Katy Perry
Katy Perry

Katy Perry

About Katy Perry

She’s the dream girl. The free spirit. The candy-coated pinup and the well of inner strength. She’s a little Disney, a little Betty Boop. But she’s also an avatar for the modern female pop star in a post-Madonna world—the liberated woman who kicks open doors without knocking. Under all the sparkle and glitter, you could sense an artist grappling with messy human contradictions—about sexuality, about self-love, about asserting femininity in a man’s world. Talking to Apple Music in 2019, Katy Perry said she leads with her gut and lets her mind follow, and doesn’t make much sense of any of it until the work is done. “The themes are joy,” she said. “They are empowerment. They are trying to expand the boundaries of what I think, and trying to learn from all this opportunity.” She might actually be a superhero. But she also might just be what she is: a girl from Southern California who worked like crazy and didn’t flinch.

Born in 1984 to Pentecostal pastors in Santa Barbara, Perry (originally Katy Hudson) grew up on gospel music, putting out her first album, 2001’s Katy Hudson, on a Christian label. At some point during adolescence, she discovered Queen, a band whose mix of flamboyance, power, and sexualized wit cracked her creative world open. (Perry named her fragrance Killer Queen, after one of the band’s signature songs.) Club tracks, ballads, classic pop-rock, and contemporary electronic music—Perry’s production collaborators are brilliant (Dr. Luke, Max Martin, benny blanco), but it's her songwriting, her image, her balance of playfulness and confidence that pull the package together. And for every “Teenage Dream” or “I Kissed a Girl,” there's a “Firework” or a “Roar,” music that turns expressions of vulnerability into anthems of inclusion and self-renewal—a dynamic that has made Perry an inspirational figure not only to young women, but for an LGBTQ community she vocally supports.

Perry doesn’t quite know how she went so platinum—2010’s Teenage Dream reached commercial heights previously set only by Michael Jackson—but while the numbers are nice, the work is what's important. “It’s up to me to make the right choice in my mind to keep putting one foot in front of the other and going forward,” Perry told Apple Music. “Not going backwards—I could easily go backwards by literally looking at a photo. But I have to go forward, because I know what’s good for me now.”

  • HOMETOWN
    Santa Barbara, CA
  • BORN
    October 25, 1984