Perry was born in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California, United States. The middle child of two pastors, she grew up listening to gospel music and singing in church. She graduated from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California in 2003 and immediately moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18.After Steve Thomas and Jennifer Knapp signed Perry to their label Red Hill Records, she released her first CD Katy Hudson in 2001, a Christian gospel album.In her teenage years, Perry found a Queen album with her friend, and later said, "From then on, they have been my biggest influence".Also among her musical influences are Alanis Morissette,Heart, and Joni Mitchell, as well as the Incubus album Morning View.She changed her surname to Perry because "Katy Hudson" was too close to Kate Hudson. Perry is her mother's maiden name. Perry's biggest influences are pop rockers Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, and Shirley Manson, who, Perry says, "came out with a vengeance".
In 2004, Perry worked for the record production team The Matrix, who had previously worked with Avril Lavigne, Liz Phair, Hilary Duff, Skye Sweetnam, Korn and Britney Spears, among others. Perry also began working on a debut mainstream album, writing with Glen Ballard, which was due for release in 2005; some of the collaborations included "Box", "Diamonds" and "Long Shot," which were released on Perry's official MySpace page. Her burgeoning music career led to her being named "The Next Big Thing" in October 2004 in Blender Magazine, where Perry stated she wasn't "a typical Christian", mentioning that she had done "lots of bad things" during her adolescence. One of the tracks she recorded with Ballard, "Simple", was released on the soundtrack of the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. In 2006, Perry appeared on P.O.D.'s single, "Goodbye for Now". She has openly talked about her struggles within the music industry, such as being dropped from record labels for much of her early career. Her songs eventually captured the attention of Virgin Records CEO Jason Flom, who was the head of Capitol Music Group, and she signed to Capitol Music in early-2007. Perry is now regularly heard on MTV, VH1, as well as commercials. She most recently appeared on the MTV VMA Awards singing Madonna's hit single, "Like a Virgin".
One of the Boys (2008-present)
Main article: One of the Boys (Katy Perry album)
After signing to Capitol Records, Perry began recording for her official mainstream debut album, released in 2008, working with Cathy Dennis, Greg Wells, Dr. Luke, Butch Walker, Max Martin, Dave Stewart, and Ted Bruner. The full-length album titled One of the Boys was released in the USA on June 17, 2008. Perry was an act in the 2008 Vans Warped Tour to promote the album.
Katy Perry on her 2008 Vans Warped TourThe album was preceded by a digital EP in late 2007, entitled "Ur So Gay", produced by and co-written with Greg Wells (OneRepublic, Mika). A video for the song premiered in early 2008, and brought Perry to the attention of Madonna, who mentioned her on KISS FM and KRQ's JohnJay & Rich morning show in Arizona, stating that "Ur So Gay" was her "favorite song right now,"as well as another mention on Ryan Seacrest's Morning Show. "Ur So Gay" has been criticized for alleged homophobia.
On April 29, 2008, her first official single from One of the Boys, "I Kissed a Girl", debuted on the iTunes Store. The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at #76, climbing to #1 as of June 25, 2008. It has peaked on iTunes Top 100 at #1, as of June 3, 2008. The music video for "I Kissed a Girl" was released on May 21, 2008 on MySpace. An essay in Slant Magazine argues that the song "isn't problematic because it promotes homosexuality, but because its appropriation of the gay identity exists for the sole purpose of garnering attention—both from Perry's boyfriend and her audience."
In addition, she has had songs from the album featured on MTV's series The Hills ("Self Inflicted", "Waking Up in Vegas" and "Thinking of You"), on Oxygen Network's reality series Fight Girls, and on the 2008 film Baby Mama ("Fingerprints").
As an actress, she made a cameo appearance on Carbon Leaf's video "Learn to Fly" and on Gym Class Heroes' video "Cupid's Chokehold", playing the eventual love interest for her real-life boyfriend, lead singer Travis McCoy. On March 10, 2008, she appeared as herself on the ABC Family television series Wildfire, on the episode "Life's Too Short". She has appeared in print advertisements for Too Faced Cosmetics' Spring 2007 line. On June 12, 2008, Perry appeared as herself on the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless, who poses for the cover of the fictional magazine Restless Style; that same day she appeared on MTV's Total Request Live.
Perry released the second single "Hot N Cold" on September 9, 2008. This became Katy's second top 5 hit in the USA, also reaching number 7 in the UK a month before its physical release.
Perry stated that the success of British singer-songwriters Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen more female artists have been appearing on the charts. She also said that Winehouse and Allen "have introduced America to great music".
Her two songs, "Ur So Gay" and "I Kissed a Girl", have been cited as being homophobic as well as misandric by columnists, activists, and commentators including Glenn Sacks, and gay periodicals like the Washington Blade.
MSNBC contributor Tony Sclafani wrote "The litmus test of hypocrisy here is that if you substituted a different minority in Perry’s tunes, they’d never get airplay. 'I Kissed a Black Guy' or 'Ur So Korean' would not be Top 40. For that matter, a song called 'I Kissed a Boy,' sung by a male, would probably die on the vine".
Others, such as Chicago Sun-Times columnist Dr. Laura Berman, find the lyrics positive, arguing that "the fact that this song [I Kissed a Girl] is sparking so much interest" suggests that our society is beginning to accept that there isn't always one box, gay or straight, for people to check".
Perry responded to the controversy about "Gay" with "It’s not a negative connotation. It’s not 'you're so gay', like 'you're so lame', but the fact of the matter is that this boy should’ve been gay. I totally understand how it could be misconstrued or whatever... I wasn’t stereotyping anyone in particular, I was talking about ex-boyfriends".
Anti-knife campaigners blasted popstar Katy for posing with a flick-knife during a photoshoot. After a publicity photo of her clasping the flick-knife emerged in June 2008. Anti-knife campaigners were furious and felt that Katy was glamourising knives.Sources on the shoot said: 'The knife picture was done to give Katy more of a sexy harder edge'.