BEVERLY HILLS — In a strange twist of fate, it took a few blondes (and a pink) for Linda Perry to discover her true calling.
After producing Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani and Pink, the former 4 Non Blondes leader has chosen to forgo her singing career in favor of working behind the scenes.
"I'm so loving what I do, and I'm so good at it," Perry said at Tuesday's ASCAP Pop Music Awards. "I'm a horrible producer when it comes to me, but for other artists, I don't know what it is, but something happens and I'm just really good at it."
Perry is working with Stefani on the No Doubt singer's solo material (see "Gwen Stefani Recording Solo Material"), but she was tight-lipped about it Tuesday. "I think Gwen would explain it best," she said. "I would prefer not to talk about it myself, but it's fun and I really enjoy working with her."
She insisted that producers don't belong in the limelight. "Let the artist do that. ... Nowadays the producers are in the videos, the producers are all over. ... No way am I gonna do that. I don't do any interviews. Once in a blue moon, but tonight's special."
So special that Perry even performed Aguilera's "Beautiful," which she co-wrote.
The producer did talk a bit about Pink's upcoming third album, boasting that she and the singer wrote and recorded it in an "unheard of" month and a half. "It's gonna be mind-blowing," Perry said. "It's so not what anybody's gonna expect from her. It shows the artist in her. She's definitely reached a whole 'nother level of musicianship."
Perry recorded most of the album at Pink's house, setting up a 24-track studio in an extra room. As she did on Missundaztood, Perry pushed Pink to pull from strong emotions, only the results this time are a bit lighter. "I personally didn't want to hear her yapping about her problems, so it's in third party. It's telling stories about other people, 'cause honestly I couldn't take it. I can't take another child abuse story."
Perry has also been working with British pop trio Sugababes, rocker Melissa Etheridge and world music star Angelique Kidjo.
"I think women gravitate toward me because I am a woman producing and songwriting and there's none out there," Perry said. "There really isn't. So I think that it's nice to be around another woman, because you let go of your guard a little bit more and, like I said, I think I'm really good at what I do."
Perry has recently been in the studio with a man, however — Stefani's husband, Bush singer Gavin Rossdale.
"He's a Scorpio, it takes him an hour to make a decision," Perry said, laughing. "But he's awesome. I loved working with him. And I usually write songs in a guy key because my voice is so husky."
A spokesperson at Bush's record label had no information about Rossdale's solo work.