Katy Perry

Katy Perry
Katy Perry. Photo by Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Katy Perry's Early Life and Career

Katy Perry was born October 25, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California. Both of her parents were pastors and she grew up listening primarily to Christian music. They were born again Christians. As a teenager, she recorded a Christian album Katy Hudson, using her given name, released in 2001 on Red Hill Records. Upon discovery of an album by the rock band Queen, Katy Perry adopted lead vocalist Freddie Mercury as one of her top musical influences. Alanis Morissette has also been identified as a key influence.

Work With Top Producers

In 2004 Katy Perry began working with the production team The Matrix (perhaps best known for work on Avril Lavigne's self-titled debut) as an in-house vocalist. She also soon worked with producer Glen Ballard (the man behind Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill) on an intended solo debut album. Despite being featured in Blender magazine as a "Next Big Thing," both projects fell apart.

The Sound of Katy Perry

Katy Perry's lyrical wit has been likened to that of British female soloists Lily Allen and Kate Nash. However, her music is closer to the pop-rock of Avril Lavigne. The elements add up to a spunky, sassy approach that is uniquely Katy Perry.

Katy Perry Reviews

"Ur So Gay"

Signed to Capitol Records, Katy Perry released a debut EP in fall 2007 titled Ur So Gay. The title song's cheeky lyrics immediately drew attention. Capitol Records made it available as a free download on their website. In a radio interview Madonna referred to "Ur So Gay" as her "favorite song right now." However, Perry also received backlash from multiple quarters identifying her song as homophobic and gay-baiting. Ultimately "Ur So Gay" was certified gold for sales but it failed to reach national pop charts.

Pop Stardom for Katy Perry

Instead of scuttling Katy Perry's fledgling career, "Ur So Gay" did help create a buzz around the singer-songwriter. Her first official single "I Kissed a Girl" appeared in May 2008 and quickly became a smash hit. It rose to #1 on the pop singles chart amid more controversy. The song was derided in some quarters for promoting promiscuity and encouraging homosexuality. Katy Perry's first full-length album One of the Boys was released in June 2008. It was a top 10 hit and certified platinum. Follow up singles "Hot 'n' Cold" and "Waking Up In Vegas" also reached the pop top 10. One of the Boys only reached #9 on the album chart but it eventually sold over a million copies. "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold" earned Grammy Award nominations for Best Female Pop Vocal in successive years.

"California Gurls"

In May 2010 Katy Perry released the single "California Gurls" with a guest appearance from Snoop Dogg. It was recorded as a west coast answer to Jay-Z's #1 New York centered smash "Empire State of Mind." "California Gurls" debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 selling over 290,000 digital downloads in its first week of release. Soon it was #1 and sold over two million copies in its first week of release. The song hit #1 in countries around the world. It was the lead-in single for the album Teenage Dream.

Teenage Dream

Katy Perry's album included "California Gurls" and four other #1 pop singles, title song "Teenage Dream," "Firework,", "E.T.," and "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"  That made Teenage Dream the only album other than Michael Jackson's Bad to generate five #1 pop hit singles. In February 2012, Capitol Records released an expanded version of the album. It included the single "Part Of Me" which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The follow up "Wide Awake" also reached the top 10. 

Music from the Teenage Dream project earned seven Grammy Award nominations across three years. They included an Album of the Year nomination and Record of the Year nomination for "Firework." Music videos from Teenage Dream songs earned a phenomenal sixteen MTV Video Music Award nominations across three years and won four honors. "Firework" was selected as Video of the Year and "E.T." won a Best Special Effects award.


Katy Perry began work on her next album in November 2012. The first single "Roar" appeared in August 2013, and it went to #1. The album appeared in October and debuted at #1 on the chart. Although the next single "Unconditionally" failed to each the top 10, the third release "Dark Horse" went all the way to #1. "Dark Horse" was one of Katy Perry's most forward looking musical concoctions. It welded Southern rap with electronic dance music. As Katy Perry's ninth #1 pop hit, it moved Katy Perry into the all-time top 10 artists with the most #1 hits. "Dark Horse" set a new personal record for longest stay in the top 10 lasting 22 weeks, and it was her first to spend over a year on the Billboard Hot 100. Music from Prism earned three Grammy Award nominations including a nod for Song of the Year for "Roar."

In February 2015 Katy Perry performed the Super Bowl halftime show. It became the most watched halftime show in history. She invited Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott to appear as guests in the performance. The event attracted 118.5 million viewers, the largest Super Bowl audience ever. The production won two Emmy Awards. The halftime show received strong critical acclaim and an unintentional viral Internet sensation was created by one of Katy Perry's dancers dressed as a shark. "Left Shark" was singled out for his fun and energetic performance.

Fifth Studio Album

In May 2016, Katy Perry confirmed that she was working on music for her fifth studio album. She released an anthemic song called "Rise" for TV coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The song reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it climbed to #12 at adult pop radio. A remix went to #1 on the dance chart. In August 2016, Katy Perry told Ryan Seacrest that she was not rushing her upcoming album and instead was having fun experimenting and working with a variety of collaborators.