Q

Katy Perry says she wrote many of her biggest hits 'in the worst place' of her life

Katy Perry’s songs have served as the soundtrack for happy moments for her fans, so it may come as a surprise that many of her hits, such as Firework and Roar, were born from what she calls 'dark times.'

Pop star is set to release new album later this summer

'Gratitude is probably the thing that saved my life,' Katy Perry told q host Tom Power. 'If I didn't find that, I would have wallowed in my own sadness and probably just jumped.' (Liza Voloshin)
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Katy Perry's latest single Daisies is an inspiring anthem about self-empowerment and keeping your dreams on track.

But the hit song takes on a whole new meaning during the pandemic, when so many people have had to change course, cancel plans and put their dreams on hold.

"What [Daisies] did in the pandemic is that it gave pause," the pop star said in an interview with q host Tom Power.

"It's almost like I'm in training. Now, I'm in dream training. And finally when I get back on the track, I'm not going to take things for granted again."

WATCH | Katy Perry's full interview with q host Tom Power:

With 13 Grammy nominations, billions of streams and millions of records sold, Perry's songs have served as the soundtrack for happy memories for fans around the world.

Many of her biggest hits, such as Firework and Roar, are about encouraging people to succeed — and Perry recognizes that she herself has become "synonymous with messages of hope." So, it may come as a surprise that she wrote these songs during a period of personal darkness.

"The truth of the matter is, when I'm writing those songs, I'm in the worst place in my life," she said. 

"It's like something comes over me and kind of writes the song. You know, like my soul is the ghostwriter. It says, 'All right, I'm going to take over because, obviously, you can't function anymore. You're too depressed, or you're too in your head. And I'm going to try and re-inspire you with a little nugget of hope through a message — through a song.'"

'It was so important for me to be broken so that I could find my wholeness in a whole different way and be more dimensional than just living my life like a thirsty pop star.- Katy Perry

Rather than being relentlessly optimistic, Perry said that hope is not something that always comes easily to people. She said trying to find the positive in the negative is a choice, and "everything is duality in life."

"My hope is that something bigger than me created me for a purpose and created me for a reason, and that I'm not disposable, and that every person that's been created has a purpose."

Gratitude 'saved my life'

When Perry looks back on the person she was 10 years ago, when she had just released her third studio album Teenage Dream, she said, "There was this beautiful ignorance is bliss."

It was a time when the entertainer was "riding on the high of a smile" from the validation and admiration of her fans — until she experienced a shift.

"My career was on this trajectory, always going up, up, up, up, up, up, up, and I had the smallest shift," said Perry. "It wasn't that huge maybe from an outside perspective, but for me, it was seismic. They say if a ship is one degree off from their navigation, they'll land on a different continent."

It was the first time Perry said she didn't feel the high she previously got from releasing new music.

WATCH | Perry's latest single Daisies:

"It was like a necessary brokenness," she said. "It was so important for me to be broken, so that I could find my wholeness in a whole different way and be more dimensional than just living my life like a thirsty pop star all the time."

For Perry, the turning point was finding gratitude for who she is and everything she has.

"Gratitude is probably the thing that saved my life, because if I didn't find that, I would have wallowed in my own sadness and probably just jumped," said Perry.

"I just wake up, and I say, 'Thank you, God, for today. I am grateful in every way.'"

Perry's forthcoming album is set to be released on Aug. 14.


Written by Vivian Rashotte. Produced by Vanessa Nigro.

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