Katy Perry is an American pop music sensation who burst into the scene in 2008 with her single, ‘I Kissed a Girl’. She found a passion for singing earlier on in life, but got widespread recognition through the hit single years after she had started working on her music career. Ever since, she has risen to the top and became one of the highest earning women in music. She's gained more publicity from her relationship with famous actor Orlando Bloom.
Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson was born in Santa Barbara to Mary Christine and Maurice Keith Hudson, with them both being Pentecostal pastors in California. She has an older sister, Angela and a younger brother, David, who is also a singer. She has Portuguese, Irish, German and English roots and is the niece to famous movie director Frank Perry, from her mother’s side. Growing up, her family struggled financially. They sometimes had to use food stamps or eat from the food basket that was donated to the church for feeding the less fortunate.
Katy grew up attending Christian schools such as Paradise Valley Christian School in Arizona and Santa Barbara Christian School in California as well as Christian camps. At age 15, she earned her GED, years ahead of children her age and left high school. She went on to pursue Italian opera for a while before fully embarking on her pursuit of a music career. While growing up, Katy never got the opportunity to listen to secular music as it was discouraged in their house. She was only able to discover this music later after she managed to sneak some CDs from her friends that he would listen to. She started practicing at an early age, performing for her parents at age 9. She often used her sister’s cassettes to practice songs and was later enrolled in vocal classes by her parents. She was incorporated into her parents’ ministry and started singing at church and in the choir.
Her brother describes her as a tomboy in her adolescent years. She was the typical California girl as she took up roller skating in addition to enrolling in dance classes where she learnt to do execute different dance moves.
She moved to Nashville to learn more about writing and recording through the help of Jennifer Knapp and Steve Thomas who discovered her singing and wanted to nurture it. She signed with Red Hill Records, learned how to play the guitar, write songs and started recording. At Red Hill, she recorded Katy Hudson, her debut album which was a gospel record released in March 2001. The album received great reviews but this did not materialize in sales as she only sold about 200 copies. Red Hill closed its doors in December and Perry moved to the secular industry and relocated to Los Angeles at 17 years.
After the move to secular music, Perry started writing with Glen Ballard, a famous producer, and performed as Katheryn Perry because she wanted to avoid the confusion between her and famous actress Kate Hudson. She then adopted Katy Perry, using her mother’s maiden name, as her stage name. She signed onto Glen’s label, Java, which was affiliated to Island Def Jam Music Group. While working on her album, Java was dropped and her pursuit of yet another album came to a halt. During this period, Katy Perry’s single ‘Simple’ was featured as a soundtrack to The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. She also provided backup vocals for Mick Jagger’s ‘Old Habits Die Hard’ which was included as a soundtrack to the film Alfie in 2004. Katy Perry was introduced to Tim Devine, an A&R executive at Columbia Records and was signed as a solo artist. She recorded material on some solo work and also partnered with others to form a group titled ‘The Matrix’. In 2006, however Columbia Records officially dropped Perry just when her solo record neared completion. After this Katy Perry worked with an independent A&R company called Taxi Music.
In 2007, Perry was signed to Capitol Records after Angelica Cob-Baehler, a publicity executive at Columbia. They brought her demos to Jason Flom, Virgin Records’ chairman. She started working with Dr. Luke again and they co-wrote the songs ‘I Kissed a Girl’ and ‘Hot and Cold’ from her second album ‘One of the Boys’. A campaign for the release of the video ‘Ur So Gay’ introduced her to the limelight, with praise from Madonna garnering her more audience. The release of ‘One of the Boys’ in June 17 2008 was preceded by the release of ‘I Kissed a Girl’ in April of the same year with the song reaching number one in the U.S. Billboard 100. The song stirred controversy for its homosexual theme from religious groups and also garnered criticism from LGBT groups that accused Perry of using bi-curiosity to sell records. However, the album did well, reaching the U.S. Billboard 200 and selling 7 million copies worldwide, a far cry from the 200 copies sold of her first album. She later released ‘Hot and Cold’ from the same album in September 2008 and the song reached number 3 in the U.S. Billboard 100 while topping the charts in Canada, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. Her solo success led to the iTunes release of Matrix’s self-titled debut album that had been recorded back in 2004.
Perry hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2008 and won the award for the Best New Act. From January to November of 2009 she went on her first headlining tour, the Hello Katy Tour. She also hosted the MTV Music Awards in November of the same year, becoming the first person to ever host the awards show two years in a row. She took on other projects in the same year including the recording of a live album titled MTV Unplugged. The Guinness World Records recognized her in 2010 as the Best Start on the U.S. Digital Chart by a Female Artist for digital sales of over two million copies.
Perry has served as a judge on American Idol as well as a guest judge on The X Factor UK. She released her third studio album, ‘Teenage Dream’ in 2010 which reached number one on Billboard in September, soon after its August release. Her fourth studio album ‘Prism’ was released in October 2013.
Perry has had a decorated career since she burst into the limelight. With four studio albums under her pocket, Guinness World Records recognitions, roles on television shows, including an appearance on Sesame Street that was not aired because of harsh criticism from viewers that Perry showed too much cleavage and films as well as numerous awards, she is a force to reckon with. She became the first female artist to have five number one Hot 100 songs from one album and the second artist after Michael Jackson with the album ‘Bad’. She is currently working on her fifth studio album, rumored to be star-studded with great singers and songwriters.
Perry has a peculiar public image. While she is considered sexy, she has an unconventional dressing style. She is popular for bright colors and even includes food themes into her style. She has, over the years, said that she gets her inspiration on style from Dominique Swain in her portrayal of Lolita (1997). Her 2012 documentary, Katy Perry: Part of Me showcased some of this peculiar style; she once performed dressed as a cupcake. The documentary also revealed a vulnerable side of her, showing the motions she went through after her divorce from comedian Russell Brand. She kept unflattering shots of her crying and without make up in order to maintain the authenticity of the documentary. This made her more relatable to the public as she showed a side of her being just a regular human being as opposed to an untouchable superstar.
Katy Perry is a gay activist and vocal about it. She supported President Barack Obama in his 2012 re-election due to his stance on same sex marriages. She performed at his rallies and showed her support through Twitter. The stance on same sex marriages is controversial because of the fact that her parents are Pentecostal pastors. In fact, her whole music career seems controversial and people believe that this might cause tension between her and her parents. Perry has expressly stated that, to the contrary, her parents are supportive of her success. Perry’s parents do not agree with all of her music but they attend all of her award ceremonies. Many people have criticized this, expressing that it, in a sense, supports their daughter’s music, most of which references sex and lust. However, Perry and her parents have maintained a good relationship despite these differences. Her parents asked people to pray for her to come back to the fold of Christianity instead of just judging her. They have expressed that, while they are proud of their daughter’s achievements in her career, they still pray for her to come back to the fold. Perry does not seem to have a problem with any of her other family members. She has been spotted vacationing with her brother and sister so there is no bad blood there.
Perry gives back to society through involvement in charity work and volunteering. She was involved in “Chime for Change”, a campaign that deals with female empowerment. Her appearance on the clip for the campaign followed her work with UNICEF in 2013. She was involved in assisting children in Madagascar with nutrition and education. She has also been involved with American Red Cross, The Humane Society of the United States, MusiCares, Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Children’s Health Fund.
Perry has dated some famous people. She dated Travie McCoy from Gym Class Heroes and even appeared in one of their videos playing the part of Travie’s love interest. They broke up in December of 2008. In September of 2009 she started dating Russell Brand whom she had met earlier. On December 31 of the same year the two got engaged and got married in 2010. They stayed together for fourteen months after which they announced they were getting divorced. Perry attributed this to the fact that they had conflicting career schedules and that Brand wanted to have children while Perry was not ready. She explained that he sent her a text that he wanted a divorce and never talked to her afterwards. Brand, on the other hand, stated that the divorce was because Perry had a lot of commercial success and that she was not willing to engage in activism. They officially got divorced in 2012. Perry was distraught after the divorce but she started dating John Mayer, a popular singer-songwriter and producer in August 2012. The relationship ended in 2014.
Perry is now rumored to be engaged to Orlando Bloom, the Lord of the Rings’actor. Their relationship begun in the beginning of 2016 and it has been a whirlwind romance between the two, stirring the interest of the public eye through the different vacations they have taken together including Hawaii and Italy. There have been speculations that they are in it for the long haul with talk of starting a family and getting children. Both Perry and Orlando seem very happy and rank top in the world’s cute couples.
Katy Perry says that while she may not be religious, she always prays for self control. She says this keeps her grounded as she would not want to get lost in fame, letting the public image control her.