LOS ANGELES -- For all her songs about fights, broken promises, romantic letdowns and wild nights, Pink is actually in a Zen-mode these days -- and all the credit belongs to her 1-year-old daughter, Willow.
"I used to be really dark. Now, I wake up and check her pulse and make sure she's not having a temperature. And then we dance. And we dance, and we dance, and we dance," she says. "Then, we go on bike rides. And we dance some more. Everything's a song. It's just a lot more fun. I guess that's how the record reflects where I am right now. I'm just having a lot more fun than I ever have."
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Listening to Pink speak about Willow, it's clear that there is a kinder, gentler side to the singer known for her tough demeanor and her rebellious nature. But the platinum-selling, platinum-dyed powerhouse singer hasn't exactly gone soft. "The Truth About Love," her new album out this week, is filled with breakup and makeup anthems mostly concerning her on-again-off-again-on-again relationship with husband Carey Hart.
"I had a lot left over from my last breakup with my current husband and baby daddy," she says.
The 37-year-old motorcycle racer and 33-year-old singer-songwriter, whose real name is Alecia Moore, married in 2006, separated in 2008 and reconciled in 2009. Exposing the ups and downs of their union through song is familiar territory for the reluctant pop star, who declares "I miss you, baby/Come home to me" on the song "How Come You're Not Here."
The album is the singer's first full-length album since 2008's double platinum "Funhouse," though she remained on the charts with new material from a platinum-selling greatest hits package, including the hits "Raise Your Glass" and "(Expletive) Perfect." She calls her new album, which features Eminem, Nate Ruess of fun. and Lily Rose Cooper (or Lily Allen), "just kinda all over the place."
"(I was) just having fun. I think that's a new thing for me. I was having a lot more fun than I was having before. I think production-wise it's a lot more interesting," she says. "The musicality, I feel like I raised the bar for myself."
Pink declares that "fresh blood" was injected into her new album from Greg Kurstin, a music producer who previously worked with the likes of Foster the People, Kelly Clarkson and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Kurstin, who is also one-half of indie pop duo The Bird and the Bee, notes that Pink was lightning quick in the studio. He says her latest single, the Top 10 hit "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)," was crafted in just one day.
"She's really fast with lyrics," says Kurstin. "We would finish a song pretty much every day we worked. She would just do one or two takes, and they were usually amazing. She's just an open book. I think it's why so many different kinds of people relate to her and connect with her."
Being a mom helped to lighten Pink's mood while recording, and practically speaking, also changed the process.
"Studio sessions used to be like, 'OK. I'm gonna start my record. Get the whiskey and some cigarettes, and let's do this (expletive) thing,'" says Pink, flashing a mischievous grin. "Now, it's Monday through Friday from 1 to 10 p.m. She would be there every couple of hours. Everyone I worked with was either a parent or friend, so it was very, very easy."
During her maternity leave, Pink says she didn't keep up with the pop scene, including fellow pop divas like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, who ascended to prominence in her four years between albums. Instead, she's been listening to folksy acts like First Aid Kit and City and Color, even though "none of my music reflects any of that."
"If there's something popular, I try and not go anywhere near it," said Pink, who has frequently skewered her pop compatriots since she released her debut album in 2000. "Also, everything is also really techno-y, and that gives me bad flashbacks to my past. It makes me wanna grab a glowstick. I try to steer clear."
But while she may have matured musically, Pink insists that she's very much the wild spirit that first made waves when she debuted on the scene 12 years ago -- apparently having a child isn't a complete life-changer.
"I hope I never grow up. I feel like I've regressed in a lot of ways," she says. "I think having a little girl that's fun and funny, she's really funny, she's even goofier than I used to be, so maybe I was maturing, but that's over."