It was 2012 when India saw American singer-songwriter Katy Perry performing for the first time. She sang hit tracks like Firework and California Gurls from her album Teenage Dream at the opening ceremony of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at YMCA Ground, Chennai.
Seven years later, the pop sensation is back in India for the much-awaited OnePlus Music Festival and this time, she plans to roam around on the streets of Mumbai, soaking in some Indian culture and tradition.
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“I have been to quite a few places in India – I went to Chennai seven years ago for the IPL, and I had some fun in Rajasthan at one point of my life (Perry married Russell Brand, now ex-husband in a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony in Rajasthan), but I’ve always wanted to come to Mumbai. I have heard it is the most fun city and that it is full of art, culture and entertainment,” she said.
The pop phenom went on to add that she’s not someone who would call for room service and chill inside a hotel.
“I am a seeker. I love people, culture, traditions… you are going to catch me in the streets. And, if anyone has any tips, I will take it,” said the 35-year-old singer, also divulging that she has a special show lined up for her first concert in India. When asked if her popular track Roar, which features in the festival promo video, is going to be there, she teases us with a ‘Maybe... maybe not’.
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Although she reached India in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, and had a press conference scheduled for noon, Katy looked anything but weary. Dressed in a pink dress with yellow polka dots, paired with faux-fur detailed pink heels and chunky earrings, she spoke in a very excited tone. When asked about her attire, she joked, “The truth is, if I put on a high ponytail, it adds 10 hours of sleep on my face. It is my mirage of happiness.” This was immediately credited to the happiness of being in a city that she had been waiting to come to, for a long time. When pressed for details on her visit, she said, “I am going to a really fun party, I am going to meet some people from Bollywood. I am going to listen to some incredible bands. Last time, I was here for the IPL, and couldn’t do much, but this time, it is all about immersing myself.”
Going with the flow
Perry, who started her career as a Christian rock artiste, released her first album in 2001. Titled Katy Hudson, it featured gospel songs on faith and childhood, but receive much attention. The singer later switched to pop music and rose to fame with her second album, One of the Boys, featuring earworms like I Kissed a Girl. But, it was her third album, Teenage Dream that became her first record to top the US Billboard 200 back in 2010. With multi-platinum singles like California Gurls, Teenage Dream, Firework, Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) and E.T., the sophomore release became the second album by an artiste to produce five number-one songs in the US. The first was King of Pop, Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking album, Bad.
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The subsequent years saw her releasing albums like Prism (2013) featuring Roar and Dark Horse, and Witness (2017) which contained several viral hits including Chained To The Rhythm. However, in recent times, she stuck to releasing singles – like Never Really Over, Small Talk and Harleys In Hawaii – rather than albums.
“As music is changing, and we are digesting it in a different way, it is more fun to put out a song and a video every few months – and selfishly, that is what artistes love. They don’t necessarily want their songs to get lost in an album. Only superfans will know the whole album, and not everyone else. And, since streaming is such a powerful tool and in a different format than when I started in 2008, we are slowly adapting and going with the flow. Just putting things out like appetisers – that’s how people are ingesting music these days. I am having fun because it gives me a chance to highlight every single song,” admitted Katy, who has amassed over a dozen Grammy nominations, four Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, a Brit Award and a Juno Award in her journey so far.
When asked if she has slowed down at all, Katy explained how her life has been a whirlwind ever since she rose to fame, and how she is always trying to draw a balance between her work and personal life. “It was like, I was holding on to dear life and constantly swinging left and right,” she said, adding, “For me, after doing 11-12 years of back-to-back music, four records and four world tours, I definitely had to strike a work-life balance. I have outdone some of my dreams. I am dreaming up new dreams and enjoying living, after making a living. I don’t want to always be just stressing out and hitting the marker, to then look back and go, ‘Where’s my life?’” Perry, who got engaged earlier this year, added that she wants to spend time with her family and fiancé.
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