Katy Perry

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Katy Perry
Katy Perry NRJ 2014 3.jpg
Perry attending the NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, France on December 14, 2013
BornKatheryn Elizabeth Hudson
(1984-10-25) October 25, 1984 (age 29)
near Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesKaty Hudson
  • Recording artist
  • actress
  • businesswoman
  • philanthropist
Home townSanta Barbara, California, U.S.
Net worthIncrease US $75 million (estimate as of June 2013)[1]
Spouse(s)Russell Brand (m. 2010–12)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
Years active1997–present
Associated actsThe Matrix
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Katy Perry
Katy Perry NRJ 2014 3.jpg
Perry attending the NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, France on December 14, 2013
BornKatheryn Elizabeth Hudson
(1984-10-25) October 25, 1984 (age 29)
near Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesKaty Hudson
  • Recording artist
  • actress
  • businesswoman
  • philanthropist
Home townSanta Barbara, California, U.S.
Net worthIncrease US $75 million (estimate as of June 2013)[1]
Spouse(s)Russell Brand (m. 2010–12)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
Years active1997–present
Associated actsThe Matrix

Katheryn Elizabeth "Katy" Hudson (born October 25, 1984),[2] better known by her stage name Katy Perry, is an American recording artist, businesswoman, philanthropist, and actress. She was born near Santa Barbara, California and primarily grew up there before moving to Los Angeles. Having had limited exposure to mainstream pop music in her childhood, she pursued a career in gospel music as a teen and released her debut studio album, Katy Hudson (2001). She later recorded a collaborative album with The Matrix and a solo album she worked on with Glen Ballard, the latter of which was never released.

In April 2007, Perry signed a recording contract with Capitol Records. She rose to prominence with the release of her single "I Kissed a Girl" followed by her second album, One of the Boys (2008), which is predominantly pop rock. Perry's third record, Teenage Dream (2010), was preceded by the Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping singles "California Gurls" and "Teenage Dream", and later produced the number-one singles "Firework", "E.T.", and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)". Teenage Dream became the first album recorded by a female artist in history to produce five number-one hits, and the second album overall after Michael Jackson's Bad (1987). The album features disco, electronic music, funk, and hip hop in addition to pop and rock. In March 2012, she re-released Teenage Dream as Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, which was preceded by the number-one single "Part of Me". Her fourth album, Prism (2013), was preceded by the number-one single "Roar". The album was originally planned to be "darker" than Perry's previous material, but ultimately became an album influenced by Swedish dance music and focusing heavily on self-empowerment. The album later produced the number-one single "Dark Horse".

Perry has received numerous awards and nominations, including eleven Grammy nominations and Billboard dubbed her as 2012's Woman of the Year. She remains the only artist to spend 69 consecutive weeks in the top ten of the Hot 100.[3][4] Perry is also the third best selling digital singles artist in US according to RIAA.[5] She has ventured into celebrity endorsement and released fragrances Purr, Meow, and Killer Queen. In late July 2011, she made her film debut voicing Smurfette in The Smurfs. Billboard ranked Perry at number fourteen on their 2011 list of top moneymakers, grossing more than $11 million.[6] In early July 2012, she released her 3D autobiographical documentary film, Katy Perry: Part of Me, which concentrated on her life as a touring artist and the breakdown of her one-year marriage to English actor/comedian Russell Brand. As of early November 2013, Perry has sold more than 11 million albums and 81 million singles worldwide and her singles are some of the best-selling worldwide.[7][8] As of late February 2014, she holds the record for most 5x platinum singles in the United States, with 5 of her singles reaching the achievement.[9]

Life and career

1984–98: Early life and career beginnings

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson was born near Santa Barbara, California, to Pentecostal pastors[2] Maurice Keith Hudson and Mary Christine Perry of Keith Hudson Ministries. Her younger brother David (known as Hudson) is also a singer. She and David have one older sister named Angela. Keith is of English descent while Mary is of Irish, Portuguese, English, and German descent. Through Mary, she is a half-niece of film director/producer Frank Joseph Perry, Jr.[10] As children, she and her siblings attended religious schools and camps, including Santa Barbara Christian School for their elementary years. Her parents often traveled from town to town with their ministry, eventually settling in Santa Barbara by 1995. For her 13th birthday, she got her first guitar and began writing songs.[11] The family lived in poverty and "barely got by" while she was growing up, she would publicly play her guitar and sing songs to make money during her early teenage years.[12]

She was also incorporated into her parents' ministry and sang in churches between the ages of nine and sixteen.[13][14] She grew up listening primarily to gospel music,[15] as her parents discouraged her, David, and Angela from listening to too much "secular music".[14] As a child, some of the only secular artists she was allowed to listen to were Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, as well as the music of Édith Piaf due to her mother being able to speak French. According to Perry, there was a strange "hall pass" with their music, due to her parents' belief that it was less harmful than most secular music.[16] During her early teens, Perry would rely on her friends to sneak in CDs to listen to and would watch MTV at their houses without her parents' knowledge, which led to her discovery of most popular music.[17]

Perry learned how to dance in a recreation building in Santa Barbara. She was taught by seasoned dancers and began with swing, Lindy Hop, and jitterbug.[18] Perry initially started singing because she was in the middle of a phase where she was "copycatting" her sister Angela. Growing up, she often took cassette tapes Angela practiced with and rehearsed the songs and performed them in front of their parents. They suggested she take vocal coaching. She took the opportunity and began taking lessons at the age of nine and continued until she was sixteen.[19]

1999–2006: Katy Hudson and The Matrix

At 15, Perry's singing in church attracted the attention of rock veterans from Nashville, Tennessee, who brought her there to polish her writing skills.[2] In December 1999, she took her GED after her first semester of her freshman year at Dos Pueblos High School and decided to leave school in the pursuit of a career in music. Perry briefly studied Italian opera at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.[19] In Nashville, she started recording demos and was taught by country music veterans how to craft songs and play guitar.[14][15] Perry signed to the Christian music label Red Hill Records. She recorded and released her debut album, titled Katy Hudson, on February 8, 2001. Two singles were released from the album; "Trust in Me" in February 2001, and "Search Me" in June 2001.[20] She supported this album with The Strangely Normal Tour, opening for Phil Joel, LaRue, Luna Halo, Earthsuit, and V*Enna.[21] The album was unsuccessful as the label ceased operations in December 2001.[2]

At the age of 17, Perry left her home for Los Angeles, California in the hopes of pursuing a music career, before signing a record deal with Island Records.[22] Having grown up listening to mostly gospel music, she had few references when she began recording songs.[14] Asked by a producer with whom she would like to collaborate, Perry had no idea. In September 2002, she went with her mother to a hotel. Inside, she turned on VH1 and first heard about producer Glen Ballard when watching him talking about Alanis Morissette that night, prompting her interest in working with Ballard. He produced Morissette's Jagged Little Pill, which had a "huge influence" on her.[2] She expressed interest in working with Ballard to her initial collaborator, who arranged a meeting for her with Ballard in Los Angeles. Perry presented one of her songs to Ballard, who then helped develop her songwriting over the next few years.[14] In 2003, she briefly performed as "Katheryn Perry" to avoid confusion with actress Kate Hudson before adopting the stage name "Katy Perry".[2] Perry was subsequently dropped by The Island Def Jam Music Group, and signed to Columbia Records in 2004.[23] The same year, Perry and Kaya Jones provided backing vocals on Mick Jagger's song "Old Habits Die Hard", which won the 2005 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.[24]

However, according to Perry, the label at Columbia Records was not amenable with her vision and did not give her full creative control. Instead, one of Columbia's ideas was to pair her with the record production team The Matrix, who was working on an album, to serve as its female vocalist. Eighty percent completed, however, Columbia decided not to finish it. The album ended up being shelved. Her burgeoning music career led to her being named "The Next Big Thing" in October 2004 by Blender magazine.[25] A solo album she had worked on with Ballard was scheduled for release on August 18, 2005 but was cancelled and Perry was subsequently dropped from Columbia Records.[26] Some of her collaborations with Ballard, such as "Box", "Diamonds", and "Long Shot", were posted on her official MySpace page.[2] "Simple", one of the songs she recorded with Ballard, was released on the soundtrack to the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.[27] Kelly Clarkson later used "Long Shot" (which Perry wrote with then-boyfriend Matt Thiessen and Ballard)[28] for her March 2009 album All I Ever Wanted. While waiting to find another label, she worked in an independent A&R company called Taxi Music.[2] In early 2006, she sang backing vocals on P.O.D.'s single "Goodbye for Now" and was featured in the music video.[29] Late that November, she played the love interest of her then-boyfriend Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travie McCoy in the band's music video for "Cupid's Chokehold".[30]

2007–09: Breakthrough with One of the Boys

While in the process of being dropped by Columbia in 2006, the company's publicity executive Angelica Cob-Baehler enthusiastically recommended her to Virgin Records chairman Jason Flom. At the time Flom was leading a complete revival in fortunes at the label and looking to crown recent achievements by breaking a global pop act. Despite mixed reactions from fellow Virgin executives, Flom became convinced that Perry could be a breakthrough star and as a result, Perry was signed to the newly created Capitol Music Group, a merger between Virgin and Capitol, in early 2007. As part of the deal, the label secured the masters to the unfinished album, recorded while at Columbia, that would go on to form a significant part of her album One of the Boys. Since executives felt the album was lacking an "undeniable smash or two", they arranged for her to collaborate with producer Dr. Luke.[31]

Perry performing in July 2008

The two co-wrote her songs "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold". A campaign was started with the November 2007 release of the video to "Ur So Gay", aimed at introducing her to the music market and establishing her image. A digital EP led by "Ur So Gay" was later released to create online buzz and press story.[13][32] Madonna helped publicize "Ur So Gay" by praising the track on the JohnJay & Rich show in April 2008 and encouraging listeners to purchase and listen to it.[33]

"I Kissed a Girl" was released on April 28, 2008 as the album's lead single. Her A&R, Chris Anokute, told HitQuarters the song and its controversial theme had been met with strong resistance at the label. Anokute said that they needed the support of one of the label's radio promoters; otherwise, she would have likely been dropped again. The first station to pick up the song was The River in Nashville. After playing it for three days they were inundated with enthusiastic calls.[32] Perry also performed backing vocals on the song "Another Night in the Hills" from Gavin Rossdale's solo album Wanderlust, which was released in early June 2008.[34] In the same month, "I Kissed a Girl" reached the number one position in the United States, and proceeded to top the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks, giving Perry her mainstream breakthrough.[35] The song also became Perry's first number one single in many other countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Australia. On June 20, she began touring with the Warped Tour 2008.[36]

Perry performing at the Life Ball in May 2009 in Vienna, Austria

Perry's second album One of the Boys was released on June 17, 2008, to mixed critical reviews.[37] The album reached number nine on the Billboard 200.[38] In August 2008, Perry spoke out against rumors that her parents were opposed to her music and career, stating "They love and support me".[39] "Hot n Cold" was released as the album's second single on September 9. The song reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as topping the charts in Germany, Canada, and Denmark. After Perry wrapped up her appearance at the Warped Tour, she went on tours in Europe. The third single from One of the Boys, "Thinking of You", was released on January 12, 2009 to moderate success. The same month, Perry launched her first headlining tour, the Hello Katy Tour, on January 23. The tour consisted of 89 concerts and took place in North America, Oceania, Europe, and Asia. She won Best New Act at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards, which she co-hosted,[40] and Best International Female Artist at the 2009 BRIT Awards.[41] The Guinness Book of World Records recognized her in its 2010 version as the "Best Start on the US Digital Chart by a Female Artist," for the singles selling over two million digital copies.[42]

The Matrix's self-titled debut album, which features Perry, was later released via the team's label Let's Hear It during Perry's solo tour as a result of her success. When the release date was scheduled, "I Kissed a Girl" had been charting well. Matrix member Lauren Christy spoke to Perry about the decision, but she wanted to hold the release until the fourth single of One of the Boys had been dispatched. Despite their communication, The Matrix was released onto iTunes on January 27, 2009.[43] "Waking Up In Vegas" acted as the fourth and final single from One of the Boys, and was released on April 7. The song became Perry's third non-consecutive top 10 single in the United States. During the summer of 2009, Perry filmed a cameo appearance for Get Him to the Greek. Her scene, in which she kisses her real-life future husband Russell Brand, was cut and does not appear in the film.[44] On August 4, 2009, she performed as opening act for one date of the band No Doubt's Summer Tour 2009.[45] The following month, she was featured on a remix of Colorado-based band 3OH!3's song "Starstrukk", the idea for the collaboration having come after Perry's tour that featured 3OH!3 as the supporting act. The song was released on iTunes on September 8, 2009. In October, MTV Unplugged announced she had recorded a live album with acoustic performances of several One of the Boys tracks. It also included two new songs, "Brick by Brick" and a cover of Fountains of Wayne's "Hackensack".[46] The live album had been recorded on July 22, 2009[47] and was released on November 13. It included both a CD and a DVD.[48] On November 28, 2009, the Hello Katy Tour concluded. In December 2009, she was featured on Timbaland's song "If We Ever Meet Again", which was released as a single in February 2010, from his album Shock Value II.[49]

2010–12: Teenage Dream

On January 26, 2010, Katy Perry starred as a guest judge on American Idol.[50] On May 7, she released the lead single from her third album, "California Gurls" featuring rapper Snoop Dogg. It reached the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained at the top of the chart for six consecutive weeks.[51][52] The song also topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, among other countries. Perry appeared as a guest judge alongside Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, and Louis Walsh during the Dublin audition stage of the seventh series of the English television show The X Factor on June 28, 2010.[53] Perry released the album's second single, "Teenage Dream", on July 23, which also topped the Hot 100. Perry's third studio album of the same name, was released on August 24, 2010 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with sales of 192,000 copies in its first week, giving Perry her first number one album in the United States.[54] The album received generally mixed reviews from music critics, and has since been certified 2x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[55] On October 18, "Firework" was released as the third single from Teenage Dream. It became the album's third consecutive number one on the Hot 100. As a result, Perry became the first female in eleven years to have three consecutive number-ones from a single album.[56] The song is Perry's highest selling single in the United States to date.[57]

Perry performing during her California Dreams Tour in March 2011

In November 2010, she released her first fragrance, Purr. It is packaged in a cat-shaped bottle, and was released through Nordstrom department stores.[58] On February 16, 2011, a remixed version of "E.T." featuring rapper Kanye West was released as the fourth single from Teenage Dream. It topped the Hot 100 chart for five non-consecutive weeks, making Teenage Dream the ninth album in history to produce four number one singles on the Hot 100.[59] On February 20, 2011, a few days after the release of "E.T.", Perry embarked on an extensive world tour in support of Teenage Dream. It was titled the California Dreams Tour and consisted of 124 shows in Europe, Oceania, Asia, North America, and South America. It earned over $59 million.[60] With "E.T." at number one on the chart of May 12, 2011, Perry became the first artist to spend 52 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the chart's previous record.[3] On June 6, the album's fifth single, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", was released. The song topped the Hot 100 in August and remained at the top spot for two weeks. With "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", Perry became the first female artist to achieve five number one Hot 100 songs from one album, and the second artist after Michael Jackson with his album Bad. On July 29, 2011, she made her film debut in the 3D family film The Smurfs as Smurfette. The Smurfs earned $557,771,535 worldwide during its theatrical run, though received many negative reviews from critics. The week of September 17, with single "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", marked Perry's record-breaking 69th consecutive week in the Top 10.[4] On September 23, 2011, she performed on the opening day of the 2011 Rock in Rio festival along with Elton John, Claudia Leitte, and Rihanna, which was extended to October 2.[61]

On October 4, 2011, "The One That Got Away" was released as the sixth and final single from Teenage Dream, peaking at three on the Hot 100. Teenage Dream became the third album in history to produce six top five hit singles.[62] "The One That Got Away" became the album's seventh track to reach the top of the US Hot Dance Club Songs chart, the most by any album and setting a new record in the chart.[63]

Perry promoting her autobiographical documentary film Katy Perry: Part of Me in late June 2012

Perry hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live on December 10, 2011 with Robyn serving as the episode's musical guest. Perry's work on the episode received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised her comedic timing and the episode's digital short which featured Perry and Andy Samberg, however some critics noted that Perry's performance in the episode was overshadowed by cast regular Kristen Wiig.[64] Her second fragrance, Meow!, was released shortly afterwards.[65] On December 14, 2011, Forbes ranked her #3 on their "Top-Earning Women In Music" 2011 with $44 million.[66] Also that December, she was elected the Artist of the Year by MTV.[67]

On January 5, 2012, Perry was named the sixth best-selling digital artist in the United States, with sales of 37.6 million units according to Nielsen SoundScan.[68] That month, she became the first artist to have five songs sell over 5 million digital units.[69] Later that month, EA Games recruited her to promote their new expansion pack The Sims 3: Showtime.[70] The California Dreams Tour also concluded on January 22, 2012. On February 13, Perry released "Part of Me", the lead single from the re-release of Teenage Dream, which debuted at number one on the Hot 100 and became Perry's seventh single overall to top the chart.[71] On March 23, Teenage Dream was re-released under the title Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection. "Wide Awake" was released on May 22 as the second single from The Complete Confection, peaking at number two on the Hot 100.[72] In June, EA Games released a separate Sims 3 expansion pack featuring Perry-inspired furniture, outfits and hairstyles, entitled The Sims 3: Katy Perry's Sweet Treats.[73] In early July 2012, Perry's autobiographical documentary movie Katy Perry: Part of Me was released to theaters under Paramount Pictures.[74][75] It garnered positive critical reviews and grossed $30 million worldwide at the box office.[76][77] Later that month, she became the spokesperson and ambassador for Popchips.[78] Late that September, Billboard announced that Perry would be honored with the 2012 "Woman of the Year" Award at their Women in Music event, which took place on November 30, 2012 in New York City.[79] On December 12, 2012, Forbes ranked her #5 on their "Top-Earning Women In Music" 2012 with $45 million.[80]

2013–present: Prism

Perry told Billboard in Fall 2012 about Prism: "I know exactly the record I want to make next. I know the artwork, the coloring and the tone..... I even know what type of tour I'm doing next. I'll be very pleased if the vision I have in my head becomes a reality". However, Perry mentioned that she did not want the album to be a "Teenage Dream 2.0", stating: "That would be silly. It's not of any interest for me to try and outdo myself at every corner. Eventually you just like pop, explode".[81] After taking time off from her professional career following the release of her autobiographical film, she began work on the album in November 2012 and finished in July 2013. Perry reprised her role as Smurfette in The Smurfs 2, which was released in theaters on July 31, 2013.[82] Like its predecessor, it received many negative reviews from critics.[83]

Killer Queen was released as her third fragrance in August 2013 through Coty, Inc.[84] "Roar" made its debut as the lead single from Prism on August 10, 2013.[85] Perry recorded and co-wrote a duet with her then-boyfriend John Mayer titled "Who You Love" for his album Paradise Valley. The album was released on August 20, 2013.[86] She closed the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards with her first live performance of "Roar" on August 25, 2013 under the Brooklyn Bridge.[87] Although Perry stated in a June 2012 interview with L'Uomo Vogue that she planned to have "darker elements" in Prism,[88] she revealed to MTV during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards that she changed the concept of the album after she "let the light in" through self-reflection and self-help. She said "I felt very prismatic because of that" and stated that "it's almost like I get to beam the colors that I've experienced out from me", which inspired her to name the album Prism.[89] On September 4, 2013, Billboard announced that "Roar" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.[90] She made a musical guest appearance with Bruce Willis on Saturday Night Live on October 12, 2013 where she also performed "Roar".[91]

"Unconditionally" was released as the album's second single on October 16, 2013.[92] The next day, Prism became available for streaming online.[93] Prism was released in Ireland, Italy, Slovakia, and Slovenia on October 18, 2013, and was released worldwide on October 22, 2013.[94] In the United States, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 286,000 copies in its first week.[95] The same day as its worldwide release, Perry performed Prism tracks for the first time at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles.[96] On December 11, 2013, Forbes ranked her #7 on their "Top-Earning Women In Music" 2013 with $39 million.[97] "Dark Horse" was released as the album's third single on December 17.[98] In early January 2014, Perry became a guest curator of Madonna's secretprojectrevolution.[99] On January 29, 2014, "Dark Horse" became her ninth number-one single.[100] In early February 2014, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry named Perry the 5th Top Global Recording Artist of 2013, making her the highest-ranking woman to chart on the list.[101]

Perry will begin her third headlining tour, The Prismatic World Tour, on May 7, 2014. It will begin at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland and open with Icona Pop. The first leg of the tour will also feature performances in Scotland and England.[102][103] The second leg will take place in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.[104][105][106] Capital Cities, Kacey Musgraves, duo Tegan and Sara, and Becky G[107] will open for Perry in different markets.[108] The third leg of the tour will take place in Oceania from November to December 2014.[109]



Having grown up listening primarily to gospel music, Perry's first album Katy Hudson focuses on Christian themes. She aspired to be like Amy Grant though "it didn't pan out that way."[110] Perry names Queen among her influences. She was introduced to their song "Killer Queen" by a friend at age 15 and describes it as being the track that made her discover music and want to pursue it as a career. She elaborated, saying "I thought to myself, 'Oh my gosh, this music is incredible. These lyrics speak to me.....' and that's what made me want to be what I am today".[111] She is particularly influenced by the band's frontman, Freddie Mercury, and describes him as her biggest influence musically. She commented "Freddie Mercury was — and remains — my biggest influence. The combination of his sarcastic approach to writing lyrics and his 'I don't give a fuck' attitude really inspired my music".[112] She named her third fragrance Killer Queen after the song in homage. She describes the Beach Boys and their album Pet Sounds as having a considerable influence on her music. She stated that the album is "one of my favourite records and it influenced pretty much all of my songwriting. All of the melody choices that I make are because of Pet Sounds."[113] According to Perry, the Beatles' album The Beatles (or The White Album) and Pet Sounds were "the only things I listened to for probably two years straight." She describes both albums as being "really important" to her.[114]

Madonna (left) and Freddie Mercury (right) both significantly influenced Perry and her music.

Perry is inspired by Alanis Morissette, in particular her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill — even going on to work with Morissette's collaborator on the album, Glen Ballard, because of that. She said: "Jagged Little Pill was the most perfect female record ever made. There's a song for anyone on that record; I relate to all those songs. They're still so timeless." She lists Morissette and Fiona Apple as her heroes.[16] After moving to Nashville to work on her first album Katy Hudson, she discovered the music of Patty Griffin and Jonatha Brooke and lists their albums Flaming Red and 10 Cent Wings, respectively, as being important to her.[16] Perry lists Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, and Joni Mitchell as influences, and intends to become "more of a Joni Mitchell", releasing folk and acoustic music, in the second half of her career.[115] Madonna has had a significant influence on her music and artistry. Perry's autobiographical documentary Katy Perry: Part of Me was largely influenced by Madonna: Truth or Dare. Perry said: "Madonna is everything to me, and that movie is amazing, because it caught her at a time when she was a bit more vulnerable. I wanted to do that too." She also admires Madonna's ability to reinvent herself, saying "I want to evolve like Madonna."[116]

Throughout her career, Perry has listed multiple artists as having inspired her on various songs and albums. Perry's third album, Teenage Dream, was significantly influenced by the music of ABBA and the Cardigans. She names Robyn as an influence on her fourth record, Prism, and went on to work with Klas Åhlund on the album as a result of his work with Robyn. Aesthetically, she names Gwen Stefani and Björk as influences — she particularly admires the latter's "willingness to always be taking chances".[16]

"Firework" was inspired by a passage in the book On the Road by Jack Kerouac in which Kerouac compares people who are full of life to fireworks that shoot across the sky and make people go "Awww!".[117] Her second concert tour, the California Dreams Tour, was largely influenced by Alice In Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.[2] She also credits the 1996 movie The Craft for being the influence behind her song "Dark Horse",[118] and Eckhart Tolle's book The Power of Now for influencing "This Moment" from Prism.[119]

Musical style and themes

Perry attending the Logie Awards in early May 2011

Perry's music frequently contains elements of pop, rock, electronic, dance, and disco, although her first album, Katy Hudson, falls within the gospel genre. Her second album One of the Boys is predominantly pop rock and features themes of heartbreak and teenage adventure – both being common themes in Perry's music. Her third album, Teenage Dream, features notably more electronic and disco influenced songs, while still falling under the pop and rock genres. The album's topics focus on teenage love, partying, self-empowerment, and personal growth. Perry's fourth album, Prism, is significantly influenced by Swedish dance and pop music. The album also includes themes of relationships, self-reflection, and living in the present. Many of her songs focus on life and love between teenagers and adolescents; W described many of her hits as being "odes to adolescent lust wrapped up in irresistible hook-laden melodies".[120] Self-empowerment has been noted as a common theme within Perry's music,[121] and her willingness to address darker themes in her songwriting is something that critics have pointed out differentiates her from other pop singers.[122]

Perry self-identifies as a "singer-songwriter masquerading as a pop star"[123] and maintains that honest songwriting is very important to her. She said: "I feel like my secret magic trick that separates me from a lot of my peers is the bravery to be vulnerable and truthful and honest. I think you become more relatable when you're vulnerable."[124] The Los Angeles Times commented that her music reveals "in confident, just-vague-enough terms snapshots of Perry's emotional life."[125] Kristen Wiig for Interview commented that "as easy, breezy, and infectious as Perry's songs can be, beneath the surface lurks a sea of mixed emotions, jumbled motives, and contradictory impulses complicated enough to fill a Carole King record."[114] Perry has been reported as writing with wit and frequently using humor in her songwriting. Her songs have been described as "shot through with a razor-sharp wit" and that "it's easy to get lost ricocheting amongst all of the puns and double entendres."[114] She has been noted for her "slightly satiric Perry humor"[126] and she describes some of her music as "tongue-in-cheek".[120] Some critics have expressed that this could hinder her task of being viewed as a serious songwriter, with the Chicago Tribune commenting that "being taken seriously may be Perry’s greatest challenge yet."[127]

"When I am in between records, sometimes I doubt myself. I'll be like: Did I just get lucky, or did I mass-manipulate the world into thinking that seven songs were worth a number-one position? And then I go back into the studio and I start writing, and the true essential oil of who I am comes bubbling back up and reminds me that it's always been inside of me, that nobody can take this away no matter what comment anyone makes. It's going to be there because it's what I was born with and it's what I've worked on my whole life."

— Perry on her confidence as a songwriter[128]

Perry's ability to relate to her audience through her music has been noted; the New York Times labeled Perry "pound for pound..... the most potent pop star of the day—her hits are relatable with just a hint of experimentation"[120] while the Los Angeles Times said that "uncanny familiarity is her greatest achievement."[129] Her ability to write catchy, memorable hooks and display her personality through her music has been praised. Billboard stated that her "ingenious pop hooks and zillion-dollar drum tracks are stamped with Perry's knack for a memorable line and frothy, gum-snapping persona"[130] and described her as "primarily a smart and personal pop songwriter."[131] Her use of idioms and metaphors in her lyrics has been criticized – with some critics pointing out the frequent use of "clichés" in her lyrics.[125] Aside from writing her own music, Perry has written songs recorded by other singers, including Ashley Tisdale ("Time's Up")[132] Selena Gomez & the Scene ("Rock God" and "That's More Like It"),[133][134] Jessie James ("Bullet" and "Girl Next Door"),[135] Kelly Clarkson ("Long Shot" and "I Do Not Hook Up"),[136] Lesley Roy ("Slow Goodbye"),[137] Britney Spears ("Passenger"),[138] and Iggy Azalea ("Black Widow").[139]

Perry has a contralto vocal range.[140][141] Perry's voice has been described as "breathy" and "airy".[142] Her vocals have been reviewed as both strong and weak on different occasions; The Guardian commented that her "powerful voice is hard-edged"[143] and The Independent stated that there is "no sugar-coating necessary on her powerful voice",[144] while other reviewers have described it as "flat" and "grating".[145] Rolling Stone described Perry's vocals as "processed staccato blips" in a review of Teenage Dream,[146] while a review of Prism commented that Perry "has a decent voice" and "generally doesn't lean on digital enhancement".[147] Her voice has been compared to that of Alanis Morissette, one of Perry's biggest influences, with one review stating that both artists share a "perky voice shifting octaves mid-syllable".[148] In a review of One of the Boys, NME remarked that "Perry's problem is often her voice..... somewhere along the line someone convinced her she was like, well, a ballsy rock chick",[149] though The Telegraph commented positively on her "rock chick voice" in a later review.[150]

Public image

Perry's trademark spinning peppermint swirl dress

Perry is noted for being a sex symbol. AskMen described her as having "emerged as the front-and-center all-American sex symbol in pop music",[151] while GQ labelled her a "full-on male fantasy" and added that with her song "I Kissed a Girl" she "somehow made ChapStick sexy".[12] Elle described her body "as though sketched by a teenage boy".[152] She placed at number one on the Maxim Hot 100 in 2010, with readers voting her the "hottest woman on Earth",[153] and was named FHM Australia's "sexiest woman of 2011".[154] Men's Health readers voted her the "sexiest woman of 2013".[155] In an early November 2010 interview with Harper's Bazaar, Perry said of her figure: "I don't have a Kate Moss body, but I'm very proud and happy with mine."[156]

She is noted for her unconventional style of dress.[18] It is often humorous, bright in color, reminiscent of different decades and often includes food-related themes, such as fruit and candy,[157] an example being her trademark spinning peppermint swirl dress.[158] Vogue described her as "never exactly one to shy away from the outrageous or the extreme in any realm, be it the red carpet or her daily wardrobe",[159] while Glamour named her the "queen of quirk".[160] In an early February 2009 interview with Seventeen, she described her fashion style as "a bit of a concoction of different things" and stated "I love a good sense of humor in clothes".[18] Speaking on her "ability to slip from party girl to polish", as described by Harper's Bazaar, Perry said: "I have multipersonality disorder—in a very good way, of course—when it comes to my fashion choices."[156] Perry lists Gwen Stefani, Shirley Manson, Chloë Sevigny, Daphne Guinness, Natalie Portman, and the fictional character Lolita as her style icons.[120][161]

Perry's presence on social media is significantly large; she is the most followed person on social networking site Twitter and, in late January 2014, she became the first person to gain 50 million followers on the site.[162] She also has over 66 million "likes" on Facebook as of April 2014.[163] Forbes commended Perry on her social media usage, saying "Perry makes excellent use of Twitter, talking to her fans and sharing funny photos and videos in a way that makes them all feel like Perry is their best buddy."[164] Perry expressed that she feels she has "learned how to tame that social media dragon", while Keith Caulfield of Billboard stated that she is "the rare celebrity who seems to have enormous popularity but genuine ground-level interaction with her adoring KatyCats."[165]


Perry attending the UNICEF Snowflake Ball in late November 2012

During the Warped Tour in December 2008, Perry had a cast made of her breasts to raise money for the Keep A Breast Foundation.[166] In June 2009, she designed an item of clothing for H&M's "Fashion Against AIDS" campaign, which raises money for HIV/AIDS awareness projects.[167] In late September 2010, she helped build and design the Boys Hope/Girls Hope foundation in Baltimore for youth shelter along with Raven-Symoné, Shaquille O'Neal, and the cast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.[168] She dedicated the music video to her October 2010 single "Firework" to the It Gets Better Project,[169] and supported Stonewall during their "It gets better..... today" campaign to prevent homophobic bullying.[170] During her California Dreams Tour, Perry raised over $150,000 for the Tickets-For-Charity fundraiser. The money was divided between three charities: the Children's Health Fund (CHF), Generosity Water, and Humane Society of the United States.[171] EMI donated a signed album by Perry herself for an auction for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Auckland. The auction closed on May 31, 2011.[172] In February 2012, Perry donated the proceeds from her single "Part of Me" to the charity MusiCares, which helps musicians in times of need.[173] On October 13, 2012, she performed her song "Firework" with an autistic fan at Comedy Central's Night of Too Many Stars.[174] In early December 2012, Perry was awarded the Trevor Hero Award by The Trevor Project for her work and activism for LGBT youth.[175] In early April 2013, she worked with UNICEF and traveled to Madagascar to assist children with education and nutrition.[176] Later that month, she appeared in a video clip for the "Chime For Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment.[177] On October 23, 2013, she hosted and performed at the We Can Survive concert along with her friends Bonnie McKee, Kacey Musgraves, Sara Bareilles, Ellie Goulding, and duo Tegan and Sara at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California. The concert's profits went towards Young Survival Coalition, an organization aiding breast cancer in young women.[178] On December 3, 2013, Perry was officially named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, "with a special focus on engaging young people in the agency's work to improve the lives of the world's most vulnerable children and adolescents". In an official press release, UNICEF said "We are delighted that she is joining us as UNICEF's newest Goodwill Ambassador and lending her remarkable voice to amplify the voices of children and young people around the world".[179] On March 29, 2014, Perry helped raise $2.4 million for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles along with numerous celebrities such as Ryan Seacrest, Pharrell Williams, Tim Allen, Lisa Edelstein, and Riley Keough.[180] A portion of the money generated from tickets on the second leg (June — October 2014) of her Prismatic World Tour will go to UNICEF,[181] Autism Speaks, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.[182]

Personal life

Religious beliefs and spirituality

Having been raised by two Pentecostal pastors, Perry confirmed in Katy Perry: Part of Me that she still keeps a religious connection with God, although is less devout than her parents. She described her relationship with God as "one-on-one".[2] Perry follows Transcendental Meditation. In an October 2013 interview with Elle, she said that she tries to practise the technique as often as she can.[152] Later that month with W Magazine, Perry said: "I try and keep my connection with G-O-D or with a power that's bigger than me. It's important - otherwise, you don't have any kind of accountability" and that "for me, accountability works".[120] She told Toronto Star in early December 2013 "My God has changed over the years. Absolutely. I believe there's this 'bigger than me' thing that's looking after me. I don't believe in like God as a really old guy with a beard on a gold throne" and that "I don't believe in heaven or hell as a destination. In fact, the terms of what I believe are still up for debate because I'm still on a journey and I don't even know if I'm going to get to my destination".[183] Marie Claire announced the following week that Perry said "I'm not Buddhist, I'm not Hindu, I'm not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God."[124]


Perry has previously dated musician Justin York,[184] singer Matt Thiessen, late actor Johnny Lewis,[185] and rapper Travie McCoy. Her relationship with McCoy lasted from November 2006 to December 2008.[186]

She first met Russell Brand during the summer of 2009 when she filmed a cameo appearance for his film Get Him to the Greek (which ultimately did not make the final cut).[187] The two began dating after meeting again in September 2009 at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.[188] The couple became engaged on New Year's Eve 2009 while vacationing in Rajasthan, India.[189] They married on October 23, 2010, in a traditional Hindu ceremony near the Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary in Rajasthan.[190] After fourteen months of marriage, Brand filed for divorce on December 30, 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. The marriage was legally dissolved in July 2012.[191] Katy Perry: Part of Me revealed that their conflicting career schedules and him wanting children before she was ready led to the end of the marriage.[2] In June 2013, she revealed to Vogue that Brand did not like the idea of her "being the boss" of things and never spoke to her again after sending a text message that he was divorcing her.[128] She also told Billboard in late September 2013 that she was initially so distraught over the divorce that she contemplated suicide.[192]

Perry began an on-again, off-again relationship with singer John Mayer in August 2012.[193] She denied engagement rumors during a January 2014 interview with GQ, stating "There's no rush."[12] Their relationship ended in late February 2014.[194][195][196]


Perry is an LGBT rights activist. In an interview with Do Something in early November 2008, Perry stated "I am a gay activist and I say that proudly..... I've always been a very open-minded person, but I definitely believe in equality." She confirmed that she voted no on Proposition 8, an amendment that would legally define marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman in California.[197] In June 2012, Perry expressed her hope for change in people's attitudes towards LGBT people, saying in an interview: "hopefully, we will look back at this moment and think like we do now concerning [other] civil rights issues. We'll just shake our heads in disbelief, saying, 'Thank God we've evolved.' That would be my prayer for the future."[198] She has also mentioned her support of universal health care, saying "the fact that America doesn't have free health care drives me fucking absolutely crazy, and is so wrong."[199] Through Twitter and by performing at his rallies, Perry supported President Barack Obama in his run for re-election in early November 2012 due to his stance on same-sex marriage[200] and believing in "equal rights for all".[201] She performed at three rallies for Obama, in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Wisconsin, singing a rendition of "Let's Stay Together" as well as a selection of her own songs. During one of the performances, she wore a dress made to replicate a voting ballot, with Obama's box filled in.[202] On Twitter, she encouraged her followers to vote for Obama.[203] After Obama was re-elected, Perry tweeted her congratulations to him, saying "The people have the power! Proud to stand by you for 4 more years."[204] In August 2013, Perry urged voters not to vote for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott due to his opposition towards gay marriage.[205] In April 2014, she publicly supported Marianne Williamson in her campaign for California's 33rd congressional district by attending a political press event.[206]



Perry has received numerous awards and nominations for her work from albums One of the Boys, Teenage Dream, and Prism. They have earned her eleven Grammy nominations, two American Music Awards, eleven MTV Video Music Awards, and fourteen People's Choice Awards. In late September 2012, Billboard dubbed her the "Woman of the Year". From May 2010 to September 2011, she spent a record-breaking total of 69 consecutive weeks in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. Teenage Dream became the first female album to produce five number-one hits, and the second album after Michael Jackson's Bad (1987). She was declared the Top Global Female Recording Artist of 2013 by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. As of April 2014, she has accumulated a total of nine number-one singles on the Hot 100, the most recent being "Dark Horse".




See also


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