“I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as the first option for both delivering a child and putting a record out,” a very pregnant Katy Perry says, laughing over Zoom for the latest installment of Rolling Stone Interview: Special Edition. Both her baby and fifth album Smile are due around the same time and have faced the similar challenges of getting prepared as the world has sheltered in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “But this is an unusual circumstance and an unusual year,” she continues.
Conceptually, Smile is a perfect album for these times: Perry pulled from the darkness she experienced in 2017 after a short-lived separation from her now-fiancé Orlando Bloom and the unenthusiastic response to that year’s Witness, which was led by a subversive single about her post-election depression titled “Chained to the Rhythm.” Smile balances both heartache and hope with major emphasis on the latter. “I keep on saying it’s a bit of a win when the fans get an album and I get a baby,” Perry says. “So everybody’s happy!”
In this interview, Perry reveals what life has looked like since March, including having to put finishing touches on her latest album between a makeshift bedroom studio and her car. She also examines her own growth as an artist, shedding the persona of Katy Perry while still maintain her love for camp and what it means for her to be politically active as a public figure going forward.
This is the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s latest new video series, RS Interview: Special Edition, featuring in-depth conversations with notable figures in music, entertainment, and politics. Episodes premiere on Rolling Stone’s YouTube channel.