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Katy Perry


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 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 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] and she currently holds the record for most 5x platinum singles in the United States, with 5 of her singles reaching the achievement.[9]
This article is part of a series on
1984–98: Early life
Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson was born near Santa Barbara, California, to Pentecostal pastors[10] Maurice Keith Hudson and Mary Christine Perry of Keith Hudson Ministries. She has a younger brother named David (known as Hudson) and an older sister named Angela. Keith is of English descent while Mary is of Irish, Portuguese, English, and German descent.[11] Through Mary, she is a half-niece of film director/producer Frank Joseph Perry, Jr.[12]
As a child, Perry attended religious schools and camps. She was incorporated into her parents' ministry and sang in churches between the ages of nine and sixteen.[13][14] She grew up listening to gospel music,[15] as her parents discouraged her 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.[10] 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.[10]
At the age of 17, Perry left her home for Los Angeles, California, where she worked with Glen Ballard on an album for Island Records.[22] Growing up listening to mostly Country Gospel, she had few references when she began recording songs.[14] Asked by the 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 that night 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.[10]
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".[10] After Perry was subsequently dropped by The Island Def Jam Music Group, she 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, the label 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 and dropped her from the label. 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.[2] A solo album she had worked on with Ballard was scheduled for release on August 18, 2005 but was cancelled.[25] Some of her collaborations with Ballard, such as "Box", "Diamonds", and "Long Shot", were posted on her official MySpace page.[10] "Simple", one of the songs she recorded with Ballard, was released on the soundtrack to the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.[26] Kelly Clarkson later used "Long Shot" (which Perry wrote with then-boyfriend Matt Thiessen and Ballard)[27] for her March 2009 album All I Ever Wanted. With no album project ongoing, Perry began recording her own, titled Fingerprints.[28] While waiting to find another label, she worked in an independent A&R company called Taxi Music.[10] In early 2006, she was featured in the end of the video to P.O.D.'s single "Goodbye for Now".[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, at the start of 2007, extended discussions with Columbia resulted in her signing to the newly created Capitol Music Group, a merger between Virgin and Capitol. 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. The Columbia recordings were seen by Flom as being "very strong but lacking an undeniable smash or two that would work both at U.S. pop radio and internationally" and so one of the executive's first actions after completing the signing was to set up a collaboration between Perry and Dr. Luke.[31]


Perry performing in July 2008
The two co-wrote her songs "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold". Establishing her image was one of the immediate concerns of her management. A campaign was started with the November 20, 2007 release of the video to "Ur So Gay", aimed at introducing her to the music market. A digital EP led by "Ur So Gay" was later released to create online buzz and press story.[13][32] This was a successful move that brought Perry to the attention of Madonna, who mentioned her on KISS FM and KRQ's JohnJay & Rich morning show in Arizona. On March 10, 2008, she appeared as herself on the ABC Family television series, Wildfire, on the episode "Life's Too Short".[33]
"I Kissed a Girl", was released on May 6, 2008. Her A&R, Chris Anokute, told HitQuarters the song and its controversial theme had met with strong resistance at the label: "People said, 'This is never going to get played on the radio. How do we sell this? How's this going to be played in the bible belt?'" Anokute said that they needed the support of one of the label's radio promoters to convince people to believe in the record; otherwise, she would have likely been dropped again. Capitol's SVP of Promotions, Dennis Reese, saw the vision and helped push the single on national radio. The first station to pick it up and take a chance 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] The following week on June 12, 2008, she appeared as herself on the CBS daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless.[33]


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.[35] The album reached number nine on the Billboard 200[36] and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[37] In August 2008, Perry disproved rumors that her parents were opposed to her music and career, stating "They love and support me".[38] She also mentioned that her family was "not at all" surprised with the release of "Ur So Gay".[19] "Hot n Cold" became her second top three single in dozens of countries around the world, including the United States where it 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. She later launched her first headlining tour, the Hello Katy Tour, on January 23, 2009. The tour consisted of 89 concerts and took place in North America, Oceania, Europe, and Asia. "I Kissed a Girl" earned her a nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards.[39] She was nominated in five categories at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best New Artist and Best Female Video, but lost to Britney Spears.[40] She won Best New Act at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards, which she co-hosted,[41] and Best International Female Artist at the 2009 BRIT Awards.[42] On February 9, 2009, both "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold" were certified three-time platinum by Recording Industry Association of America for individual digital sales of over three million.[43] 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.[44]
The Matrix's self-titled debut album, which features Perry, was later released via the team's label Let's Hear It during her solo tour. 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 on January 27, 2009 onto iTunes.[45]
In June 2009, lawyers acting for Perry opposed the then-recent trademark of Australian fashion designer Katie Perry, who uses her own name to market loungewear. Some media outlets reported this as a lawsuit, which the singer denied.[46] 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. Discussing the issue with MTV, she hypothesized there may have been some fear that seeing the two make out would have taken viewers out of the experience.[47] On August 4, 2009, she performed as opening act for the band No Doubt on their Summer Tour 2009.[48] 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 being released by iTunes on September 8, 2009). In October 2009, MTV Unplugged revealed that Perry was one of the artists to perform for them, and that she would be releasing a live album of the performance, including two new tracks, "Brick by Brick" and a cover of Fountains of Wayne's "Hackensack".[49] The album was released on November 13 and included both a CD and a DVD.[50] On November 28, 2009, the Hello Katy Tour concluded. In December 2009, she was featured on "If We Ever Meet Again", which was released as a single in February 2010, from Timbaland's album Shock Value II.[51]
2010–12: Teenage Dream
On January 26, 2010, Perry starred as a guest host on American Idol.[52] Early that May, she released "California Gurls" featuring rapper Snoop Dogg. It picked atop the Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks.[53][54] 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.[55] She was one of the many celebrities chosen to fulfill the role of judge whilst Dannii Minogue was on maternity leave. Perry released "Teenage Dream" in July, which also topped the Hot 100. Perry's third studio album, Teenage Dream, was released on August 24, 2010. In October, "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, she became the first female in eleven years to have three consecutive number-ones from a single album.[56]


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 is available through Nordstrom department stores.[57] In February 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.[58] 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 including 124 shows in Europe, Australasia, Asia, North America and South America. It earned over $59 million.[59] 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.[3] In June, the album's fifth single, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", topped the Hot 100. This allowed her to achieve a record for being the first female to achieve five number one Hot 100 songs from one album, and tying Michael Jackson's record. Additionally, Teenage Dream boasted a record-breaking six number-one songs on Billboard Adult Pop Songs chart.[60] 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, 2011 marked Perry's 69th consecutive week in the Top 10 with single "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)".[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]
In early October, "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 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 the same month.[65] Also that December, she was elected the Artist of the Year by MTV, for their performance on the charts worldwide and won the record during the year.[66] Also that month, she revealed plans to release a Barbie doll that represents her style.[67][68]
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.[69] That month, she became the first artist to have five songs sell over 5 million digital units.[70] Later that month, EA Games recruited her to promote their new expansion pack The Sims 3: Showtime.[71] The California Dreams Tour also concluded on January 22, 2012. In March 2012, Teenage Dream was re-released under the title Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection. It was preceded by the February release of "Part of Me", which became the album's seventh single released and sixth single overall to top the Hot 100.[72] "Wide Awake" was released in May as the second single from Complete Confection, peaking at number two.[73] In June 2012, she revealed plans to launch her own record label, which would be under Capitol Records.[74] In early July 2012, her autobiographical documentary movie Katy Perry: Part of Me was released to theaters under Paramount Pictures.[75][76] It garnered positive critical reviews and grossed $30 million worldwide at the box office.[77][78] Later that month, she became the spokesperson and ambassador for Popchips.[79] That September, Billboard announced that Perry would take home the 2012 "Woman of the Year" Award at their Women in Music event, which took place on November 30, 2012 in New York City.[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 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 that "there's not really any darkness on the record" during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, stating she called the record Prism because she "felt very prismatic" after she "let the light in" through self-reflection and self-help.[89]
On September 4, 2013, Billboard announced that "Roar" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.[90] On September 30, 2013, she performed the song at the iTunes Festival. 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 November 10, 2013, she performed "Unconditionally" at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards.[97] She also opened the American Music Awards of 2013 on November 24, 2013 with a performance of "Unconditionally"[98] and performed the song on the season 10 finale of The X Factor on December 15, 2013.[99] Two days later, "Dark Horse" was released as the album's third single.[100] In early January 2014, Perry became a guest curator of Madonna's Art for Freedom project.[101] She performed "Dark Horse" with Juicy J at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2014.[102] On January 29, 2014, the song became her ninth number-one single.[103] 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.[104]
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.[105][106] The second leg will take place in the United States and Canada.[107] Capital Cities, Kacey Musgraves, Tegan and Sara, and Becky G[108] will open for Perry in different markets.[109] The third leg of the tour will take place in Oceania in November 2014.[110]
Artistry

Influences
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."[111] Perry has been largely influenced by Queen. 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".[112] 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".[113] 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."[114] 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.[115]


Madonna (left) and Freddie Mercury (right) both significantly influenced Perry and her music.
Perry is significantly influenced by female singer-songwriters and artists. She is profoundly 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 Patti 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.[116] 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."[117]
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!".[118] Her second concert tour, the California Dreams Tour, was largely influenced by Alice In Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.[10] She also credits the 1996 movie The Craft for being the influence behind her song "Dark Horse",[119] and Eckhart Tolle's book The Power of Now for influencing "This Moment" from Prism.[120]
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, though her first album, Katy Hudson, falls within the gospel music 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".[121] Self-empowerment has been noted as a common theme within Perry's music. The Boston Globe described her as being "committed to making you feel good about yourself and the world at large."[122] Her willingness to tackle darker themes in her songwriting is something that critics have pointed out differentiates her from other pop singers: "It's tough subject matter for an international pop star, and surprisingly frank for anyone in the public eye, but it's one of the things that distances Perry from many other pop stars, and the delicacy with which it's handled is remarkably refreshing."[123] Kristen Wiig for Interview said 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."[115]
Perry self-identifies as a "singer/songwriter masquerading as a pop star"[124] 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."[125] The Los Angeles Times commented that her music reveals "in confident, just-vague-enough terms snapshots of Perry's emotional life."[126] She has been reported as writing with wit and frequently using humor, usually in the form of wordplay and double entendres, in her songwriting. In her article, Kristen Wiig said "Perry's songs are fun, upbeat, and frothy..... but they're also shot through with a razor-sharp wit. She has little time for longing or dwelling or vulnerability for its own sake..... Instead, she prefers to play—with hooks, with words, with her own sexuality—so much so that it's easy to get lost ricocheting amongst all of the puns and double entendres."[115] She has been noted for her "slightly satiric Perry humor"[127] while Rolling Stone stated that "Perry has always done a great job of letting us know she's in on the joke of pop stardom."[128] She describes some of her music as "tongue-in-cheek".[121] 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."[129]
"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[130]
Perry's ability to relate to her audience through her music has been noted by journalists; 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"[121] while the Los Angeles Times said that "to judge Perry as inauthentic or unoriginal would be wrong" and that "uncanny familiarity is her greatest achievement."[131] Her ability to write catchy, memorable hooks and display her personality through her music has been praised, and she considers lyrics to be the most important part of writing a song.[16] 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"[132] and that "for all the pomp and watermelon costumes, Perry is primarily a smart and personal pop songwriter."[133] Though Perry has expressed her love of idioms and metaphors, her use of such has been criticized — with some critics pointing out the frequent use of clichés in her lyrics.[126] Aside from writing her own music, Perry has written songs recorded by other singers, including Ashley Tisdale ("Time's Up")[134] Selena Gomez & the Scene ("Rock God" and "That's More Like It"),[135][136] Jessie James ("Bullet" and "Girl Next Door"),[137] Kelly Clarkson ("Long Shot" and "I Do Not Hook Up"),[138] Lesley Roy ("Slow Goodbye"),[139] and Britney Spears ("Passenger").[140]
Perry's voice has been described as "breathy" and "airy",[141] and she has been praised for being capable of hitting falsetto "with hardly an effort."[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] She has been described as "an able but not outstanding vocalist."[146] Her voice has been observed as being stronger in an acoustic setting, with one review of MTV Unplugged stating that "her voice is surprisingly strong when you peel away the electro-style (over?-) production."[147] In Rolling Stone's review of Teenage Dream, Perry's vocals were considered "processed staccato blips",[148] while a review of Prism commented that Perry "has a decent voice" and "generally doesn't lean on digital enhancement".[149] 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".[150] In a review of One of the Boys, NME remarked that "Perry's problem is often her voice: yes she has a good range, but somewhere along the line someone convinced her she was like, well, a ballsy rock chick, and now she explodes across this album like Xena Warrior Princess on fire",[151] though The Telegraph commented positively on her "rock chick voice" in a later review.[152]
Public image
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",[153] while GQ labelled her a "full-on male fantasy" and added that with her song "I Kissed a Girl" she "somehow made ChapStick sexy".[154] Elle described her body "as though sketched by a teenage boy".[155] She placed at number one on the Maxim Hot 100 in 2010, with readers voting her the "hottest woman on Earth",[156] and was named FHM Australia's "sexiest woman of 2011".[157] Men's Health readers voted her the "sexiest woman of 2013".[158] Perry commented on her body in an interview with Harper's Bazaar, saying "I don't have a Kate Moss body, but I'm very proud and happy with mine."[159]


Perry's trademark spinning peppermint swirl dress
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,[160] an example being her trademark spinning peppermint swirl dress.[161] 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",[162] while Glamour named her the "queen of quirk".[163] 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."[159] Perry lists Gwen Stefani, Shirley Manson, Chloë Sevigny, Daphne Guinness, Natalie Portman, and the fictional character Lolita as her style icons.[121][164]
In October 2008, a photo of her posing with a switchblade was criticized. The picture was defended as only an effort to give her a "sexy, harder edge".[165] In September 2010, Perry filmed an appearance on Sesame Street, singing "Hot N Cold" alongside puppet character Elmo, but after complaints were made from parents who criticized her outfit for being too revealing the performance was axed from the show.[166] Shortly afterwards, Perry appeared on Saturday Night Live and starred in a skit mocking the controversy.[167]
Perry is an LGBT rights activist. In an interview with Do Something in 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.[168] 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."[169] Through Twitter and by performing at his rallies, Perry supported President Barack Obama in his run for re-election in November 2012 due to his stance on same-sex marriage[170] and believing in "equal rights for all".[171] In August 2013, Perry criticized Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott over his opposition towards gay marriage in a radio interview, and urged voters to speak out against his position on the issue.[172]
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.[173] She also has over 63 million "likes" on Facebook. 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."[174] 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."[175]
Philanthropy



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.[176] She dedicated the music video to her October 2010 single "Firework" to the It Gets Better Project.[177] 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.[178] 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.[179] In February 2012, Perry donated the proceeds from her single "Part of Me" to the charity MusiCares, which helps musicians in times of need.[180] On October 13, 2012, she performed her song "Firework" with an autistic fan at Comedy Central's Night of Too Many Stars.[181] In early December 2012, Perry was awarded the Trevor Hero Award by The Trevor Project for her work and activism for LGBT youth.[182] In early April 2013, she worked with UNICEF and traveled to Madagascar to assist children with education and nutrition.[183] Later that month, she appeared in a video clip for the "Chime For Change" campaign that aims to spread female empowerment.[184] 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.[185] 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".[186] A portion of the money generated from tickets on the second leg (June — October 2014) of her Prismatic World Tour will go to UNICEF,[187] Autism Speaks, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.[188]
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".[10] 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.[155] 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".[121] In an early December 2013 interview with Toronto Star, she mentioned her views on God changed as she got older, saying "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".[189] During an interview with Claire Hoffman from Marie Claire, Perry said the following week "I'm not Buddhist, I'm not Hindu, I'm not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God."[125]
Relationships
Perry has previously dated musician Justin York,[190] singer Matt Thiessen, late actor Johnny Lewis,[191] and rapper Travie McCoy. Her relationship with McCoy lasted from November 2006 to December 2008.[192]
She first met Russell Brand during the summer of 2009 when she filmed a cameo appearance for his film Get Him to the Greek.[193] The two began dating after meeting again in September 2009 at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.[194] The couple became engaged on New Year's Eve 2009 while vacationing in Rajasthan, India.[195] They privately married on October 23, 2010, in a traditional Hindu ceremony near the Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary in Rajasthan.[196] Brand ended the marriage 14 months later, citing irreconcilable differences, filing for divorce on December 30, 2011. Their marriage was dissolved in July 2012.[197] 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.[10] In June 2013, she revealed in an interview with 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.[130] She also mentioned in a late September 2013 interview with Billboard that she was initially so distraught over the divorce that she contemplated suicide.[198]
She began an on-off relationship with John Mayer in August 2012.[199] In a January 2014 interview with GQ, Perry addressed their relationship, saying "I'm just having a wonderful experience with a wonderful guy. There's no rush."[154] The couple reportedly broke up in late February 2014.[200]
Politics
Perry has frequently expressed her support for United States President Barack Obama. She supported Obama during his campaign for re-election in November 2012.[170] She performed at three rallies for him, 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.[201] On Twitter, she encouraged her followers to vote for Obama.[202] 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."[203] 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."[204] After the shooting of a mall in Columbia, Maryland, which killed two people, Perry tweeted her condolences to the victims and their families, as well as calling for an end to gun violence. She tweeted: "Scared to go to school? Scared to go to the mall? Scared to go to the movies? Me too. When will there be ACTUAL change? How many more?!
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