Katy Perry Interview: The Girl Next Door is All Grown UpPosted July 31st, 2010 At 4:34 pm By MTV ASIA
Interview and Text: Madeleine Chong
For more photos, check out the photo gallery here!
Less cute and more sexy. According to Katy Perry, that’s what upcoming album “Teenage Dream” (due for release on August 30) will sound like compared to her 2008 smash debut, “One of the Boys”.
But that doesn’t mean she’s ditching all things whimsical though. In her “California Gurls” music video, Katy takes a romp through a psychedelic landscape filled with all manner of sugary confections, and Katy Kats will even be treated to a candy-floss scented album cover for “Teenage Dream”. If anything, the doe-eyed pop princess is all about fun, and that means making an entrance on a giant banana split (we can’t wait to see this!) for her performance at MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2010 tonight.
In Malaysia for the first time, Katy was naturally excited, and the perky singer’s personality sparkled as much as the glittery sequined silver and black dress she had on during our interview. We find out more about Katy’s teenage crushes, what she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing, and what it means to remain true to yourself even in the entertainment industry.
What can fans expect from your performance at MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2010?
I just want to bring a really great show to Malaysia. I’ve never been here before and I know that people have been waiting. I wanted to bring a heightened version of what I did up on the Hello Katy tour. And also now that I’m on the second record, I wanted to infuse some new songs and get the (audience) reaction on it.
It’s still very fruity but of course, and colorful, and it’s going to be amazing. I want to make a wonderful, weird entrance, and I wanted to be the cherry on top of a giant banana split. I think it’s cute and somewhat of a hidden innuendo. I just do big, visual, fun things. With “One of the Boys,” it was more fruit themed, and with “Teenage Dream,” it’s more candy-themed, so it’s sort of infusing both the ideas together.
How different will new album “Teenage Dream” be compared to “One of the Boys”?
“Teenage Dream” is a perfect snapshot into who I am in general – as a young woman, with my perspectives, convictions, anthems and mottos. And it’s kinda like “One Of The Boys”. Maybe it’s less cute and more sexy. It’s full of different dimensions. It has songs like “California Gurls” that are really fun and obvious and then there are songs like “Firework” that would hopefully motivate you and make you want to move and there are songs like “Not Like The Movies,” which is a love song. If you want to know about me, it’s definitely the CD to get.
I understand that your favorite tracks from Teenage Dream are “Firework” and “Peacock”. Can you tell us a little more about why they are so close to your heart?
“Firework” is probably my favorite song on the record because it really shows who I am now and the message I want to send to people in a way and hopefully it’s an encouraging one. And to me, I’ve always been on the lookout for a song to really uplift me but wasn’t so cheesy. “Firework” is like an anthem, and also it talks about making people go “aah” and I wanna make people go “aah”.
But “Peacock” is a whole other side to my personality, that’s like more messed up, silly, sarcastic, and full of irony. I’m really such a heavy lyricist in all my music, like I really try and give words a different dimension and make them double entendres and hidden innuendos.
How did the ‘candyland’ theme on the “California Gurls” music video come about?
I had the ‘candyland’ theme idea last year when I was on my Hello Katy tour. I was thinking of what to do next and what would be really fun. I like to possibly do a tour that’s sound, vision, smell, taste and touch so that it invokes all the senses. I basically told them I wanted a ‘candyland’ reference and they made it happen. It’s amazing. I love that music video for “California Gurls.” It’s my favorite one that I got to make! I was actually on a cotton candy cloud and I was eating real cotton candy and I was like, “That’s not work. That’s play!”
What was it like working with Snoop Dogg on “California Gurls”?
The collaboration with Snoop Dogg came about pretty naturally. I had this idea to write a song about California girls, being one myself. And also, I was hearing about that Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ song “Empire State of Mind” so much in California and I was jealous! “What about California? What about the West Coast? What about the Beach Boys? Or Tupac?” So I thought that it would be time for a West Coast anthem with my twist. I went into the studio, brought the idea and collaborated with some songwriters. And I started to insert obvious Snoop Dogg references like “sipping gin and juice” and more obvious ones like “Snoop Doggy Dogg on the stereo.” And I was like, “If Snoop Dogg was on a song about the West Coast, it would be truly legit!” So I kind of lured him with all those little odes to Snoop Dogg already in the “California Gurls” lyrics. He was so cool! He’s like, chill.
We’ve read in articles that Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) really enjoyed “California Gurls”. How do you feel about that since you’re a huge fan of the Beach Boys?
To be on Brian Wilson’s radar is probably like as big as to be on Queen’s radar. I just love them. I came out to “California Girls” (the Beach Boys’ 60s hit) on my Hello Katy tour and that might have been somewhat of an influence for why I wrote “California Gurls” as well.
On the subject of Teenage dream, who was your teenage dream/crush?
My teenage dream would have to be Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Devon Sawa, he was like a really cute actor, and maybe Zach Morris from “Saved By The Bell” (played by actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar). But I really idolize and still do idolize Gwen Stefani – she’s my be all and end all.
How does it feel to be voicing Smurfette for the upcoming movie “The Smurfs”?
We’ve done a couple of takes so far on the voiceovers for the animation. It’s kind of natural and it’s like an extension of me. A lot of the days I feel like a cartoon, with my larger than life personality and some of the costumes that I choose on stage. I feel a little like a cartoon, whether it’s Snow White or Betty Boop.
Smurfette was really just so fun to do! It’s something that I really wanted to do and be a part of. I love watching those movies, whether it’s “Up” or “Toy Story” and feeling good inside but also feeling really entertained or laughing out loud. But I didn’t watch Smurfs growing up though. So it was really interesting going in there to do vocals for someone that you don’t really know. But I caught up on all the stuff, of course.
When it comes to fashion, you’re clearly game for all sorts of eye-catching outfits, from the carousel dress and Hello Kitty corset to fruit accessories. Is there anything you would not be caught dead in though?
I wouldn’t be caught dead in something that someone made me wear. Sometimes I’ll go onto a photoshoot and they’ll say you’ll have to wear this because you know, they’re paying us to wear it, and I’m like no, I’m not doing this. No one can pay me so much money to wear something. Also, when they say you have to wear this because it’s a big flashy designer and I’m like, “It doesn’t fit me, it doesn’t look right, it doesn’t really epitomize who I am or highlight my character and my personality,” [I wouldn't do it].
If anybody pushes things on me, I’m more likely to go in the opposite direction. I sometimes walk into a shoot and they go, “Oh, you’re going to wear nothing, and I’m like, “Nah, get the burqa out, I’m wearing the burqa today.” I just like to have my own kind of direction when it comes to things I wear.
Speaking of direction, you grew up with Christian parents who also happened to be pastors. Has your upbringing influenced your perception of what’s acceptable or taboo in the entertainment industry?
I guess where I come from is still inside of me and nipping at my heels everyday. There’s a song on my new record which talks about my convictions – it’s a song called “Who Am I Living For”. It’s interesting along the road in the path of life, I meet a lot of different people who come from so many different places and they really kind of influence and inspire who I am.
I definitely continue to want to know the answers and have my own personal pilgrimage, so in a way it does affect what I do musically and who I am as an entertainer but there’s still a lot of me in that as well. I think probably one of the things that is most important in life is not collecting all this stuff or trying to be as famous as possible but to worry about your soul and your spirit and what’s happening next.
All things sweet and all things fruity await you tonight for Katy Perry’s performance at MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2010!