P!nk on Her Most Death-Defying Stunts and Polarizing Songs

“I feel like a stuntwoman most of the time.” Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images

P!nk admits she’s old-fashioned. The pop star has achieved longevity by focusing on touring, a rare strategy in an industry where Beyoncé and Lady Gaga spend years off the road. (She logged 156 shows on her 2018–19 Beautiful Trauma tour, the second-highest-grossing run ever by a woman.) But more than being a performer — ahead of all the breathless takes with her longtime band and daredevil stunts — she sees herself as a songwriter. “I am a pop fan,” she says. “It’s whatever’s popular, but, to me, popular for a reason, ’cause it’s a well-crafted song.”

That’s exactly why she has endured. Yes, P!nk, born Alecia Moore, has made a name off her Cirque du Soleil–level acrobatics and won a Video Vanguard Award for her big-concept visuals. She has also soundtracked the past 20-plus years with hits like “Get the Party Started,” “So What,” and “Raise Your Glass”; the latter are two of her four No. 1 hits, also including “Lady Marmalade” (with Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, and Mya) and “Just Give Me a Reason” (with fun.’s Nate Ruess). After signing to the R&B-oriented LaFace Records and making her debut, 2000’s Can’t Take Me Home, in that mold, P!nk set herself apart from peers like Xtina and Britney with rowdy and passionate songs, beginning on her smash 2001 follow-up, M!ssundaztood.

Her new and ninth album, Trustfall, runs the gamut of P!nk modes: There are party tracks like disco-inflected lead single “Never Gonna Not Dance Again,” personal reflections like opener “When I Get There” (about her late father), and confidence-boosting anthems like the title track. “It’s like, Okay, here’s tissues. Okay, here’s dance shoes,” she says. Those songs will carry her to her biggest shows yet, as she graduates from arenas to stadiums on the Summer Carnival tour. Here, the artist revisits her prolific, provocative career.

New song you’re most excited to perform live

Gosh. “Never Gonna Not Dance Again” makes me really happy. “Trustfall” and “Runaway” are going to be amazing. And “When I Get There,” if I can get through it, is going to be great. I strive for the audience to feel everything they can feel in two hours.

I already did “Never Gonna Not Dance Again” at the 2022 AMAs, where I almost died on roller skates. When your whole performance is based on “just don’t fall,” that’s a fun place to start. And I was with some of the most talented roller skaters in the world. I just wanted to spread joy with that song. I came at it from a place of If the world is ending, then I’m going to go out with a bang.

Hardest stunt

There’ve been many scary things. One of the hardest physically was doing “Sober” on the trapeze with Seb, my longtime catcher. That started off bad and got better. I did a full face plant on day one of rehearsals for the 2009 VMAs. Then, for the 2017 AMAs, I did this Bandaloop on the side of the building outside. I had just had my baby boy. I was so concerned about having the ab strength, ’cause that’s all abs, and being strong enough that I forgot to be afraid. And so when I finally got up there, Carey, my husband, was like, “The five words you can’t say are I want to get down.” And that’s the first thing that came out of my mouth. The guy that was teaching me was like, “We only have three days.” I got down, and my manager said, “Well, it’s fucking paid for, so get back up there.” So I did it, but if you’d been able to see my hands … It goes against every fiber of survival instinct in your body when you’re outside of a hotel room, 400 feet in the air, and people are inside just waving at you.

I guess the stunts wouldn’t work with a ballad or if I were a pretty singer, but I’m a screamer so it’s perfect. It’s like when people can hold their breath for a couple of minutes — it’s just something that I’ve learned how to do. It’s all core. I started training hanging upside down from a bar by my knees while my trainer punched me in the stomach and threw balls at my stomach. I think it’s helped my asthma, actually, ’cause it’s all just diaphragmatic screaming.

Most challenging song to sing

There’s a song that you may or may not have heard called “You Get My Love” from 2017’s Beautiful Trauma. I will never do it live. I mean, I would once, but I wouldn’t be able to sing for a day or two. It’s so high. The bridge is my Whitney moment, I think. “You get my love, baby!” I would die, like, no way. What are you doing? You’re just dumb for even recording that.

Did you see Old School with Will Ferrell? He does this debate and he launches into this whole very smart thing and then he’s like, “What just happened? I blacked out.” That’s what it feels like. You leave your body for a minute and then you come back into it and it’s done. That happened to me with “Family Portrait,” from M!ssundaztood, also. It’s a very spiritual experience.

Favorite song to hear on the radio

I’m always surprised when I hear myself on the radio. I hear “Love Me Anyway” with Chris Stapleton, off 2019’s Hurts 2B Human, sometimes, and it always makes me stop, and I just get this dumb happy look on my face. I’m also one of his biggest fans, so that might be why. And I got him again on this album. I can’t believe that people like that say yes. He’s one of the gentlest souls you would ever meet, and he is kind, and he loves collaborating, and he’s so freaking talented. I love the new song that we did, which came from a poem I wrote.

Most memorable music video

“You Make Me Sick” was really fun, and it was all so new. That was my third video ever. Mario, my co-star in it, was a really good friend of mine, so I felt comfortable with him. I mean, he’s the guy who would come over and help me hang curtains back in the day. He was just a sweetheart, and he’s superhot also. I’m like, “Look, my friend’s cute. Let’s use him.” And I got to destroy a mall, and there was a mall Santa. It was sort of War of the Roses, which is a movie from 1989 that I love, and it’s kind of like my marriage. We’re not that violent, but we want to be. It was a fun thing; there was an upside-down car. ­Director Dave ­Meyers is just a genius. We’ve done 20-some videos together, and it’s crazy the stuff we get to do. I feel like a stuntwoman most of the time.

Can’t Take Me Home song you’d remake today

I still had a great time putting that together. It’s a huge memory in my life, and I still love that album. I sound like a different person, like Alvin the Chipmunk. My voice was so little when I was younger. “Split Personality,” probably, I would revisit. That was the first song I had written alone. It was sunrise in Miami. I later sang it to LA Reid, and he was like, “Yeah, that’s no good.” I was living in Atlanta at the time, and I went out to Los Angeles to work with Babyface. I sang it to him and he goes, “Where have you been hiding this song?” I’m like, “Well, LA told me it was shit.” And he said, “Excuse me while I go call LA.” Then he helped me record it. It felt like a real accomplishment to have someone like Babyface, who can’t fit all of his plaques in his studio, tell you that he wants to help you record a song of yours that you love. It was a first for me. Back then, they didn’t want me to write. Pop stars didn’t; they just got handed songs and were told how to sing them. I was like, This is bullshit, so I started writing my own songs.

I would also say “Stop Falling,” but I think I nailed it in the way that only a 17-year-old can. There’s a purity and immaturity to it that’s kind of painful to listen to. I feel very motherly toward my younger self. I wish the me now had been around for her then. I wish I could give her a hug. That girl really needed it.

Album that has to be heard front to back

I took the sequencing of this new album probably more seriously than that of any other. Not that people even listen to albums that way anymore, but I thought, If they do, I’m going to give them the emotional roller coaster of life. It could have been side A is dance songs and side B is “Don’t commit suicide.” But that’s not life. Life is like, I had a good morning, but my afternoon was shit. Now I’m going to have a little cocktail before dinner. Dinner’s going to be great and then we’re going to argue afterward. That’s a whole day.

Best style era

I think Funhouse was probably the cutest I’ll ever be. I was 28, single, and ready to mingle. I looked good. I don’t know if I’d put it in a “good” category, but it’s definitely me.

Your kids’ favorite songs of yours

They always surprise me. Right now, Jameson’s stuck on “Trustfall.” He hasn’t even heard it in weeks and he is still running around the house singing it. He keeps messing up the double negative for ”Never Gonna Not Dance Again,” so we’re going to have to talk about that soon. God, what does Willow like? She’s like Captain Random. I was actually with her and all her little girlfriends the other night, and we were doing karaoke and they pulled out some deep cuts. They shocked me. “But We Lost It,” from Beautiful Trauma, was her friend’s favorite song. I was like, “What? How did you even hear that song? You’re 14. Why do you even understand what I’m saying? Who hurt you?” No, they’re all so random. Willow, I think she likes the ballads.

Moment that angered people the most

Sometimes I feel like just getting out of bed in the morning offends people. Maybe my song “Irrelevant” against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. That was touchy. Also, the world’s gotten to a point where people can’t really have differing opinions. If I have a political opinion, it then becomes that you hope my children die. We’re no longer talking about politics; you’ve just become a person that wishes my children harm. It’s interesting too, because those same people, the day before, would applaud me for not taking any shit and for standing up for what I believe in. But the second I say something they don’t agree with, then it’s “Fuck you too.” Well, then I can’t take your compliments and I can’t take your insults because I’m doing the same thing I did yesterday.But I love punk rock and that mentality of “Question everything and be prepared to stand on the mountain alone for what you believe in.” Back in the day, people used to just release singles when vinyl was the deal. And it’s become that way again, where you can just drop a song when the timing is good. It’s lovely to be able to say, “Okay, you want me to shut up and sing? Here you go.”

Song you couldn’t have made earlier in your career

Most of them, to be honest. Every album I’ve made is a chapter or a snapshot of who I was and what I was dealing with at that moment. I can recognize people in the audience, ’cause they’ve been at every show for 20 years and we’ve been growing up together. They know in their heart that I’m that person with them. When we were 16, we were singing about getting our hearts broken by a boy we probably don’t even remember the name of. Later, it was going through a divorce or whatever it is.

“Who Knew,” for example — I wrote that for 2006’s I’m Not Dead, what feels like forever ago. But that’s a song I could still put out today because it’s taken on so many different meanings for me over the years. I try to make those timeless songs all the time, but they’re hard. A new song like “When I Get There” I couldn’t have sung before my father passed away in 2021. It comes out when it happens.

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A type of aerial performance where dancers perform suspended perpendicular to the side of a building. Hart, a motorcycle racer whom P!nk began dating after the 2001 X Games and married in 2006. He has appeared in many of her music videos, including “So What,” “Just Give Me a Reason,” and “Just Like Fire.” They share two children: Willow, 11, and Jameson, 6. “It ain’t easy growin’ up in World War III,” P!nk sang on the song inspired by her parents’ divorce. Sixteen, to be exact: “There You Go,” “Most Girls,” “You Make Me Sick,” “Get the Party Started,” “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” Feel Good Time,” “Stupid Girls,” “U + Ur Hand,” “So What,” “Please Don’t Leave Me,” “Funhouse,” “Raise Your Glass,” “Fuckin’ Perfect,” “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” “Just Like Fire,” and “All I Know So Far.” P!nk has said she didn’t have control over her sound on her debut, where she only cowrote half the tracks. She started working with 4 Non-Blondes singer Linda Perry on the followup, M!ssundaztood, without telling her label. The executive who cofounded LaFace Records with Babyface. He gave P!nk a solo contract on LaFace after working with her short-lived girl group, Choice. P!nk separated from her husband in February 2008, but they later reunited. P!nk released the song weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, chanting, “Girls just wanna have rights / So why do we have to fight?” in the bridge. P!nk previously caused a firestorm with critical tweets of Donald Trump in 2017 after Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a football game when the players kneeled. P!nk has said she wrote “Who Knew” about a friend’s death from drug addiction at a young age, but that the song can also more broadly be about losing loved ones or the end of a friendship.
P!nk on Her Most Death-Defying Stunts and Polarizing Songs