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The Life and Career of Katy Perry

Katy Perry's career in music has taken her from one major accomplishment to the next - seeing her accomplish feats few other performers have come close to.

Her major hits in pop music serve as excellent examples of the genre overall both in style and feel as well as general popularity.

Although her success overtook her in a flash, she'd been a musician for quite some time with little fame to speak of. Her story actually found its start in gospel music when she was a child.


Katy's Musical Upbringing

Born in California as Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, Katy's childhood was one of rather staunch religious adherence under the watchful eyes of her parents, two born-again Christian pastors. Her parents reputedly allowed only gospel music in their household for the most part - forcing young Katy to delve into the genre. Up until she turned 11, her family also moved quite a bit as her parents established a number of churches in other areas. Eventually, they would return to the Santa Barbara area she was born in.

During her formative years, Katy took a marked interest in singing and was put in vocal classes at the age of 9. It was from this age until she turned 17 that she sang in church. Her song writing habits began at 13, though, when she was gifted a guitar. Set on a career in music, Katy completed her "General Educational Development" requirements at age 15 and made her way to the "Music Academy of the West" in Santa Barbara to study Italian Opera.


The Start of Katy's Career

Her stay at the Music Academy would be brief. Two Nashville natives took notice of her and whisked her away to their hometown to help her with her songwriting. One of these musicians was Jennifer Knapp, the folk-rock musician.

This period saw Katy recording demos and learning guitar before landing her first record deal with "Red Hill Records." In 2001, she released her first album entitled "Katy Hudson." The album was gospel and was pretty well received by critics at the time but sold very few copies. She toured with Christian Kiwi Rocker, Phil Joel and embarked on her own small tours as well.

At 17, after "Red Hill" had shut down, Katy moved to Los Angeles.


Katy's Big Break

While performing in L.A., Katy adopted her stage name "Katy Perry" as a means of separating herself from actress Kate Hudson and avoiding confusion thereof. She spent some time writing music with a producer by the name of Glen Ballard who then signed her under his own label, Java, in 2004. Java was dropped from its "The Island Def Jam Music Group" association shortly thereafter, though, and the creation of Perry's debut album was put on hold.

Ballard helped introduce Katy to an executive in A&R at Columbia Records and she was quickly signed to the label as a solo artist. Her debut album back on track, she worked with a number of producers and songwriters on it. Unfortunately, Columbia dropped her in 2006 and she ended up working at "Taxi Music," an A&R company in the area, for a while.

Thanks to Angelica Cob-Baehler of Columbia Records, who took Katy's demos to an executive at Virgin Records, she was soon signed again, this time to Capitol Records. With the help of Dr. Luke, a producer she'd worked with before, her two first major hits were written: "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot n Cold." Her album, "One of the Boys" would come out to controversy, craze and massive success.


Katy on Tour and Achieving More

2008 was a flood of performing success for Perry as she ended up on the lineup of the "Warped Tour" and hosted the "MTV Europe Music Awards," where she won an award for Best New Act. Her success carried on into 2009. The year saw the rising star opening for "No Doubt" during their Summer tour and hosting the MTV Europe Music Awards yet again; a first in the history of the European event's hosts.

In 2010, Katy began breaking records in the music industry, with Guiness World Records bestowing her the "Best Start on the U.S. Digital Chart by a Female Artist" position for selling over two million copies. This proved to be just the beginning; she would go on to break the record for female recording artists with five number-one Billboard Hot 100 songs on a single album. In fact, the only artist ever to have topped this achievement was the King of pop himself, Michael Jackson. She was given an honorary American Music award for this. A few of the songs that helped her achieve such a chart-topping triumph were "California Gurls," "Last Friday Night" and "Firework."

Her "California Dreams" tour of 2010 went on to massive success as well.

From 2010 through 2012, Katy Perry grew in fame to the level of being almost a household name. She made film appearances on "the Simpsons," "Saturday Night Live" and "the Smurfs," released an autobiographical documentary to wild success and even endorsed her own fragrances, "Purr" and "Meow!". In 2010, she also married Russell Brand, but their union proved to be brief - lasting only 14 months in total.

2013 saw the release of her ninth hit single, "Dark Horse" on another successful album entitled "Prism." Awards soon followed and she was dubbed the "Top Package" by the Billboard Touring Awards that year. Soon, yet another record would be broken by the star, this time in sports history.


Perry Plays the Super Bowl

Katy Perry was announced as halftime performer for the 2015 Super Bowl and performed with both Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott. Their performance was a phenomenal success - marking the first time in Super Bowl history that an act garnered 118.5 million viewers in the U.S. alone. The act even topped the overall viewership of the game itself!


Perry at Present

Following her Super Bowl smash hit performance, Katy appeared in a number of documentaries, shows and advertising campaigns. She also released new fragrances and, in 2017, launched her own shoe line called "Katy Perry Collections."

She released her fifth album, "Witness," in 2017 and is set to star as a judge on the revival of American Idol this year (2018).


With such an incredible career under her belt, odds are good that Katy Perry will continue to kill it in the music industry in coming years. At only 33, she has plenty of time to break more industry records in the future.