Katheryn Elizabeth “Katy” Hudson (born October 25, 1984), better known by her stage name Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, businesswoman, philanthropist, and actress. She was born near Santa Barbara, California and primarily grew up there before moving to Los Angeles. Having had limited exposure to mainstream pop music in her childhood, she pursued a career in gospel music as a teen and released her debut studio album, Katy Hudson (2001). She later recorded a collaborative album with The Matrix and a solo album she worked on with Glen Ballard, the latter of which was never released.
In April 2007, Perry signed a recording contract with Capitol Records. She rose to prominence with the release of her single “I Kissed a Girl” followed by her second album, One of the Boys (2008), which is predominantly pop rock. Perry’s third record, Teenage Dream (2010), was preceded by the Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping singles “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream”, and later produced the number-one singles “Firework”, “E.T.”, and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”. Teenage Dream became the first album recorded by a female artist in history to produce five number-one hits, and the second album overall after Michael Jackson’s Bad (1987). The album features disco, electronic music, funk, and hip hop in addition to pop and rock. In March 2012, she re-released Teenage Dream as Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, which contained the number-one single “Part of Me”. Her fourth album, Prism (2013), spawned the number-one singles “Roar” and “Dark Horse”. The album was originally planned to be darker than Perry’s previous material, but ultimately became influenced by Swedish dance music and focuses heavily on self-empowerment.
Perry has received numerous awards and nominations, including eleven Grammy nominations and Billboard dubbed her as 2012’s Woman of the Year. She remains the only artist to spend 69 consecutive weeks in the top ten of the Hot 100. Perry is also the third best selling digital singles artist in US according to RIAA. She has ventured into celebrity endorsement and released fragrances Purr, Meow, and Killer Queen. In late July 2011, she made her film debut voicing Smurfette in The Smurfs. Billboard ranked Perry at number fourteen on their 2011 list of top moneymakers, grossing more than $11 million. In early July 2012, she released her 3D autobiographical documentary film, Katy Perry: Part of Me, which concentrated on her life as a touring artist and the breakdown of her one-year marriage to English actor/comedian Russell Brand. As of early November 2013, Perry has sold more than 11 million albums and 81 million singles worldwide and her singles are some of the best-selling worldwide. As of late February 2014, she holds the record for most 5x platinum singles in the United States, with 5 of her singles reaching the achievement.
Life and career
1984–98: Early life and career beginnings
Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson was born near Santa Barbara, California, to Pentecostal pastors Mary Christine (Perry) and Maurice Keith Hudson of Keith Hudson Ministries. Her younger brother David is the lead singer of the band Hudson. She and David have one older sister named Angela. Keith is of English descent while Mary is of Irish, Portuguese, English, and German descent. Through Mary, she is a half-niece of film director and producer Frank Joseph Perry, Jr As children, she and her siblings attended religious schools and camps, including Santa Barbara Christian School for their elementary years. Her parents often traveled from town to town with their ministry, eventually settling in Santa Barbara by 1995. For her 13th birthday, she got her first guitar and began writing songs. The family lived in poverty and “barely got by” while she was growing up, she would publicly play her guitar and sing songs to make money during her early teenage years.
She was also incorporated into her parents’ ministry and sang in churches between the ages of nine and 16. She grew up listening primarily to gospel music, as her parents discouraged her, David, and Angela from listening to too much “secular music”. As a child, some of the only secular artists she was allowed to listen to were Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, as well as the music of Édith Piaf due to her mother being able to speak French. According to Perry, there was a strange “hall pass” with their music, due to her parents’ belief that it was less harmful than most secular music. During her early teens, Perry would rely on her friends to sneak in CDs to listen to and would watch MTV at their houses without her parents’ knowledge, which led to her discovery of most popular music.
Perry learned how to dance in a recreation building in Santa Barbara. She was taught by seasoned dancers and began with swing, Lindy Hop, and jitterbug. Perry initially started singing because she was in the middle of a phase where she was “copycatting” her sister Angela. Growing up, she often took cassette tapes Angela practiced with and rehearsed the songs and performed them in front of their parents. They suggested she take vocal coaching. She took the opportunity and began taking lessons at the age of nine and continued until she was 16.
1999–2006: Katy Hudson and The Matrix
At 15, Perry, singing in church, attracted the attention of rock veterans from Nashville, Tennessee, who brought her there to polish her writing skills. In December 1999, she took her GED after her first semester of her freshman year at Dos Pueblos High School and decided to leave school in the pursuit of a career in music. Perry briefly studied Italian opera at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In Nashville, she started recording demos and was taught by country music veterans how to craft songs and play guitar. Perry signed to the Christian music label Red Hill Records. She recorded and released her debut album, titled Katy Hudson, on February 8, 2001. Two singles were released from the album; “Trust in Me” in February 2001, and “Search Me” in June 2001. She supported this album with The Strangely Normal Tour, opening for Phil Joel, LaRue, Luna Halo, Earthsuit, and V*Enna. The album was commercially unsuccessful and only sold an estimated 200 copies. The label ceased operations in December 2001.
At the age of 17, Perry left her home for Los Angeles, California in the hopes of pursuing a music career, before signing a record deal with Island Records. Having grown up listening to mostly gospel music, she had few references when she began recording songs. Asked by a producer with whom she would like to collaborate, Perry had no idea. In September 2002, she went with her mother to a hotel. Inside, she turned on VH1 and first heard about producer Glen Ballard when watching him talking about Alanis Morissette that night, prompting her interest in working with Ballard. He produced Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, which had a “huge influence” on her. She expressed interest in working with Ballard to her initial collaborator, who arranged a meeting for her with Ballard in Los Angeles. Perry presented one of her songs to Ballard, who then helped develop her songwriting over the next few years. In 2003, she briefly performed as “Katheryn Perry” to avoid confusion with actress Kate Hudson before adopting the stage name “Katy Perry”. Perry was subsequently dropped by The Island Def Jam Music Group, and signed to Columbia Records in 2004. The same year, Perry provided backing vocals on Mick Jagger’s song “Old Habits Die Hard”, which won the 2005 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
However, according to Perry, the label at Columbia Records was not amenable with her vision and did not give her full creative control. Instead, one of Columbia’s ideas was to pair her with the record production team The Matrix, who was working on an album, to serve as its female vocalist. Eighty percent completed, however, Columbia decided not to finish it. The album ended up being shelved. Her burgeoning music career led to her being named “The Next Big Thing” in October 2004 by Blender magazine.] A solo album she had worked on with Ballard was scheduled for release on August 18, 2005 but was cancelled and Perry was subsequently dropped from Columbia Records Some of her collaborations with Ballard, such as “Box”, “Diamonds”, and “Long Shot”, were posted on her official MySpace page. “Simple”, one of the songs she recorded with Ballard, was released on the soundtrack to the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Kelly Clarkson later used “Long Shot” (which Perry wrote with then-boyfriend Matt Thiessen and Ballard) for her March 2009 album All I Ever Wanted. While waiting to find another label, she worked in an independent A&R company called Taxi Music. In early 2006, she sang backing vocals on P.O.D.’s single “Goodbye for Now” and was featured in the music video. Late that November, she played the love interest of her then-boyfriend Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travie McCoy in the band’s music video for “Cupid’s Chokehold”
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