Linda Perry: Powerhouse songwriter, producer and LGBT philanthropist

Linda Perry has been keeping busy. This week alone she performed for Hilary Clinton at Christina Aguilera‘s house, at Outfest’s Legacy Awards in honor of Tom Hanks, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Vanguard Awards, where she played and sang “Hands of Love,” the song she wrote for Freeheld.

Outfest's 2015 Legacy Awards

Outfest board member and actor Dan Bucatinsky was more than excited to share how he got Linda to perform the Oscar-winning Bruce Springsteen song, “Streets of Philadelphia”  at the Vanguard Awards.

“It’s a long story but we had this brainstorm of ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if the song from Philadelphia was played at the event?'” Dan said. “And obviously, right when that was said, at some point it was said, ‘Let’s call Bruce Springsteen.’ And we were all joking because we can’t get the original musician to do it two weeks in advance, or ever, for that matter. But I said, ‘No no no. It should also be an original, poetic, authentic—’ like I’m just her biggest fan. I just thought it would be an amazing, organic way to honor not only where we’ve come but where we’re going. And also we’re a community that is disparate and artistic and I think Linda represents all of that.”

Dan Bucatinsky with Linda PerryOutfest's 2015 Legacy Awards

The award-winning out musician/writer/producer is happy to be philanthropic for causes she believes in. Every year she puts on An Evening With Women, the LA LGBT Center’s night benefitting services for LGBT women, bringing in friends like No Doubt, Sia and Pink to perform. At the Vanguard Awards on Saturday night, she brought Miley Cyrus on stage to help auction off her piano signed by stars like Katy Perry and Leonardo DiCaprio, and with the aid of Miley’s tongue (she licked the piano to entice bidders), they raised $50,000 for the Center.

496195768Los Angeles LGBT Center 46th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards - Inside

When she’s not lending her time elsewhere, she’s at home with her wife, Sara Gilbert, and their eight-month-old son Rhodes Emilio Gilbert Perry. Along with Sara’s other two children, the family recently got musical together for the album Deer Sounds.

“We really wanted to write for the whole family, so songs that were written are kind of cool because although they’re very child subject matters, it’s still relatable to adults and songs are very adult-friendly in the sound,” Linda told us on the carpet of the Outfest Legacy Awards. “It was just really fun because there was no editing. ‘OK, a pirate song? I’ll do that!'”

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's 2014 An Evening With Women (AEWW) - Arrivals

Linda jokes her friends tell her it’s her “best work,” which she thinks is because the experience was so freeing.

“It was just fun and the family sang and wrote. It was just a really sweet project,” she said. “Now we’re playing Barnes and Noble!”

It’s definitely a change in venue for Linda, who has been a rock singer since the late ’80s. Linda has continued to evolve throughout the decades, though, receiving accolades and a recent induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2014, she hosted the musical reality competition show Make It or Break It, a show that ended with her signing two out solo musicians—Candice Martello (Hemming) and Aimee Bessada (A Dream a Coast)—to her label, Custard Records. 

“Hemming is out on the road with Chris Cornell,” Linda said, updating us on her two stars. “We had some really good shit happen with her. And Aimee Bessada—her EP is done. We released it and we’re waiting to get her out of Canada and get her on a tour. You know, breaking artists is very hard. Especially when you don’t have a lot of following—new artists are hard to break and we’re not a huge label so we’re doing the best that we can and I feel we’re going to do OK. But it’s going to be a slow process.”

There is a chance we could see both artists touring together as well.


“We’ve been thinking about stuff like that. We just gotta do things slow and clever,” Linda said. “There’s a lot of obstacles and a lot of other bands in the way.”

But she’s been working on music for herself as well, saying she’s writing “the best I’ve written in a long time.”

“I just got that Songwriters Hall of Fame and ever since then I feel like my songwriting has been very precise because I’m like, ‘Fuck, shit, I better start writing some good songs!'” she said. “So I better get my shit together. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

2015 Outfest Legacy Awards - Arrivals

As one of the foremost lesbians of rock and roll, Linda always has impeccable style. She shared that she often has clothes made for her, as it’s hard for her to find what she’s looking for. 

“I have to have things made because I’m small and I like hats. I’m not a chick, I’m not a dude. I’m in the middle,” she said. “I have my hats made, my pants made and it’s very hard for me to shop because otherwise, like my day to day wear, I’m in sweats and Adidas and baggy pants because I can’t ever find anything that fits me. Or I’ll steal Sara’s. I take her clothes because she gets all her clothes from The Talk. I literally go to her show and sit outside and I shop.”

The perks of being part of a power couple.