Surely Pink’s parents appreciate the irony.
Growing up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, their daughter, still known as Alecia Moore, was the proverbial rebellious teen to the extreme. Her parents, an insurance salesman and an emergency room nurse, divorced when she was in middle school; she subsequently acted out in a big way.
How rebellious was she? She was smoking by age 10. Got her first tattoo and pierced her tongue at 12. Was experimenting with drugs and running away by 14.
Fast-forward 25 years. Alecia “Pink” Moore is now a married mother of a young daughter and son, in addition to being one of the planet’s most popular pop stars.
“I have so many worries and fears as a parent,” she told People last year, when she and her children appeared on the cover of the magazine’s annual “Beautiful Issue.” “I’m such a worrier. They’re going to be fine. … But the world, I don’t know if the world’s going to be fine, and so I pray a lot. I cry a lot. I talk to them a lot. I hope a lot. I curse a lot.”
As her parents certainly did when Pink was a child.
She turned out just fine. Her inner strength and outer toughness have served her well. After a brief tenure in a teenage girl group, she signed to R&B super-producer L.A. Reid’s LaFace Records as a solo artist. Her R&B-tinged 2000 debut, “Can’t Take Me Home,” released when she was just 20 years old, sold a couple million copies.
The record label loved it, but she didn’t. She bucked the system and her label bosses to make her second album, “M!ssundaztood,” the way she wanted. She wrote about her life and gave the songs a more aggressive sound, club beats combined with rock guitars.
“M!ssundaztood” was an even bigger smash than her debut, selling more than 10 million copies and establishing Pink — or P!nk, as she often stylizes her stage name — as a global superstar with an authentic edge. She would be nobody’s coquettish Britney Spears.
‘You’re not always going to be popular when you’re a woman with a lot of opinions and you don’t back down and you don’t apologize,” she told People last year. “It’s hard for people. But I’m OK with it, because I like me.”
Pink has unapologetically remained true to her own vision, even as that vision has, as is entirely natural, evolved with age. In 2013, the former teenage skate punk became the face of a corporate CoverGirl marketing campaign built around the hook “beauty with an edge.” Just months shy of her 40th birthday, she frets over her kids’ future.
Another notable milestone: Nearly 20 years into her career, she has finally discovered New Orleans. On Sunday night at the Smoothie King Center, she’ll preside over her first headlining concert in New Orleans. Her only previous local appearance was opening for Justin Timberlake in 2007 at what was then the New Orleans Arena.
Granted, she hasn’t toured as prolifically in North America as other artists of her stature. She has focused more on Europe and Australia, where she is massively popular. Her 2009 "Funhouse" tour included only 12 North American dates, but she spent 18 sold-out nights at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena during the tour’s three-month Australian leg.
She logged more than 140 shows around the globe for 2013’s yearlong "The Truth About Love" tour. Again, no New Orleans stop.
As of early this week, hundreds of tickets were still available for Sunday’s show at the Smoothie King Center (show time is 7:30 p.m.; Julia Michaels opens). Maybe Pink skipped New Orleans on previous tours because the city isn’t a particularly strong market for her. Conversely, more local appearances might have made for a stronger market.
Tickets aren’t cheap. Reserved seats on the Smoothie King Center’s floor are $224 plus fees, as are most seats in the arena’s lower bowl; lower-bowl “side view” seats and a smattering at the rear of the room are $180-plus. To sit in the very top row of section 314 in the upper bowl will still set you back a Benjamin and change.
But based on reviews for her current "Beautiful Trauma" tour, fans get plenty of bang for their bucks. Pink concerts are elaborate productions involving feats of aerial athleticism and her prodigious voice, one of the most potent in all of pop. The set list includes many of her hits, as well as at least one song from her forthcoming album, "Hurts 2B Human."
On tour, she alternates between all-powerful pop star and doting mom. Her son and daughter, and often her husband, motocross racer Carey Hart, accompany her on the road. She frequently shares scenes of domestic bliss — backstage family dinners, hotel room fortresses, shopping trips for toddler-size boots — via social media.
During an Australian TV interview in 2013, when her daughter Willow was two, Pink expressed her hope that Willow would not follow exactly in her mom's footsteps.
“I got my tongue pierced and my first tattoo when I was 12, so I’m hoping (Willow waits) for like 15, 16," she said. “I’m just going to tell her, nowadays, that it’s cooler not to. You’re cooler if you don’t do what everybody else is doing. And she’s going to listen, and we’re going to best friends forever, and we’re never going to argue, ever.”
She laughed at that last, wishful notion. She, of all people, knows better.