Katy Perry is the new Rihanna. Like "Umbrella" last year, "I Kissed a Girl" has become the anthem of summer 2008. You can't turn on the radio without hearing it (not that we're complaining)! Then again, she's also reminiscent of Madonna, thanks to all the controversy her uninhibited lyrics have created. But after chatting with Katy, we've decided that there's no use trying to pigeonhole this pop rocker -- to borrow a phrase from her ultimate same-sex star smooch, she's just being Katy!
Did you know "I Kissed a Girl" would be so huge when you wrote it?
When I wrote "I Kissed a Girl," I knew that it was gonna make a splash, but I didn't know that it was going to be such a huge cannon ball. So I'm happy that it did. I'm excited that it did.
A lot of people don't know that you released a gospel album early in your career. What changed your sound?
There was no like overnight switch. It's just one of those things where everybody grows up from 15 to 23. I'm very happy to be where I came from and love my family and my parents, [but] I live on my own, and I make choices for myself, and I'm an adult, and I feel like I see the world everyday in a bigger picture. I just started singing about my life and whatever went on in it. I've never been a very censored girl -- even when I was a kid, I was always saying what I felt, and I think that's just grown even more so [over time].
What kept you motivated all those years?
I'm a very competitive person in general, so I'm never into giving up, even in the face of everyone telling you "no." I would look in the music industry and see a void there for a movement for female artists that were unapologetic, that had something to say -- that were a bit rock 'n' roll, a bit pop. It wasn't contrived rock 'n' roll where I just put on a studded belt and I think I'm rock 'n' roll. That's bull. It was, like, true. It was like Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper -- all those girls, and then there wasn't any more of those. I mean, there was like Shirley Manson, Alanis Morissette, and The Cranberries, but that was in the '90s. Now in the 2000s, there are girls like Hayley from Paramore, and hopefully I can be a part of that group of girls that brings a little bit of the rock.
Which song on the album represents you the best?
I think "Thinking of You" is probably the best representation of me because I wrote it by myself. It's a song that I think resonates in a lot of people's personal lives and sometimes in my personal life, too. It was a song I wrote being in a relationship and having to move on, not really necessarily wanting to move on in that relationship, but knowing I had to and then finding myself with other people and hanging out with them and feeling a really guilty feeling of cheating or something. It's one of those songs where it sounds great as a big ballad on the record, but I really almost prefer playing it on my acoustic guitar, just me on my acoustic guitar. I think it has a big effect like that.
Your album is One of the Boys. Are you a tomboy?
Total tomboy! I mean, I'm on Warped Tour right now, and I don't know a whole lot of other girls that could survive it as far as being performing. I feel this necessary thing to put on a fantastic live show and give back to the kids that have showed up to my show, and there's usually a scream-o or a hardcore band on right before me, so I have to keep the attention of these kids. And in order to do so, I've gained a couple of bruises all over my legs from jumping around or landing on something or not landing right when I'm trying to do a jump off of a monitor or the drum kit.
Who have you been hanging out with?
Well, my boyfriend's on tour, so I'm hanging out with him a lot. I hang out with a lot of the Cobra Starship guys -- Victoria Asher is really cool. There's Angelo -- he is an amazing, amazing trumpet player.
What do you do during off-time?
I go out to the BBQs sometimes when I don't have an early call time in the morning. Last night was a mustache party, and I drew mustaches all over my hands -- four different mustaches, one for every finger. I would have gone all out and like gone and bought fake hair and blah de blah, but I didn't have time yesterday until the last minute when we heard it was a mustache party. I really wanted to write mustaches all over me in Sharpie on like my actual face, but I was fearful that the next day that it wouldn't rub off.
That would be interesting to go on stage like that.
Yeah, people wouldn't know, so they'd be like, "What?!"
Being on Warped with Travis must be like a rock 'n' roll honeymoon!
That's the best way anyone's actually ever put it.
Did you meet when you did GCH's "Cupid's Chokehold" video?
I knew him before that. We were working with the same producer in NYC. We didn't pay each other much attention because we were very focused on getting the songs done, but at the end of my trip -- it was just when I first started going to New York and not really knowing anybody -- I was like, "Please God, somebody take me out." So I made him take me out. All of his friends are there, and we ended up dancing and making out on the dance floor. And then we kept in contact for a long time. He came to LA a lot, and I would have to go to NYC. Until this past year where we just got closer because of things in our lives and we knew we were gonna be on tour and we were like, "Let's be boyfriend and girlfriend."
Who would you most like to do a duet with?
Little Richard. I met him one time, and he had the most amazing outfit on. It was insanity.
What's been the most surreal part of fame?
Seeing girls my age freak out or watching fans come up to signings and cry.
What rock stars did you meet before you were famous?
I met Gwen Stefani. I met John Mayer before I knew him. I met a few people. Meeting Gwen Stefani when I was about 17 was so cool. She was just so sweet and nice and humble and had a beautiful energy to her.
Did you freak out when you met celebs when you were younger?
I'd get nervous. I don't think I ever cried. I was always knew exactly what I wanted to tell them and [would] say something to them.
Who would you be stoked to meet now?
I really wanna have a sit-down dinner with Madonna. I'm waiting for that open invitation, which hopefully will happen one day. I wanna ask her how she's made it through all of this and still continues. It's probably a lot of centering, diet and focus, and self-control, but if she would just give me a little advice… I really wanna pick her brain! I went to a John Mayer concert last night, and he gave me some advice. He came over between sets and was telling me about his favorite songs on the record. He loves "Waking Up in Vegas."
What was his advice?
To put "Waking Up in Vegas" out as a single.
What was your reaction when Madonna said she loves "Ur So Gay"?
It was insane! I freaked out. My eyes swelled up with fluid, with tears, but I didn't cry. I was just very excited.
Like Madonna, you say what you think, and consequently, you've caught some controversy with your success. How do you deal with haters?
I let them sip on their haterade. I don't really deal with them because they're inevitable. The Internet is such a widespread place, and there's the disease of what I like to call "anonymous hating" -- it's like ghost haters, people that would never say anything to your face, but they know they're not gonna be caught, so they just say what they feel without any repercussions, when really words are all the same, whether they're written or said to someone's face. Someone's gonna see them, it has an effect. Everybody has an opinion, and I welcome everybody's opinion. I'm not necessarily here to win like a popularity contest -- I'm just here to play music and hopefully reinstate faith in female pop artists.
Pon de Replay does not approve