Interview: Katy Perry
Fri, 23 Jan 2009 08:42:52
Katy Perry has become an overnight sensation and pop culture phenom in the same length of time it takes to have a baby. Since the release of her debut album, One of the Boys just over nine months ago, the button-cute Perry has transformed from relative unknown to global pop star, thanks to the strength of her sapphic single, "I Kissed a Girl." By now, you've probably heard the song a zillion times on the radio, have sung along to it cruising in your car or sudsing up in the shower and have the capacity to recognize and appreciate the song's tongue-in-cheek–no pun intended—and playful nature. The song's impact earned Perry her first Grammy nomination for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance," and the adorably effervescent singer couldn't be happier about it. The incredibly intelligent Perry–who admits the secret to staying strong in the public eye is to not read your own press— spoke to ARTISTdirect.com openly in this exclusive interview about how the song evolved, her future aspirations, her secret skills and her religious upbringing.
On how the song "popped into her head" one day:
"It was an idea that actually popped into my head one morning, strangely enough," she recalls. "You always hear about artists having a notepad by their beds, and they record things as if they were having dreams of lyrics in the middle of the night. I thought that it never really happened, and then it happened to me. I woke up one morning and was starting my day when the song popped into my head, the chorus, "I kissed a girl and I liked it…" All that popped into my head and I thought, "What a peculiar little idea!" It spawned from a curiosity I had growing up. I had this idea, put it in my back pocket for a while, presented it a few times to different people and they didn't understand it fully. I thought it was a fluke accident. During my last two days in the studio making the record, the idea would not go away, like a pebble in my shoe…It was a worldwide sing-a-long that I never thought would happen."
On the song's singability and light-hearted nature:
She says, "Everyone gets the gist of the joke. It's a catchy little number, if I can go out on a limb and say so myself. I wanted to make it catchy. It's tongue-in-cheek and catchy. Maybe that's why it had a worldwide wave. Every modern girl's unspoken is spoken."
“It's not a Girls Gone Wild anthem, but a schoolgirl crush anthem”
How she really feels about the Grammy nod:
"I have had my record out for nine months, and I feel like I have really crossed a lot of life goals off my list already in a small period of time," she says humbly. "It is amazing to do so many things with your first record. First records don't hit. Sometimes it takes a long time to get recognized, so it is exciting that even in the beginning, people can see all the hard work I've put into this and it was not in vain. It is like the end-all, be-all. I'm like, 'Holy crap, I got recognized from a classic, amazing industry.'"
One sentence summation of the song that made her a household name:
"It's not a Girls Gone Wild anthem, but a schoolgirl crush anthem," she succinctly says.
On her unique sense of style, which includes watermelon accessories:
"I used to go swing dancing, Lindy Hop style at the Santa Barbara Rec Hall and I would be taught by seasoned dancers, involved in the scene. They were like rockabilly but not as annoying. These girls would get out of vintage Cadillacs, wearing pencil skirts, bullet bras and cardigans." She further elaborates, saying, "I like bright colors, funny things and a sense of humor in my clothes."
On her rebellious nature and Christian upbringing:
"If there was a line you shouldn't cross, I would take a big leap over it. There is not an edit button the keyboard of my life," the singer, who was raised in a non-denominational but Christian upbringing, coyly admits. She also reveals that dear old dad has four tattoos and all of them are related to Jesus. She refers to him as a, "modern rock n' roll pastor" and that her devout parents and she agree to disagree on things.
On her future musical aspirations:
"I want to make a sonically more current pop record and make people move a little bit more. I'm still driving on the pop freeway of life. Maybe I'll do an acoustic record," she reveals.
Her secret hidden talent:
"I hate working out, but I love jumping rope because there is a rhythm. I am a good rope jumper. I can double and cross. I can do it all! I look like Rocky [Balboa] when I jump rope."
Her take on Obama-mania:
"I don't think people should view him as a messiah," she says about the newly sworn-in leader of the free world. "He is still a man. He is a smart man, a graceful man and very humble."
Kinda like Perry herself!
— Amy Sciarretto