Almost 20 years on from the release of her debut album, singer Pink is now worth an estimated US$110 million.
But it’s been revealed she wasn’t always flush with cash.
Earlier in her career, the singer was world-famous but “penniless”, after becoming the victim of a dodgy recording contract.
Pink, 39, makes the confession in an interview with Variety, marking her new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Pink’s music career started in the mid-90s, as a member of the female R&B trio Choice. The group released just one song — Key To My Heart, which appeared on the soundtrack to 1996 Shaquille O’Neal film Kazaam — before, in Pink’s words, the group was “shelved.”
The record company boss who’d signed Choice, LA Reid, told Pink he was interested in her as a solo artist — but that she had to make the decision to go solo herself, lest he be accused of meddling with the group’s contract.
“And it was left up to me to go solo or to stay on the shelf for the rest of my life, so I had to break two girls’ hearts,” she told Variety.
She jumped — but found there was no safety net to catch her.
“Everybody around me disappeared because nobody wants to get sued,” she said.
Broke and with few options, she started writing the songs that would become her debut album, Can’t Take Me Home. The strength of her songwriting caught the attention of a publishing executive who offered her a million-dollar advance — only for her old managers from the Choice days to resurface and take the money off her, arguing they were entitled to it.
Released in 2000, the R&B-skewed Can’t Take Me Home was a worldwide hit: It sold 4 million copies, birthing two massive hit singles in There You Go and Most Girls.
And yet, Pink was still flat broke — done over by bad deals.
“I had been screwed, blued and tattooed by every person I came across,” she said.
“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.”
It was meeting her manager Roger Davies before the release of her sophomore album Missundaztood that Pink says turned her fortunes around. He’d managed divas like Cher, Tina Turner and Janet Jackson, but Pink’s ambition and career goals convinced him to team up with her.
Missundaztood was a swift left-turn for Pink, the singer adopting a rockier sound that she’s stuck with to this day. The album sold three times as many copies as her debut — and this time, Pink had a healthy cut of the profits. Davies is still Pink’s manger, and she his sole client.
Fast forward to 2019, and Pink is now one of the world’s most successful artists, making much of her income from touring: Next month, she’ll continue her 157-date Beautiful Trauma world tour after a five-month hiatus.
“I don’t give up. So when I wasn’t selling records, I was still selling out arenas. I didn’t need to win any popularity contests; I wanted to be a f**king touring artist and I wanted to be great at what I did. And at almost 40 years old, I can say I’m great at what I do,” she told Variety.