music reporter

Perry draws accolades — and plenty of work

Linda Perry has come into her own — as a producer, songwriter and A&R person. Her friends call her a "force of nature" because when she sings, she wails, and when she writes, she writes hits. And when she signs an artist to her label Custard Records, she goes with her gut. Perry signed James Blunt when others had passed on him, and her label is home to such up-and-comers as Sierra Swan, Sunshine, Ben Jelen and Big Elf, as well as Courtney Love.

Perry is ready to start mixing Love's new solo album. "We're putting the marketing plan together, and Courtney is going to put a band together," Perry says. "She's ready and really excited to tour."

As a producer, Perry has worked with Christina Aguilera, Pink, Kelly Osbourne and Gwen Stefani, to name a few. Last week, she finished working with the Section, a string quartet specializing in string renditions of classic and modern rock. Perry admits that producing strings was no easy task. "It took me a week to get it," she says. "I had to figure out how I was going to approach it. But it was refreshing to jump on to something different. You have to make sure that you get the right emotion across on violin just like you would with a singer. I recorded them and approached them like I was dealing with a band."

Perry is in the studio with Alicia Keys. She calls Keys' new album a mix of "old school, soul and R&B."

Perry began her career in San Francisco as lead singer and songwriter for 4 Non Blondes. On Sunday, the San Francisco chapter of the Recording Academy will honor her, along with Sammy Hagar and Narada Michael Walden, at historic Westin St. Francis in Union Square. The evening will benefit advocacy, education and professional development programs spearheaded by the chapter.

"All I have been fighting for, my motivation, was one day to be respected for what I do," Perry says. "I have people reaching out to me constantly now to work with me. What it has done is made me realize that I never needed acceptance. I realize now that none of that stuff matters because it is not going to change anything I do."

Events veteran Ed Micone has joined Paradigm to develop its adult contemporary music, comedy and casino-based business. Casinos bookings, especially those on Indian reservations, are booming, and Micone says he also will be looking at opportunities on and off-Broadway. During the course of his career he has worked with Tony Bennett, k.d. lang, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand. Micone also was an original producer of Billy Crystal's Broadway hit "700 Sundays," the North American debut of "Riverdance" at Radio City Music Hall and six Super Bowl halftime shows. In his earlier career as an agent, Micone handled Crystal, Robin Williams and Dana Carvey.

The City of Hope will honor Bob Cavallo, chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Music Group, with this year's Spirit of Life Award. The gala will be held Sept. 27 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. To help raise funds for the cancer charity, Disney star Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) will donate $1 to the City of Hope from each concert ticket sold for her summer tour. It should raise about $500,000.