"I Kissed A Girl" singer and couture chameleon Katy Perry recently stopped by the Rolling Stone offices to open up about the pressures of following up her hit debut One of the Boys, what the new LP will sound like and why her parents aren't merely the staunch Christians the media makes them out to be.
"The second record is really important to me because I think it shows whether I'm meant to do this, or I got lucky," Perry says. Coming off a smash hits like "I Kissed A Girl" and "Hot N Cold" and getting a platinum plaque for her debut album, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter hopes to recruit some big-name talent like Calvin Harris and Guy Sigsworth. "I guess I'm going to take the clout I have now and go, 'Yeah, I want to work with you, because you wouldn't have worked with me five years ago,' " she says, adding that she will record again with Greg Wells, Dr. Luke and Max Martin when she enters the studio early this autumn.
"Basically what I want to do is not alienate the audience that I have at all. I think some people feel like they have had success with one thing and one idea and one record and they want to pull a 180 and try a totally different thing," Perry explains. "I definitely feel like that's the wrong move. I feel like you just have to grow from it, you can branch off of it but keep the tree the same in some ways. Some people get full of themselves, and they think that anything they do is going to work or turn to gold or be the right move, and the reason why you're here is because of the people that like your music and the fans, so you always should keep an ear open to what they're saying." Essentially, she doesn't want to "pull a Chris Gaines," as Perry puts it, name-checking the failed rock alter ego of Garth Brooks.
Perry hopes to keep an engineer on board when she travels to Europe for seven weeks this summer to play festivals. Describing the sound that she's going for, Perry says she'll "definitely keep it pop." " 'Love Fool' by the Cardigans meets 'Into the Groove' by Madonna but a little more meat on the bones lyrically," Perry says. "I'm not just gonna talk about the beat and just dancing, I like to get into the meaning." Perry was less forward with what the songs will be about, but did say they'd focus on the whirlwind last year of her life, to dealing with fame to friendships to her "relationships," likely a nod to her breakup and makeup with Gym Class Heroes' Travis McCoy.
As for her parents, who have been portrayed as Bible-beaters, Perry insists that despite the fact that her parents are famously religious, they are "cool and modern." In fact, Perry's mother used to hang out with Jimi Hendrix and her father sold acid called Strawberry Fields for Timothy Leary. "I think this whole thing of them, 'They probably threw me in the basement when they heard me singing "I Kissed a Girl," ' they really understand what I'm talking about, the tongue-in-cheek aspect." Perry says. "Even though my mom isn't rock & roller, pot-smoking debutante that she was and my dad isn't the acid dealer with long hair anymore, they've probably had more intense moments than anything I've ever done."