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on the cover

The Indomitable

Linda Perry

Music in the Soul, With the Soul of a Warrior By Robyn Flans / Photos by Kristin Burns

D

ynamo pretty much sums up Linda Perry. Maybe superwoman. Self-professed music addict. She’s a producer (last year becoming the first female in 15 years to be nominated by NARAS for Producer of the Year) and engineer, and she’s in the songwriting Hall of Fame, having helped to launch Pink’s career and written songs for and with such luminaries as Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Adele, Alicia Keys and Dolly Parton, among countless others. She doesn’t sleep much. Recently, Perry and her business partner, producer Kerry Brown, opened up what she calls “offices” on Ventura Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley. Actually, it’s a music complex dubbed We Are Hear, a combination record label, publishing house, management company and production space. During our conversation she recalled that her wife, Sara Gilbert, asked her at one point in the not too distant past what she was doing now that artists and art seemed pretty stagnant. Perry answered: “When people want music and songs, my phone will start ringing. I’m going to keep myself busy by being a leader, not a follower, which is what I’ve spent time doing. And now my phone is ringing a lot. I guess people want songs again.” Mix: This is Mix magazine, so let’s jump right in. Is there a studio at We Are Hear? Linda Perry: We’re building one in the back. We see a lot of kids skating around on the weekends, kind of aimless. There’s not a lot for kids to do over there, so Kerry and I wanted a place on Ventura Boulevard where kids who were interested in music could come in. We’ll sell vinyl and we have posters and merch, and we’re going to set up a little listening post with record players and they can sit there and hang and listen to music. And then in the back we will have a showcase room and we’ll host songwriter showcases where we will invite kids to come down and play songs. We’ll make an event out of it,

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and we’ll record them and send them a WAV file of what we recorded. That way they can meet other kids who want to be in bands, because we believe that one of the problems with this generation is that there is a lack of community and that kids aren’t understanding the connections they should have with their bandmates—that’s what made the Stones and Zeppelin and all the greatest bands in the world. They started with a connection and that’s how they created greatness. We’re trying to bring back that community. But the studio that you record artists in is a separate one, in Sherman Oaks? Yes. I originally had a big studio in North Hollywood, but it felt like my ego was flaring and I decided to sell it, so I turned a house of mine that I loved that was sitting there and doing nothing into my studio, and it’s amazing. There’s a great vibe there. It’s not a house studio; it just happens to be a studio in a house. You’re an engineer, as well, I understand. And you have a penchant for analog gear. When did that all start? When I left 4 Non Blondes, one of the biggest problems I experienced during the process of making the record Bigger, Better, Faster, More! was, in all honesty, I did not like the sound of it whatsoever. It sounded really thin, like there was way too much reverb, too polished and I couldn’t stand my vocals— the whole sound of the record. And this was prior to me understanding that I would become an engineer and producer. All I would do was go back and talk to the producer and say, “Listen, my guitar tone in the live room sounds great, but when I come in here and listen to it, it sounds distant and far.” I was just asking him to tell me what he was doing, but the go-to answer was, “Let me be the producer and you just go be the artist.”

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