Katy Perry (born October 25, 1984) is an American singer-songwriter
and musician. Perry rose to fame in 2007 with her internet hit "Ur So Gay", and
later scored in 2008 her breakthrough single "I Kissed a Girl".
Katy Perry began with an on-and-off recording career, having been dropped three times by record labels. After signing to Capitol Music Group in 2007, she released her first mainstream album, One of the Boys. It contains the worldwide hits "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot N Cold", both certified three-time platinum in the United States. She is known for wearing unconventional style of dress, often combining colors and vintage fashion, as well as associating outfits with fruits.
Katy Perry was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson on October 25, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California, United States. The middle child of two pastors, she has an older sister and younger brother. Her Evangelical mother, Mary Hudson, grew up in Southern California, and had "a tempestuous first marriage in Zimbabwe". Her father was a West Coast scenester in the 1960s.
Baptized a born again Christian, Perry was incorporated to her parents' ministry, and she started singing in their church from age nine to sixteen. She grew up listening to gospel music and was not allowed to listen what her mother called secular music. Perry attended Christian schools and camps. As a child, Perry learned how to dance in a rec hall in Santa Barbara. She was taught by seasoned dancers and began with swing, Lindy Hop, and jitterbug. She took her GED after her freshman year of high school and decided to leave schooling to pursue a career in music.
Katy Perry dated Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy.Perry initially started singing "because I was at that point in my childhood where I was copycatting my sister and everything she did". She was in a constant fight to capture the attention of her parents off her sister's, who was at the time taking voice lessons. Her sister practiced with cassette tapes, and Perry took the tapes herself when her sister was not around. She rehearsed the songs and performed it to her parents, who suggested she should take voice lessons. She grabbed the opportunity and began taking lessons at age nine to sixteen. She enrolled in at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, and studied Italian opera for a little while.
Perry dated Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy, whom she met in a recording studio in New York, on and off for several years. After more than a year of friendship and casual dating, they became serious with their relationship right before they embarked into the 2008 Warped Tour. Perry and McCoy broke up in December 2008.
She learned how to play the instrument when she was just starting her record career.At age 15, Perry's singing in church attracted the attention of rock veterans from Nashville, Tennessee, who brought her there to polish her writing skills. In Nashville, Perry started recording demos and was taught by country music veterans on how to craft songs and play guitar. Perry signed to the Christian music label Red Hill, under which she recorded her first album at age 15. Using her real name, Katy Hudson, she released the self-titled Gospel-rock album in 2001. The album was unsuccessful, however, after the label ceased. She later changed her surname to Perry, which is the maiden of her mother, because "Katy Hudson" was too close to film actress Kate Hudson. At age 17, Perry left her home for Los Angeles where she worked with Glen Ballard on an album for record label Island Def Jam. The album was due for release in 2005, but Billboard magazine reported it also went nowhere. Perry was dropped by Island Def Jam. Some of Perry and Ballard's collaborations included "Box", "Diamonds" and "Long Shot", were posted on her official MySpace page. "Simple", one of the songs she recorded with Ballard, was released on the soundtrack to the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Trying her luck, Perry signed to Columbia Records in 2004. However, the label was not amenable with her vision, not putting her in the "driver's seat". Instead, one of Columbia's ideas was to pair Perry with the record production team The Matrix, who was working on an album, to serve as its female vocalist. Although the album was later shelved, she caught the attention of the music press: Her burgeoning music career led to her being named "The Next Big Thing" in October 2004 by Blender magazine. With no album project ongoing, Perry began recording her own. Eighty percent completed, however, Columbia decided not to finish it and dropped her off the label.
While waiting to find another label, she worked in an independent A&R company called Taxi Music. In 2006, Perry is featured in the tail-end of the video to P.O.D.'s single "Goodbye for Now". She made a cameo appearance on Carbon Leaf's video, "Learn to Fly", and on Gym Class Heroes' video, "Cupid's Chokehold", playing the eventual love interest of lead singer Travis McCoy. Her songs eventually captured the attention of Virgin Records CEO Jason Flom, then head of Capitol Music Group, who signed her to Capitol Music in early 2007.
After signing to Capitol Records, Perry began recording tracks for her official mainstream debut album, One of the Boys, and establishing her image was one of the immediate concerns of her management. A campaign was started in November 2007 with the 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. This was a successful move that resulted in bringing 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".
While the buzz over Perry was building, she went on the next step of promoting the album, undergoing a two-month tour of radio stations. The album's official lead single, "I Kissed a Girl", was released on May 6, 2008. With the song climbing atop the charts, Perry embarked on the annual Warped Tour music festival, which her management used to "establish her as a credible performer and make sure she wasn't seen as just a one-hit wonder". The single was a commercial success, peaking at number one for seven weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It has since become a major worldwide hit, topping charts in 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. On June 12, 2008, Perry appeared as herself on the daytime soap opera, The Young and the Restless, and poses for the cover to the June 2008 issue of the fictional magazine Restless Style.
One of the Boys was released on June 17, 2008 to mixed critical reviews. The album has reached number nine on the Billboard 200, and, as of February 2009, has sold over 800,000 copies in the United States. The album has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Perry released her second single, "Hot N Cold", which gave her second top five 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, in January 2009. "I Kissed a Girl" earned Perry a nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Perry 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. She won Best New Act at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards, in which she co-hosted, and Best International Female Artist at the 2009 BRIT Awards. 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.
The self-titled debut album of The Matrix, which features Perry, was later released via the team's label, Let's Hear It, during when she was in the midst of 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 off One of the Boys had been dispatched. Despite their communication, The Matrix was released on January 27, 2009, via iTunes Store.
Among Perry's musical influences are Alanis Morissette, pop rockers Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Shirley Manson; and British singer-songwriter Freddie Mercury. Growing up listening to Gospel music, Perry had little references when she began recording songs. Asked by the producer whom she would like to collaborate with, Perry had no idea. That night, she went with her mother to a hotel. Inside, she turned on VH1 and saw producer Glen Ballard talking about Alanis Morissette; Ballard produced Morissette's Jagged Little Pill, the album that had a "huge influence" on Perry. She told her initial collaborator she had decided to work with Ballard. The producer arranged a meeting for her and Ballard in Los Angeles. Perry presented him a song, and a day later she was called. Ballard developed Perry for a few years.
Katy Perry described her music by saying, "Someone kind of penned it for me the other day, and I've been using it ever since." According to her, "she had changed a lot between the ages of 15 to 23". Her first album dwells on Gospel music. She related that her perspective in music was "a bit enclosed and very strict", and everything she did was church related. Her second album, One of the Boys, is described as "secular" and "rock", although reflects a departure of her musical roots. Perry expects to record more pop songs for her next album.
Katy Perry is artistically involved in her projects, especially in the writing process. Since she could play guitar, she would start writing songs at home and present it to her producers. Perry took inspiration off different things, mostly are references to specific moments of her life. She said it is easy for her to write songs about heartaches. Most of the themes in One of the Boys deal with heartbreak, teen adventure, and "puking into toilets".
Perry's mother reportedly told British tabloid Daily Mail that she dislikes her daughter's music, calling it "shameful and disgusting". Perry said her mother was misquoted and told MTV that it was false information.
Katy Perry is known for her unconventional style of dress. Her style is often humorous, bright in color, and reminiscent of different decades, as well as her frequent use of fruit-shaped accessories, mainly watermelon, as part of her outfits. Having learned dancing at an early age, she fancied about having her own style. Perry's transformation into an artist began with fashion, inspired by American film actress Dominique Swain's portrayal in 1997 film adaptation of the novel Lolita. She defines her fashion "a bit of a concoction of different things". Johnny Wujek, Perry's stylist, described her style, upon meeting her for the first time, as "very colorful and vintage". Her fashion has caught the attention of designers, who were calling her even before the release of "I Kissed a Girl", almost as much as the attention drawn by her music.
In June 2008, a publicity photo emerged that showed Perry posing with a switchblade. Anti-knife campaigners criticized the photo as an attempt at glamorizing knives. The picture was defended as only an effort to give Perry a "sexy, harder edge".
In December, Katy Perry apologized to British singer Lily Allen for remarks in which she called herself a "skinnier version" of her, saying she meant it as a joke. Allen retaliated and told a British radio station that she "happen to know for a fact that she was an American version" of her because their record company needed "to find something controversial and 'kooky'" like her.
This Katy Perry Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub