By Lynn Peithman Stock
Not even 30, Katy Perry has achieved a lifetime of experiences: a marriage, a divorce, best-selling albums, 11 Grammy nominations, 2012 Billboard’s Woman of the Year, fashion trendsetter, perfome creator, movie roles (albeit animated ones), 11 million albums and 81 million singles worldwide, and a 180-degree turn from her upbringing.
Not bad for a mega pop star who wasn’t allowed to listen to “secular” music growing up, and had to sneak CDs and watch MTV while visiting friends, all without her parents’ knowledge. Raised Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, Perry’s parents are Pentecostal pastors who raised their three children in a protective environment in Santa Barbara, Calif. Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday were the only non-gospel music she could listen to.
Then there’s that little aside of her father calling her “devil child” during a sermon last spring, according to the United Kingdom’s The Sun. Most of us live a full life and never get that kind of condemnation from our parents.
“They ask how I can preach if I produce a girl who sang about kissing another girl?” her father said according to The Sun.
While her dad and mom may not be thrilled with some of Katy’s songs — what conservative Christian would be with lyrics like “Let’s go all the way tonight, no regrets, just love. … Let you put your hands on me in my skin tight jeans, be a teenage dream tonight” — Katy has moved on and broadened her horizons.
“I was raised with certain ideas … about what the Bible does say,” she said during a teleconference with journalists. “But I definitely am now, as an adult, in a whole new world, in a world I didn’t even know existed.”
In spite of her parents’ occasional discomfort with the twist Katy has taken, she still feels their love. “My family is definitely very supportive. I have, I guess, pushed their envelope from the day I was born. I was always the kid at the dinner table who, if there was a line you shouldn’t cross, I took a big leap over it. That’s always been me. There’s never really been, like, an edit button on my keyboard of life. I guess my parents weren’t ever so shocked when I was singing very frank or honest, to me honest, songs.”
The artist has branched into the role of perfume maker, creating her Killer Queen line of fragrance. Freddie Mercury of Queen inspired her for the endeavor.
Katy kicks off a grueling seven-month world tour in May in Ireland, stopping by the BB&T Center on July 2, and finishing in Australia in December. She last performed at the BB&T Center in June 2011. Capital Cities will be the opening act. The Prismatic Tour promotes her latest album, “Prism,” her sixth, if you count her 2008 “Katy Hudson” gospel debut (she first performed professionally as Katy Hudson).
She moved on to pop music and found success with 2010’s “Teenage Dream.” She is the only female artist to have five No. 1 singles from one album on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (“California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “E.T.” and “Last Friday Night”).
“Teenage Dream” debuted at No. 1 in eight countries and spent more than two years on Billboard’s Top 200 album sales chart. The special edition, “Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection,” added “Part of Me” and “Wide Awake” to Katy’s list of nine Top 40 chart-toppers (dating back to her multi-platinum debut album, 2008’s One of the Boys, which generated four hit singles: “I Kissed A Girl,” “Hot N Cold” and “Thinking of You”).
The Prismatic World Tour is Katy’s first tour since 2011’s sold-out California Dreams Tour, which was the subject of 2012’s 3D feature film, “Katy Perry: Part Of Me,” the fifth biggest music documentary of all time.
Her latest album, “Prism,” shows a more mature and even bit darker side than the sunny, bouncy tunes she’s released in the past. “Perry is still championing optimism with super-producers Max Martin, Lukasz ‘Dr. Luke’ Gottwald and Cirkut as her sonic guides — see her latest chart-topper, ‘Roar’ — but ‘Prism’ is also a firm and well-executed step toward adulthood,” according to a review on Billboard.com.
This singer/songwriter won’t be going away anytime soon.