanted, and she partnered with the right people to get the results she was after. That takes moxie.
People with moxie know what they want, they keep it, and they don’t give it up without a fight.
P!nk’s relationship with her husband Carey Hart, motocross champion, has grown alongside her career. The pair met in 2001 and after several years of dating P!nk Hart at one of his races. She held up a sign that read “Will you marry me?” as he whizzed by. He didn’t spot the sign right away or perhaps wasn’t sure what to make of it. When she held up a second sign that read “I am serious!” he pulled over immediately to accept.
But the pair didn’t simply ride off into the sunset together to start their happily ever after. Their relationship hit the rocks and in 2008 they announced their split. For good measure, P!nk wrote and recorded the song “So What?” about the break, and Hart appeared in the video.
The split was far from the end, however. The two underwent marriage counseling and reconciled two years later. Now more than a decade on, they have expanded their family to include a daughter and a son.
The world of pop stars – and indeed the world at large – is filled with temporary, disposable relationships. It takes work, commitment and moxie to keep a marriage healthy and sustain it for more than a decade, and P!nk has it.
Moms with moxie totally rock.
Parenting in the age of social media is treacherous for anyone, especially the powerful and famous.