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Katy Perry Celebrates 'Prism' With Intimate Performance

Pop star sings new songs and answers questions from fans

Katy Perry performs during her album release party at the iHeartRadio theater in Los Angeles.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel
October 23, 2013 10:10 AM ET

Katy Perry celebrated the release of her new album Prism yesterday with a performance and Q&A at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles. The singer shared stories and songs, live and through videos, during the hour-long event, which streamed on Yahoo, was broadcast on Clear Channel radio stations and was filmed for broadcast on the CW on Friday.

Backed by a five-piece band, Perry performed stripped-down versions of five new songs between interludes when she talked about the album. "My head was in a dark place," she said after performing a playful acoustic version of the single "Roar." "I thought I was gonna make an acoustic record with depressive shades." As to what changed she said, "All the light hit me and influenced shades, I feel very prismatic."

'Prism' and 25 More Must-Hear Albums This Fall

The defiant tone of the song, she said, grew out of her own self-doubt. "Sometimes the biggest bully becomes yourself and you end up standing in your own way." She added, "I needed to find my inner strength again, to find my inner roar."

In addition to "Roar," Perry performed the slower "Dark Horse," a song she described as "trappy," referring to the dance/hip-hop hybrid genre. She said the song was inspired by the movie The Craft. "I'm really inspired by all things Nineties right now."

Her set also included a pair of ballads: "Unconditionally," which she wrote after her first trip to Madagascar with UNICEF; and "By the Grace of God," which started softly on piano and grew in power with Perry's soaring vocals.

In between songs, fans asked questions on topics like which famous people Perry would invite to a dinner party (Freddie Mercury and Cher), the most famous person she in her cell phone (Miley Cyrus, whom Perry described as "the most famous person in the world right now") and when she was last starstruck (having tea recently with Stevie Nicks). Perry also told fans she was likely to get a Prism tattoo soon. 

Perry also said that she's planning a tour for next year. She didn't offer specifics, but said the trek will have a different look and feel, along with plenty of "magical moments." "It’s three years down the road," she said. "It's time for new visuals, a new era."

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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