Intro for June 15, 2017

Lainey Posted by Lainey at June 15, 2017 14:22:15 June 15, 2017 14:22:15

Dear Gossips,

It’s been a week now since Katy Perry released her new album, Witness. Witness will most likely get to #1 on the Billboard 200. But the reviews haven’t been great. Which might explain why it started at #1 on iTunes but then fell to #5 by Wednesday behind the Dear Evan Hansen cast album. And in the UK, Witness is also in 5th on the midweek chart. For an artist at Katy’s level, it’s not the kind of strong start that we have been expecting.

But it’s not like Katy hasn’t been working. She’s been promoting the album for weeks. She was livestreaming herself all weekend. She’s been pushing it on as many platforms as possible. So why has the Witness debut been so soft, beyond the fact that the album and the tracks on it are kind of medium?

Katy’s new interview with The New York Times, published yesterday, might give us some insight. Katy is forthcoming about the influences, interior and exterior, that have shaped who she is now, with Witness. As the headline says, “Katy Perry woke up. She wants to tell you all about it”. The election was a big “trigger” for her. She’s going through therapy with her family. She claims to “know nothing” which is her approach to wanting to learn. A few months ago, Duana and I led with Katy on Show Your Work after she covered VOGUE. I was into Katy’s “know nothing” approach then. I was looking forward to watching the “know nothing” phase of her career. The “know nothing” was supposed to be a new beginning. What we’ve seen in the weeks since though has been that “know nothing” felt like …kind of the same? There’s a new set of “mantras”, as Caryn Ganz observes in the NYT piece, but there’s the sense that, at least during the promotion of the album, they work more like slogans than they do as guides.

One of those mantras for Katy right now is that, “intention is everything”. That was Oprah’s mantra too when she was making her talk show. Oprah has spoken often about “intention” through the years, about the “power of intention”, calling it the “#1 principle that rules (her) life”. Every pitch that was presented to her ended up having to go through the “intention” interrogation – what is the “intention” behind this segment idea, what is the “intention” of this story, does is meet the overall “intention” of our show? I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Oprah Winfrey Show but I can’t deny that there was a consistency to it, and that the people who did watch it regularly, and were affected by it, embraced the work of Oprah’s “intention”.

How then has Katy Perry applied her “intention”? Saying that “intention is everything” is one thing. But as a member of the audience she is trying to reach, have you observed her rigorously test her work through the “intention” that is supposed to govern it? And if she hasn’t, is that why Witness might not be delivering in the way that she had hoped? Click here for the interview with Katy Perry.

Yours in gossip,

Lainey


Tags: Katy Perry
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