Mentorology in Actionwith 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 full

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 4
Non 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 4
Non 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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4 Responses to “Mentorology in Action with Linda Perry, Musical Mastermind”

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  2. Suzanne Bender

    I just moved back to my hometown from NYC ( my father just passed away). I have been a fish out of water in all aspects in my life so far. I just got sober a year and a half ago. I am taking this time to find myself. I heard Linda Perry on “The Talk” A Letter To God” and was floored, speechless !!!!! I since then, heard her again singing “What’s Up” did not know the two songs were the same person …. All while waking up with my alarm in the AM to that same song. The happiest time in my life was when I spent time in a music studio days on end with some friends. I would give my right arm to be mentored by her ….. Thank u for this article. She gives me some much to look forward to in my life.!!!!! Pls let me know if she is coming to the East coast for ANYTHING I wish there was a center near me similar to The Center for Women in LA. I have been straight pretending for years. Xo.

    • Dawn Carroll

      Welcome Suzanne we adore having you part of our OMSF Family! So sorry to hear about your Dad and we are thrilled to hear about your mentoring passion! On our team page check out Rick Dyer- Rick has the most amazing story on recovery we have ever heard- his blog can be seen on our Mentoring Stories Page or a quick google Rick Dyer Over My Shoulder Foundation! While you are at it…check out another favorite Julie Silver Over My Shoulder Foundation! Please stay in touch with us and join our face book page- there are many new friends there! xoxoxo

  3. Steve Costello

    After meeting Dawn Carroll on Facebook–and having my curiosity piqued about OMSF–I read this fascinating and inspiring story about Linda Perry. As a young musician trying to find my way in an increasingly untrustworthy and disjointed industry, it’s reassuring to discover that there are still people out there willng to extend a hand to fresh talent, guiding them with patience and compassion toward their goals. It’s only very seldom that anyone accomplishes anything of note completely on their own.

    Thanks, Dawn, for inviting me to visit your site!


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