It has been a good seven years since Katy Perry last performed on Indian shores at the Indian Premier League in Chennai. Since then the singer has always wanted to make it to India, until plans to bring her materialised when the OnePus Music Festival took shape.
Once Perry tweeted about her visit and word got round that the ‘Swish Swish’ (from her album Witness) singer was heading to Mumbai for her first live performance on November 16 at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, her fan base that comprises more of the fairer sex, (that’s why they’re known as KrazyCats, as Perry loves to call them) went into a tizzy.
The California born pop icon rose to prominence by delivering chart topping songs like I Kissed a Girl’ and California Gurls that got lapped up by pre-pubescent girls looking for something to relate to.
But the road to fame wasn’t easy. Born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson to two pastors in a religious household in California, young Katy was a church singer during her childhood days.
Popular or ‘pop’ music was never played in the Hudson household that Perry shared with an older brother and a younger sister. Gospel music was instead the norm in the house. While in her teens, Katy heard the rock sound of Queen and her world was forever changed.
She was also taken up with the life and music of Canadian rocker Alanis Morissette’s most famous album Jagged Little Pill and its progressive rock riffs. This paved the way for her to drop mild sounding Gospel for a more up-tempo and heavy aggressive rock.
Desperate to make a career in singing, Katy dropped her studies and concentrated on developing her music skills. To make her family happy she released her first self-titled Christian album in 2001 under the name ‘Katy Hudson’. With time she later changed her surname to Perry, her mother's maiden name because ‘Katy Hudson’ was too close to film actress Kate Hudson.
At the age of 17, Perry left home for Los Angeles where she worked with Glen Ballard on an album that never saw the light of day, until she earned a petite break with her debut single UR So Gay which generated a small buzz with its roguish lyrics and an intelligent music video.
After getting dropped by record labels and finally signing onto Capitol records, she released her second album One of the Boys which spurned the rock tinged I Kissed a Girl which was when everyone took notice of her.
One of the high points of Perry’s music is her ability to write every song on her album, even though a few songs may sound completely nonsensical. On her third album Teenage Dream, on songs like E.T.
she compares her lover to a space alien, while the ridiculous slang in Peacock would be X-rated material giving her a definite worst song of the year award. Perry snarls “Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock? / don’t be a chicken, boy.”
But more lyrically satisfying would be The One That Got Away where Perry captures the emotions of teenage idealism with a simple hook “…In another life/I would make you stay/so I don’t have to say/you’re the one that got away.”
From the first note of Perry’s vocals, you can make out that she possesses two entirely different singing voices, as she moves from a high pitched level to a more powerful, deeper tone on the more serious tracks.
The repetitious Firework is synth-y house beat driven going…’ boom boom boom’, that shows Perry’s vocal skills in its prime. Her wailing on Who Am I Living For? showcases her strong vocal range, while her softness arrives timely on the ballad Not like the Movies.
Perry has toured all over the world and her live performances are simply breathtaking. Perry’s live set has special effects, visuals and dozens of dancers sprayed all over the stage and add to that a power packed performance from her with several costume changes.
Looking forward to 2020 opening up a collection of new work from the gifted singer.
Perry is a family person and knows how to balance her professional and personal life with those around her. At a press conference in Mumbai ahead of her concert, the singer dressed in a striking yellow dotted pink polka dotted skirt with pink furry high heels, displayed another side of her personality with her quick wit, hitting off funky one liner answers.
When questioned on her secret to happiness, Perry stated that it’s a constant journey she lives on. “It’s not a destination, but for me what I’ve noticed is that it’s a balanced way to live.
It’s not just something to prove in the music, its having your family, its having your loved ones, your fiancé (she’s dating Orlando Bloom in case you didn’t know), it’s the whole of all of that, its balance, its stillness, its God, its humility, its gratefulness, like if you can start your day out every day with gratitude as the first word that pops into your head, I know you will be a happier person.
I know that works as that’s what I’ve been practicing for the last couple of years, and it definitely has changed my mind set. Yes I can be difficult at times, because I demand a lot, but I try and always centre myself every single day and the first thing I think and the last thing I think before I go to bed”.
Perry, 35, is known for her wild fashion style. Many consider her as a sex symbol, while GQ magazine once dubbed her as a ‘full-on male fantasy’. Perry brings on her personality into what she feels, be it bright colours to even food related themes.
She also puts her idea of fashion into her music videos. For example in the adventurous Roar (from her album ‘Prism’) where Perry is stranded in the jungle, her Tarzan and Jane style of dressing reeks of class, her stunning headband of flowers go well as she battles animals and the elements of the jungle to become Queen of the Jungle.
Dark Horse (feat Juicy J) the ancient Egypt themed music video finds Perry starring as Katy Pätra, a take-off on Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. Besides the stunning set and special effects, it was nevertheless Perry’s multiple outfits that was worthy of recognition, from blue nails, matching eye shadow, hieroglyphic blue designs spray painted on her silvery white wig, serpentine anklets to the long sleeved bodice that cascades into a transparent skirt, it was a video worthy of a watch, packaged with a great song.