P!nk Reflects on Shady Contracts and Making No Money When She Started Out

Illustration for article titled P!nk Reflects on Shady Contracts and Making No Money When She Started Out
Image: Getty

P!nk will be honored Tuesday with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star for all the bops she’s released over her nearly 20-year-long solo career. Speaking to Variety, she looked back on the beginning of her unlikely start in the music business—how she started singing at a young age, dropped out of high school, and moved to Los Angeles at 19. “I used to go to Hollywood Boulevard to buy stripper heels,” she said. “I just remember seeing all those stars and thinking: ‘God, I hope this happens for me.’ And here we are.”


Despite the longevity of her career, there were moments, especially when she just started making music professionally, where everything could have gone to shit. P!nk describes how Sony Music’s L.A. Reid convinced her to leave the R&B girl group he had originally signed her to, on the premise that he would then support her solo career:

“He told me behind the scenes: ‘If you don’t go solo, I’m never going to support you — however, it has to be your idea.’ So that was the first tricky part. It took me a long time to figure out and was horrifying and I felt like I was a huge piece of shit.[”]

P!nk says she broke the contract and ended up temporarily homeless, and then moved to the Bronx to stay with some writers and producers she knew and work on her music. One day, she was noticed:

“This publisher walked in and said: ‘What would it take to get you to sign a publishing deal?’ I’m broke at this point — I have like $20. And I go: ‘One million dollars!’ I was joking. And he goes: ‘OK, I’ll see you on Monday.’ I was like: ‘Huh? Shit, I should have said two!’[”]

Before she knew it, her old managers from the girl group swooped in:

[“]And right as I was signing, my managers [of Choice] that I haven’t seen in like six months walked in, and I said: ‘What the f–k are you guys doing here?’ And they go: ‘You never fired us. By the way, little girl, when you want to fire people, you have to put it in writing. So we’re taking this advance.’ And they took all my money.”


P!nk says she eventually renegotiated her contract with Reid on her own, and remembers asking for a $300 catsuit she’d been eyeing at the mall. By the time she started working with Roger Davies, who is still her manager today, she was screwed over financially:

“I had been screwed, blued and tattooed by every person I came across,” she says of her early experiences in the industry. “I had sold 15 million records and I was penniless. It was a lot of lessons at a really young age, but I paid attention because I don’t like to make the same mistake twice.[”]


Variety reached out to Reid—who stepped down as the head of Epic Records in 2017, allegedly over sexual harassment allegations—but he did not comment on the details of P!nk’s early contracts. Instead he just sang her praises: “Alecia [Moore] is arguably the smartest, most acrobatic, charismatic and superbly talented artist to ever hit the music scene.”

P!nk never points the finger at anyone in particular, but at music industry vulture in general, and even she critiques them, it’s tongue-in-cheek; she says she wants to write a book called Artist to Artist: How to Get Fucked. At least it all worked out for her, but it makes me wonder how many times it doesn’t. Asked if she has any regrets, P!nk said no. “I just think every stupid thing you do and every failure, every success, every decision—as cheesy as it sounds—is why you’re here.”


Read the full story here.

Senior Writer, Jezebel



The music industry is the payday loan industry’s evil father. Advances = perpetual poverty.