Katy Perry
Songs like “I Kissed a Girl” and “Hot N Cold” made Katy Perry a household name this past year. Although the song was very controversial, it was enough to get her a Grammy nomination and make an anthem heard around the world. With her new song “Thinking of You” also charting on top, pop star Katy has proven she is a force to stay. Check out this interview, taken during a round table discussion by Natalie Geday in which WHO?MAG was apart of, as Katy discusses everything including if she really kissed a girl???
Question: Because of the Grammy moment song is “I Kissed a Girl”, I want you to just reflect on that for a minute, how the song first popped into your mind. I know there’s like four writers listed but you’re the lead writer for it so how did the song come about?
Katy Perry: Well, “I Kissed a Girl” was an idea that actually popped into my head. I woke up one morning. I’d always heard about artists having a notepad on the side of their bed or something they can record if they were to have dreams of lyrics or an idea for a song in the middle of the night, and I thought it was all blocks and I thought that never really happened; that kind of song writing never really happened but it actually happened to me. I woke up one morning and I was starting my day and I had this song literally pop into my head, the chorus of it, “I Kissed a Girl” and I liked it; the taste of her cherry chap stick; “I Kissed a Girl” just to try it out; my boyfriend don’t mind it.
And so I had all that kind of pop into my head and I thought, what a peculiar, what a peculiar little idea and I knew it spawned some curiosity that I had growing up but it was one of those things where I had this idea; I kind of put it in my back pocket for a while and I kind of presented it a couple of times to different people and they didn’t really understand it fully and so I thought, well okay, so that was just like a fluke accident of an idea and nothing will ever happen with that until the end of my record-making process, literally the last two days that were in the studio. I had this idea still and it wouldn’t go away so it was kind of like a pebble in my shoe, and I just decided, okay, well maybe since it’s still so prevalent in the back of my mind after a year and a half of dreaming it up, I should probably finish this song.

Question: And then when it just became that outrageously everywhere played constantly, how much did that surprise you when it was just number one in 20 countries and so on?
Katy Perry: Well, I was told that it was really difficult to be number one across all four charts. You can have number ones in so many different ways but to be number one across the whole board on the pop hot 100 chart was a big deal so I felt really proud about that. And, of course I never expected to travel. Like last year I traveled all around the world from Australia to Mexico to Japan to Belgium to just all kinds of different places in Europe and it didn’t matter anywhere I went, everybody was singing along, it didn’t matter what their language was and that was like hugely surprising. I thought maybe it would be how sometimes you think the song will be popular it… with a certain group of people or maybe it’ll be popular on… in the LA and the New York coast, but it would never reach beyond that. I never realized that it would be like a worldwide sing-along.

Question: Just a quick question. If you could kiss one female celebrity and like it, which one would it be?
Katy Perry: Well that question has been asked probably as many times as the question of, have you ever really kissed a girl, been asked so I guess to give you two questions in one answer. Yes, everybody, I have kissed a girl. I know you’re chuckling right now and that was a bonus question. And I don’t know; I really kind of stopped telling everybody who I thought was hot because it becomes next day’s news of like, holy sh*t, she wants to make out with Scarlett Johansson and I’m like, well not really. I was just kind of answering their question because she is hot and we all know it so it takes a certain beautiful, I guess, mermaid.

Question: Is it a weird situation when you traveled last year all throughout the world and everybody’s singing the song, is everybody singing it in the same way? Or do you think it’s received in different ways in different places?
Katy Perry: No, I think everybody gets the gist of the joke. I mean it’s a catchy little number, I mean, if I can go out on a limb and say so. As far as sonically and the music, I really wanted to make it catchy. I wanted to make people want to sing along and make it be commercially hooky and so maybe there were certain people in different parts of the world that didn’t get the whole kind of tongue in cheek “I Kissed a Girl”, hee, hee, hee, little background behind it, but they knew that it was catchy and everybody was singing along I think. But I think that that’s maybe why it did kind of have a worldwide ways is because it was almost like every modern girl’s unspoken spoken.

Question: Who or what has influenced your style the most?
Katy Perry: Who or what? Well, I mean it’s a bit of a concoction of different things. I mean when I first started out, I was really attracted to having my own sense of style. It was because I started swing dancing, lindy hop, and jitterbug. I would go to the Santa Barbara rec hall and I would learn how to dance there and I would be taught by some of the more seasoned dancers who were actually very involved in the scene. It was kind of like… a little bit like rockabilly but not as annoying. And these girls would get out of their old vintage Cadillacs with their pencil skirt and their tight little cardigans and their bullet bras and I thought it was so unique and different than what was going on at in 2000 or whatever the time zone was there. I think it’s grown a lot. It’s changed. I really love details. I love different colors. I love funny things. There are a couple of designers that I really love John Charles de Casobejac. He’s a designer from Paris and he incorporates a lot of smiley faces. I have this one shirt that’s like got smiley faces as shoulders so it’s really cute and it’s quite humorous and whenever I wear it, anybody that looks at me kind of… it’s an instant smile and so that makes me feel really good.
I like to make people laugh. I love a good sense of humor in clothes. I also love to kind of dress up and be very adult sometimes, I guess you would say, and I don’t know; it’s a mixture between like Dita Von Teese and Agnes Den. Like, Dita Von Teese is just one of the most beautifully graceful women that exists with a… just… she’s very… like, she’s a woman. And then Agnes Den is kind of just like a punk rock Lolita and I love the both of those mixed together.

Question: A playlist of the top five artists or songs or bands that you’re listening to right now? And it could be old; it could be old or new stuff.
Katy Perry: Okay. I guess if I want to be honest about what I’m listening to, I’m pulling up my… what I just bought, how about that? So I love that new Par Amour song; it’s so good, the one that she did for Twilight and it’s like kind of a next level Par Amour. I love the new Anthony and the Johnsons record. It’s very sad but it’s very beautiful. And I’m a really big fan of a group called Stars; they’re a husband and wife duo; I could be wrong. And John Legend, Evolver and I’m always listening to Jonatha Brooke. But right now I will not stop playing a record called Ten Trent Wings. So it’s very, very eclectic. I like everything. It just has to be really good or different.

Question: Do you find that crowds are, especially in America, are reacting any differently just because of the circumstance of how the world is and how the economy is? Are they using your songs as an escape to… from their… from the troubles that they see and in paying bills or are they more into your songs?
Katy Perry: Good music exists. It’s an escape, I mean, from your kind of monotonous nine to five, if that’s the way you live your life. It’s kind of like you almost get to escape through a person’s record or their ideas or their perspective and especially with the live shows, like that’s kind of one of the things that I still do as a hobby, is I go to live shows and I’m continually impressed when I go there and I look around and I just kind of like study the people and I watch them and they’re totally free, like these people are dancing. They look sometimes utterly ridiculous and they’re having so much fun. And maybe they’re kind of letting go of all the things that they’re continually nitpicking and worried about in life for that moment and I think music is a very healthy therapeutic thing and it’s beautiful when you can see someone kind of let go and, I guess, have the music kind of take over.

Question: Where are you at in terms of thinking about your next album? Obviously, there’s some life left in this – probably a lot – but are you writing? Are you thinking? Do you know what you want to do yet?
Katy Perry: It’s a bit premature but not too much. I mean I think it’s going to be exciting to start making the next record. I think I’ll start really kind of thinking about that at the end of summer. I’ve just released “Thinking Of You”, which is a ballad that I wrote by myself just like a week ago, so that’s the next, that’s the next single. We may squeeze one more single out of this, just because, if you actually listen to the whole record, there are actual songs on there. But I think it’s going to be exciting when I do get to make that next record that everybody’s wondering, “hey, can she do it again or was she just lucky”? And it’ll be exciting to show that this is what I do. This is my job and I try and put my best foot forward every single time. And it’ll also be a very present record because this record that I made was a long time span. It went from 17 to 23 and so a lot changes, especially in those really influential years, those five years and so when I go to make my next record hopefully it’ll be made in less time than that. And so it might be right exactly where I am, been there now.

Question: What are some of you think the topic areas or the sounds you want to pursue next time out?
Katy Perry: Well I think I still want to make a pop record. I want to make maybe a sonically more current pop record. I think maybe I want to make people move a little bit more and, yes, I’m still kind of driving along on the pop freeway of life but I think a really if you’re talking about, even in the farther future, like I definitely want to make, an acoustic record. I want to try lots of different things. Why not?

Question: I just wanted to ask you what it feels like to suddenly within the past nine months since the album release to be kind of thrown into the world of being a famous pop star. How has your life has changed since and where you hope it takes you and what your future goals are?
Katy Perry: I was really gearing up for it. I was preparing myself for it. I was kind of preparing to kind of catch my lucky star and hold on tightly. And thank God I actually was kind of almost in training for so long, because I really don’t think I would have been able to handle it when I though I would have been able to handle it at 17, 18, 19. Because there’s a lot that you don’t realize, I guess, that people in the public eye deal with rather than just making music. I mean the whole world is a big, fat kitchen with a gazillion cooks. And everybody is always commenting and stuff like that, so you have to definitely be strong or learn how to sift in the good and keep out the bad. And it’s exciting. I mean I definitely prepared myself for this. And living in Hollywood for eight years, man, that will prepare you whether you like it or not. Because I kind of had the luxury of watching other people get famous, like some of my friends and seeing some of them fail pretty miserably at it. And then I’d sit back and take notes and say okay, I’m not going to do that if I ever have the opportunity.
But I think my whole intent was just to get as many people that would want to listen just to listen. And so now that they’re all listening, it’s exciting, and I’m just trying to continually make good music and hopefully take my career to the next level in life. I think when you have the opportunity to do big, great things; you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity, from helping out other people to how I will be appearing on the Grammy’s. It’s going to be really exciting. But I hope to always continue to kind of next level my career.

Question: Obama mania is sweeping the world. What is your take on these new times and Obama himself?
Katy Perry: Well, he’s our President. I think it’s fantastic and I have major respect for him. I think it’s exciting. Everybody is excited for a new change. It’s a new year, a new President, and we haven’t had that in eight years. And I think everybody’s kind of looking for some fresh brains. And I think for me, I really do believe from all the things I’ve seen and the bits and pieces that I’ve read here and there that he is a very wise man and very graceful, and I do think he has a lot of pressure on him and that he shouldn’t be viewed as a messiah because he is also still a man. But I think he’s a very smart man, very graceful, very humble. And I think he has the face of the people right now, and I think all you have to do is pray for him, I guess. I guess you just pray for your country and pray for your President, that they make the right choices. And that’s all you can do, really, because people are people.

Question: What excites you most about the tour, and what is the most important lesson that you feel you’ve learned so far that will help you this time around on tour?
Katy Perry: Well, I’m definitely not d*cking around on this tour. For the past two weeks, I have been straight to bed and unfortunately just kind of working out the details. Not unfortunately; fortunately, I’m working out the details of all the ins and outs from the merchandise to the… what the boys are wearing in my band to what I’m wearing, to what it’s sounding like, to making it sounding bigger and brighter and making it be a real entertaining show. I mean I don’t think it’s going to be a perfect first show off, maybe. I think maybe there are some kinks to work out.
But I’m really excited about this tour, because last year it was very fast. Like you’d only ever see me in a setting like 20 to 30 minutes. And so you would get the “Hot N Cold” and the “I Kissed a Girl” and a couple of the other, “Ur So Gay” and some of the other faster songs. But I don’t think that people really got to see my range. And so I’ll be able to play the whole record from the fast songs that give the middle finger, to the sad songs that are regrettable. And it’ll be exciting to see kind of people go on that personality rollercoaster with me.
And also, I’m definitely bringing some advantageous production. When I go to see a show, I get really bored if it’s just the band and they’re in their jeans and t-shirt and they think that that’s all they need. I like to see it come to life, really. I like to see the eye candy, I guess, and I’m definitely bringing a load of eye candy.

Question: You mentioned that “Thinking Of You” is your next single. Your previous singles up until now have been sort of up-tempo or brash. This is more of a power ballad. Are you excited or nervous to see how the public responds to your first power ballad out there on the radio?
Katy Perry: I’m really excited. I think it’s a grower, not a shower. “Hot N Cold” and “I Kissed a Girl” were always kind of like I was a bad… just like boom, right up against the head a little bit. And “Thinking Of You” to me is something that you want to listen to the lyrics and hear the storyline of. It’s very important, very, very important to me because I’m now showing the different kind of side of me.
You know where I started, which was playing open mike nights with my guitar, playing coffee houses and things like that, and so kind of while I was playing those really like intimate places, I wrote the song, “Thinking of You”. And it’s a very regretful song about a relationship that ended that I really didn’t know how to end it, like I didn’t know how to move on. I mean when you end a relationship, sometimes you are still very much in love but you just know. You know you look into the future and you know that that isn’t the missing piece to the puzzle. Although it was a really nice puzzle, it just wasn’t the missing piece.
And so it talks about how when you’re moving on, you meet other people but you’re still in love and the chorus kind of speaks for itself. It says, “When I’m with him I’m thinking of you.” And I think that is a very honest statement that a lot of people probably have been through but they would never… They would never tell their old significant other. And it’s exciting to play that live in the show as well, because I get to play that just me on my acoustic guitar and kind of strip down. There’s no production to it. It’s just kind of the basic spine of the song, and I think people get to see a really intimate mask off –although I’m never really wearing a mask, I guess – more so good or off of me. And hopefully, they appreciate it.

Question: And do you think every girl should try kissing another girl?
Katy Perry: I don’t know. I think to each their own. I think, some say tomato, some s