Mentorology in Action with Linda Perry, Musical Mastermind

Written and Photographed by Russ Mezikofsky

Recently OMSF Founder Dawn Carroll and Creative Director Russ Mezikofsky met with legendary record producer, songwriter and performer Linda Perry. When asked if she would become the next Over My Shoulder “Mentorologist” she enthusiastically said yes!

It became apparent that Linda is a perfect example of Mentorology in action as she told Dawn and Russ about how mentoring played a big part in her early career and later “cross-mentoring” relationships with P!nk, Christina Aguilera and other musicians.Here’s her fullstory.

As a young girl who didn’t feel like she even needed a mentor, Linda Perry idolized her older brother, spending hours listening to his band and studying everything he did.It was her brother that started Linda towards her career path in the music industry, acting as her first mentor.

Linda burst onto the music scene as “the chick with the big voice” with the rock group 4Non Blondes,best known for their mega hit “What’s Up”. As lead vocalist and primary songwriter for the band, her dynamic singing capabilities and razor sharp writing skills earned her recognition as a unique and unforgettable talent. With a hard-hitting, uninhibited and seductive style Linda caught the attention of music fans all over and grew to be a source of inspiration for young aspiring singers, both male and female.

In 2001 after the break-up of 4 Non Blondes Linda Perry met some difficulty. She had made her brother, her first mentor, proud. Yet, she wasn’t absolutely sure what to do next.Thankfully, Mentorology breathed new and unexpected life into an already great musical career. To Linda’s surprise, she was contacted by Alecia Beth Moore, or “P!nk”.

P!nk, a longtime fan who revered Linda’s musical talents, wanted Linda to write and possibly sing for her album Missundaztood. At the time Linda was laying groundwork to showcase new songs and get a tour going, but after several meetings with P!nk, Linda canceled her plans.Linda knew there was something special about P!nk.

As Linda Perry and P!nk made music, something magical was happening. At Over My Shoulder Foundation we like to call it Reverse-Mentoring, or,Cross-Mentoring. Initially, P!nk(a new artist) reached out to Linda (the established artist) to mentor her and in the end Linda also got mentored by P!nk.  Canceling her plans for her next career move was a chance Linda took, but in taking it she introduced new opportunities to both musical stars.Linda ended up writing a bulk of the songs on Missundaztood, which sold over 11 million records and boasted the # 1 hit single “Lets Get the Party Started.”

Demonstrating her keen ability to inspire and natural ability to mentor, Linda says, “That’s the beauty of life. We never know what we are signing up for but the key is to just sign up for it anyways. Be open to the experience.” She continues, “Follow your gut feelings, not your brain. The way I live my life is one gut feeling after the next.”

Along with her resolute belief in trusting her gut, Perry credits Bill Bottrell, music producer and songwriter of such artists as Michael Jackson and Sheryl Crow, as her producer mentor. She says, “He taught me that there is no right or wrong way of producing or songwriting. You just write, record and mix the sound of the song until it makes you happy.”

Newly energized and inspired by her role as a musical mentor, Linda was sought out next by Christina Aguilera. Linda had just finished writing the song “Beautiful” for herself as a come back hit of sorts.  As soon as Linda heard Christina sing the song, Linda knew it was meant for Christina. “Beautiful”, a song about self-esteem, became another #1 hit and was nominated for the prestigious Song of the Year Grammy Award.

Linda beams with pride when she explains her decision not to sell the lucrative rights of her songs to anyone. Instead she generously donates the license to various worthy causes.It brings Linda Perry great joy to give something back to the world. Her continuing saga of Mentorology is further proof that Linda keeps giving back.

“We can only be great if we allow ourselves not to know what the future holds. You have to have confidence and believe that you are going to be okay.” Explains Linda

That philosophy works, and Linda’s musical career proves it. Perry went from artist with 4Non Blondes to producer with P!nk and Christina Aguilera to shrewd business person when she started two record labels:Rockstar Records and Custard Records. The first label was started to sign the bands “Stone Fox” and “2 Lane Black Top”.  The second label was started as a platform for mentoring new musicians and helping them develop their sound. James Blunt was the first musician Linda signed to Custard Records.  His album “Back to Bedlam” sold 11 million records world wide.

Linda explains that she now works with lots of young fresh talent. She recognizes that a majority of young musicians have no clue about the way of a “true” artist. She pushes them to take ownership of their careers and mentors them to stay true to themselves, never compromising their artistic vision. “Everyone’s afraid of losing something.  They don’t think about the gifts that they have been given or the things that they can gain by believing in their gut and believing in themselves”, she says.

We all get mentored when Linda emphasizes the importance of being open to new ideas. She says, “You can’t mentor someone who thinks they know what they are doing already. When egos and insecurities come into play, you have to realize that you really have no idea what you are getting into. You look for a mentor to tell you how to recognize the little things that make your path right. And hopefully you find that mentor.”

In closing, our newest Over My Shoulder Foundation Mentorologist Linda Perry wants to be mentored all the time.  She even regularly says to random people, “Teach me, teach me something.” This open attitude and inspiring legacy makes us proud that Linda Perry took  the time to share some information about her life of Mentorology. Thanks Linda!

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