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Katy Perry - Biography

Katy Perry came onto the music scene with a valid challenge for the Pop Princess crown

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 27: Katy Perry attends the reopening of The Landmark at Tiffany & Co 5th Avenue on April 27, 2023 in New York City.
Bryony Gooch
Bryony GoochUS Writer
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"I wanted to be that quirky girl who writes funny songs that still have meaning," said Katy Perry, looking back on her life before she became one of the world's most famous women. It's safe to say the California dreamer achieved her goal...

Born Katheryn Hudson in Santa Barbara, California, Katy was raised by deeply religious – and strict – parents, and honed her musical talent while singing in church choirs as a youngster.But for a girl whose mum and dad didn't allow her to watch MTV when she was growing up, she sure knows her way around a catchy, big-chorused pop song. 

Career

The brunette songstress burst into the big time in May 2008 with her cheeky anthem I Kissed A Girl, and a kitsch, fun, girly image that the music world had been crying out for for years. However, the song nearly didn't get released. "[My record company] said, ‘We don’t see it as a single; we don’t want it on the album’. And I was like, ‘You guys are idiots’," Katy has said. "I always try and make a lasting impression and I work very hard. My father has a saying, ‘You can’t be a flash in the pan’." 

Thanks to the savvy singer's determination, the song became a worldwide smash hit. It was the same tactic she employed to land herself a record deal in the first place. She didn't hit the big time until she was 23."

I had a very strong vision and some record companies didn’t like that, but I waited for the right one and took a chance. I was lucky because it doesn’t always pay off." Katy had actually already recorded an album; a self-titled Gospel rock offering that flopped. After the experience she changed her surname to Perry – believing that Katy Hudson sounded too much like the Hollywood actress Kate Hudson – and set off for a career-making move to the bright lights of Los Angeles. Her major-label debut album One Of The Boys – which she described as her "baby" - followed suit, and singles Hot n Cold and Waking Up In Vegas stormed the charts. 

She worked tirelessly promoting the record and touring, before releasing her follow-up album Teenage Dream in 2010. The kooky star, as ever, had her personality stamped all over the CD. The cover art was a portrait of her lying naked on a candy floss cloud, and the disc itself was candy floss-scented. 

Lead single California Gurls – on which she collaborated with West Coast rap mogul Snoop Dogg - was another summer anthem, which she followed with singles Teenage Dream and Firework. Katy's life had changed considerably in the time between her two albums, though, and this was apparent in her music. "My new songs are a little bit more mature," she revealed. "I know how to handle boys now. Actually, I don't even mess with boys anymore, I mess with men." 

While at the time Teenage Dream received mixed critical reviews, it was immensely popular and the album's lasting legacy has been one as a defining pop record; it has since been described as "pop perfection".

Not long after the global sensation of Teenage Dream, Katy set to work on Prism, which was set to have darker elements following her marriage's end. The album was full of anthems like 'Roar' and 'Unconditionally', as well as more jaded songs like 'Dark Horse'. Like Teenage Dream, it was a global success.

Witness, Katy's fifth studio album, garnered a mixed reception as she appeared to attempt "purposeful pop". The singer shed her on-stage persona, embracing what she called her "authentic" self, as she started going by her real name, Katheryn Hudson. She retired her long, dark hair for a short pixie cut and adopted her natural blonde hair colour instead.

Three years after Witness, Katy released Smile. Arguably the record was performed worse commercially, but it was characterized by themes of self-help and empowerment. Since then, Katy has gone on to perform at the Coronation Concert of Charles III the following May at Windsor Castle and hosted a concert residency named Play at Resorts World Las Vegas.

Personal life

And not just any old men. She had got engaged to British bad boy comic Russell Brand. "When he was filming Get Him to the Greek, I did a cameo with him," she has said. "My scene called for me to make out with him. And on the way down the stairs after the scene, I was hopping like a bunny. I hop like a bunny when I'm happy - I get a bit childlike." 

The scene was cut from the final movie, but in September 2009 their onscreen passion bubbled over into real life, and the two embarked upon a relationship after their paths crossed once more at the MTV Video Music Awards. It was no secret that notorious womanizer – and former heroin addict and alcoholic – Russell had a soft spot for Katy. 

"Katy Perry didn't win an award and she's staying at the same hotel as me, so she's going to need a shoulder to cry on. So in a way, I'm the real winner tonight," he joked to the audience. The couple began quietly dating, and got engaged just four months into their relationship after Russell staged a romantic, extravagant proposal in India over New Year. 

On October 23, 2010, just two days before the bride's 26th birthday, the couple tied the knot in a sumptuous ceremony involving elephants, camels and horses in India - at the Aman-e-Khas resort outside the Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary. "The very private and spiritual ceremony, attended by the couple's closest family and friends, was performed by a Christian minister and long time friend of the Hudson Family," said a spokesman for the couple.

The marriage did not last long. As Katy Perry peaked as a popstar sensation, Russell continuously affirmed he wanted to settle down and have a family. This seemed to bubble over as notoriously, Brand sent her a text requesting a divorce right before she was due to perform a show on her tour. The marriage ended in 2012 and not long after she dated John Mayer.

Katy found her happily ever after with actor Orlando Bloom, who she started dating in 2016; the couple got engaged in 2019 and she gave birth to a daughter named Daisy Dove Bloom.

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