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Katy Perry Biography and Origins

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born on October 25th, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California, Katy Perry was a Christian rock artist before she took the pop world by storm. Despite the controversial lyrics in songs like "Ur So Gay" and "I Kissed a Girl," Perry made it quickly to the top of the charts. But it was her Grammy-nominated second album "Teenage Dream" that generated several number-one singles, making her a pop culture staple on radio and television airwaves. In this video, takes a look at the musical origins of American pop star, Katy Perry.

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Gospel Beginnings

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson was born on October 25, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California. While growing up, she only listened to gospel music, and started singing at an early age in her parents’ church. In her teenage years, she was heard by music industry veterans who brought her to Nashville to record demos.


She released her debut under the name Katy Hudson in 2001. Because her label shut down the same year, the self-titled Christian rock album did not have a chance to gain any success. Taking the last name, Perry, the singer then worked with numerous producers but was dropped from several labels.

"Ur So Gay"

Building on previously recorded material, Perry finally went into the studio with new producers after signing with Capitol Music Group in 2007. Her debut promotional single, “Ur So Gay” was released that November. The song gained attention when Madonna mentioned it during a radio interview as well as when critics branded the lyrics as homophobic in nature.

Major Label Debut and "I Kissed a Girl"

Perry’s major label debut, One of the Boys, came out in June 2008. With a more pop rock feel, Perry’s sound had changed drastically from the gospel-rock of her first album. Garnering her two Grammy nominations, it spawned the top ten singles, “Waking Up in Vegas” and “Hot n Cold”. But it was the lead single, “I Kissed a Girl” that put Perry at the top of the charts in several countries, despite its controversial theme.

Touring and Collaborations

In early 2009, Perry embarked on her first headlining tour. She later performed a stripped-down set on the television series, “MTV Unplugged”, releasing a CD/DVD of the performance under the same name. She also collaborated with 3OH!3 on the remix to their song, “Starstrukk” and with Timbaland on his single, “If We Ever Meet Again”.

Sophomore Effort and Number One Singles

2010 was Perry’s busiest year yet. Her sophomore record, Teenage Dream, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and followed a pop vein similar to her previous album. The Grammy-nominated effort has since yielded multiple number one singles: the electro-pop “California Gurls,” the retro pop “Teenage Dream,” the anthemic, “Firework” and the ballad “E.T.”

"Sesame Street"

That same year, she sang a version of her hit single, “Hot n Cold” for the children’s television show, “Sesame Street”. The segment, which initially premiered online, received backlash from viewers for Perry’s revealing attire and thus did not air as scheduled.

Marriage and "The Smurfs"

Later in 2010, she launched her first fragrance, Purr and married actor Russell Brand. The following year, she went on her second concert tour and lent her voice to the character of Smurfette in the live action and CGI-animated film, “The Smurfs”.

Pop Star

Her ability to compose a catchy tune, along with her colorful and vintage fashion sense, have made Katy Perry a true original when it comes to the world of pop music.

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