Singer, songwriter, and musician. Born Katheryn Hudson on October 25, 1984, in Santa Barbara, California. Known for her over-the-top fashions, quirky stage props, and catchy songs, Katy Perry has become a pop music sensation.
Fans might be surprised to learn that the singer who writes about sexual exploration in "I Kissed a Girl" grew up in a very conservative family. Both of her parents are pastors, and they refused to let her listen to any rock or popular music. "The only things I was allowed to listen to were the Sister Act 1 and 2 soundtracks," Perry told Entertainment Weekly. She and her two siblings were also not permitted to watch such cable channels as MTV and VH1.
Perry started taking singing lessons around the age of 9 and learned to play guitar when she was 13. Around this time, she began rebelling against her strict upbringing by piercing her own nose. She soon became interested in pursuing a career in music. With her mother, Perry made several trips to Nashville to record a gospel album, Katy Hudson, which was released in 2001. "It reached literally maybe 100 people, and then the label went bankrupt," Perry explained to Entertainment Weekly.
Early Musical Influences
As a teenager, Perry was exposed to other musical influences. One friend introduced her to the music of Queen, which remains one of her favorite groups. "I'm very inspired by Freddie Mercury and how flamboyant and theatrical he was," she told fashion magazine WWD. In high school, she strove to be her own person, choosing not to limit herself to one social group. "I was a hop-around. I hung out with the rockabilly crew, the guys who were trying to be rappers, the funny kids," she told Seventeen magazine.
Focused on her music, Perry got her GED and moved to Los Angeles to work with producer and songwriter Glen Ballard, who had worked with such artists as Christina Aguilera and Alanis Morissette. She was only 17 years old at time, and being on her own proved tough. "It was five years of living in L.A. with no money, writing bad checks, selling my clothes to make rent, [and] borrowing money," she told Seventeen magazine. Perry also experienced a string of disappointments before getting her big break. She and Ballard were unable to find a record company willing to take them on, and her 2004 collaboration with music producers-turned-performers The Matrix was scrapped shortly before the project was to be released. After having three record deals fall apart, Perry finally signed with Capitol in 2007.