2. Linda Perry — Musician, Producer
Though this rock star first hit the big time in 1992 with her band, 4 Non Blondes, and their chart-topping single "What’s Up," Linda Perry has since made a name for herself behind the recording studio mixing boards rather than in front of the mic. After the worldwide success of 4 Non Blondes’ debut album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More!, Perry split from the band before they had a chance to make a follow-up album, instead releasing a critically acclaimed solo album that nonetheless failed to get anywhere close to Bigger‘s 1.8 million copies sold.
It wasn’t until 2001, when Perry penned another chart-topping hit â€” this time the No.1 smash "Get the Party Stated" on Pink’s M!ssundaztood â€” that Perry’s career took another turn for the top. Her producing of Pink’s blockbuster second CD was followed by producing Christina Aguilera’s Stripped (2002), including the No. 1 hit "Beautiful," cementing Perry’s new status as hitmaker to young, edgy pop stars. Collaborations with other artists followed, including Gwen Stefani, Kelly Osbourne and the Dixie Chicks (Perry co-wrote "Voice Inside My Head" on 2006′s Taking the Long Way).
Despite Perry’s mainstream success as a producer and songwriter, she has remained true to an independent ethos in her own music. She re-released her solo album, In Flight, on indie label Kill Rock Stars two years ago and also founded her own label, Custard, which is behind James Blunt’s ubiquitous tune "You’re Beautiful." Perry told Entertainment Weekly in 2005: "If I start doing stuff again that I don’t believe in, I’ll pack up my bags, sell the studio, and go work at Wal-Mart."