Katy Perry: on Lily, Angie, and John Mayer too!
Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl is currently #1 both on iTunes and Billboard Canada and second to only Coldplay on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad, right? But while the easy assumption is that at 23, Katy’s success came quickly, in reality she’s now with her fourth record label, having been bounced around and rejected for years by the business. Now finally, it seems like it’s time for her particular flavour. And even Madonna keeps namechecking her on the radio, revealing that Ur So Gay is one of her favourite songs.
Katy’s debut album One of the Boys was released this week. She was in Canada promoting recently and we talked on the phone and I will tell you right now, I love Katy Perry. I love this Katy Perry. I hope this Katy Perry stays. The Katy Perry who is super friendly and super excited and super forthcoming and answers every question without hesitating and is bitchy but not mean, who has a thing for John Mayer (?!) … I hope that Katy Perry is around for good, even though fame can f&ck a girl up.
Of her music, early comparisons have had Canadian colours – Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morissette. Alanis is actually one of Katy’s cited inspirations and right now, like Avril, Katy’s lyrics are certainly relatable on a 14 year old level: sapphic sleepovers, learning to understand metrosexuals and gays, angst and anger the way only a teen can feel… Katy’s found an audience in those just growing out of Miley and newly obsessing over The Hills.
The problem with Avril though is that her fans will be 14 forever, which means that they will outgrow her. Because her music will always be for 14 year olds. Married and supposedly more mature, Avril can’t evolve with her fanbase. Even when she’s 35, Avril will still be singing for 14.
The challenge for Katy Perry then is to be able to find a core audience that won’t leave her behind. Needless to say, the material has everything to do with that, but before the material the person comes first. Who you are shapes what you sing? Avril is an idiot. Avril can barely hold together a sentence.
Katy Perry on other hand, while young and spirited and a little wild right now has a depth and a thoughtfulness to her that will certainly serve her well. This is most evident when she talks about her family. It’s been one of the most frequently asked questions during her press tour.
Katy’s parents are ministers, she was raised in the ways of the church, and her family does not necessarily approve of her music, the lyrics, and the rock’n’roll life. She makes it clear when asked that her decisions are her decisions, that she is excited about them, that they are right because they feel right. But she concedes that it’s not the road her parents would have chosen and you get the sense that it’s an issue that will not find an easy resolution, or perhaps even an eventual one.
At 23 it’s so easy to be imbued with false bravado, with sanctimony and self righteousness. At 23 I thought I’d never, ever agree with my mother. Now I’m turning into her more and more every day. What I admired most about Katy though was how she answered when I asked her about it. Her response was sweet and respectful, willing to show genuine vulnerability without compromising her resolve:
“Mom and dad are… my parents. And they love me and support me. I’ve stopped trying to change them – as kids we want to please our parents. So now they’re spreading the gospel their way and I’m spreading rock’n’roll. But nothing can replace the parent child bond. I am trying to remember that every day.”
Do you love her? If so, you’ll love her even more after the fun stuff, starting with a little catfighting.
According to Page Six, Lily lost her sh8t when she found out Capitol had decided that Katy is their new favourite, going so far as to replace a photo of Lily with Katy in their lobby.
On her reported feud with Lily Allen:
Lily is so talented. I was the first in line to buy her record. I just think she needs to get back on track. She’ll be given the same attention she deserves. Make it about the music. I wish her well. I wish everybody success.
On Madonna listening to her music:
I reached for my inhaler, I was freakin’ the f&ck out! Madonna knows my first and last name! I was not allowed to listen to Madonna growing up so my experience with her music came later and all at the same time. (If I ever met her I would) look her straight in the eye and say – you really changed up my game.
On Ur So Gay:
There were a couple of different subject matters that inspired it: a past boyfriend, being dumped, dating metrosexuals. They’re sensitive and communicative. They’ll steal your jeans and flat iron and probably make your black eyeliner go dull. Dude – I know you’re not gay, but in another life…
Ur So Gay - a serenade… who would you dedicate it to?
John Mayer! Totally. But he’s hot! I would still make out with him after. Oh and I would sing it to Ryan Seacrest too.
On Angelina Jolie (note how she gets in a sly little jab at Jennifer Aniston):
Look at the things at the things that she and Brad have done together – they’re the f*cking coolest couple. The power couple that changed the game. She’s an ambassador. I have nothing against Jennifer Aniston, she’s still trying to find her mate. She’s waiting for someone to help her do that. Well, I don’t know that, I don’t know them but that’s my observation. But Angelina… she’s f&cking hot! And the way she transformed… I hope there’s an Angelina Jolie in everyone.
On her Freebie Five (in no particular order):
Megan fox – but only if she kept her mouth shut (snort!)
On being ready for fame:
I’m ready to make more music. If it means I have to be famous, well at least I’m making music. To me it’s about making music. I want people to listen to this album and hear the emotions on this record, feel something in the music.
One of the Boys is in stores now and Katy co-headlines the Warped Tour this summer.