9 Great Songs You Didn’t Know Katy Perry Wrote
Katy Perry launched her career as a Christian pop star named Katy Hudson in 2001, which gave no indication that by 2008 she would take the pop world by storm with the debauched, raucous and cheeky album One of the Boys that featured feisty, electro-pop-rock songs named “I Kissed a Girl” and “Ur So Gay.” Perry’s surprising re-entry into the world of pop also came through in her songwriting, which she’s been doing for other artists since around the time of her career change. Hear some of the catchy, anthemic tracks Perry has written for everyone from Nicki Minaj to Selena Gomez.
Nicki Minaj Featuring Ariana Grande, “Get on Your Knees”
While an official Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj collaboration has yet to happen, the pop star penned lyrics for Minaj’s sultry, hypnotic ode to bossing around a male partner off her 2014 album The Pinkprint. Rumors have circulated that Perry was also originally meant to sing the hook on the Dr. Luke-produced track, but in the end, Ariana Grande is the one to purr the song’s title repeatedly and belting the chorus. As a bonus, Minaj even gives a quick shout out to Perry during one of her verses: “Got me seein’ them fireworks/I’m on my Kate Perry.”
Kelly Clarkson, “I Do Not Hook Up”
"I Do Not Hook Up" was meant to be on Perry's first album of secular pop music, but she had passed it along to Clarkson for the American Idol winner's fourth LP, All I Ever Wanted. The song would fit perfectly into Perry's One of the Boys era: spunky, dance-y pop-rock chock full of biting sass in the lyrics. Clarkson's crystalline belt fit the song as well and, just like previous single "My Life Would Suck Without You," it helped move her toward more upbeat pop following the darker, introspective Breakaway and My December.
Selena Gomez & The Scene, “Rock God”
On Gomez's pop-rock band's sophomore album, A Year Without Rain, the Disney star was moving away from the rock element and zeroing in on her pop prowess. However, the Perry-penned "Rock God" was one final good-bye to Gomez's rocker ways that features some classic KTP elements: religious insinuations turned on their heads above a funky beat. Gomez is at her most vocally playful, hitting a sweet falsetto at the end of her phrases. "It's one of my favorite songs ever," she told MTV News in 2010. "I actually had to fight for that song. I wanted it so bad. It's kind of funky, and I think I used her style and we kind of mixed it up with the producers that I worked with with my style, so we made it a little bit more techno." Perry also sang background vocals on the track.
Jessie James, “Girl Next Door”
Perry wrote two songs off country-pop artist Jessie James’ self-titled debut album, but “Girl Next Door” is a clear standout from the LP overall. James almost sounds like Perry with her phrasing and raspy falsetto, but she adds a down-home twang to the song, which is an ode to returning to your roots.
Britney Spears, “Passenger”
Off Spears' 2013 album, Britney Jean, "Passenger" features an all-star team of writers, including Diplo, Sia Furler and, of course, Perry. The riff-heavy power ballad was originally meant for Perry's own 2013 LP, Prism. Spears gives one of her most emotive vocal performances yet above the swirling techno beat and booming drums and background vocals. Spears and Perry would coincide again when Perry paid tribute to Spears' iconic denim dress from the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards when the younger star showed up with Riff Raff as her denim date at the 2014 ceremony.
Selena Gomez & The Scene, “That’s More Like It”
On Selena Gomez’s band’s final album When the Sun Goes Down, Katy Perry contributed yet another track to Gomez. This time, their collaboration is even more dance-y with a fierce, chunky beat and biting lyrics. “[This] is a little bit of a cheeky ’50s kind of theme,” Gomez told Billboard. “Back then you always kind of assumed that the woman would cook for you and the guys would go work. The song kind of flips that and says ‘you can massage my feet, you can take care of me, you can cook me dinner.’ I think girls will enjoy singing that though I apologize to all of the boys who will be hearing that song.”
Iggy Azalea Featuring Rita Ora, “Black Widow”
Iggy Azalea's "Black Widow" was originally meant for Katy Perry's Prism, but after hitting the cutting room floor, the dark, trap-inflected song — which bears similarities to Perry's hit "Dark Horse" — was given to Azalea for her debut album, The New Classic. Though Perry couldn't appear on the track, Azalea found a partner-in-crime with Rita Ora who belts the hypnotic chorus on the single.
Kelly Clarkson, “Long Shot”
Written between Perry's Christian pop debut, Katy Hudson, and her much edgier One of the Boys for an unreleased LP meant to debut on former label Def Jam, the raucous "Long Shot" ended up on Clarkson's fourth album, All I Ever Wanted. Perry wrote the song with her ex-boyfriend Matt Thiessen of Relient K about the risk of romance. Clarkson's warm delivery gives the lyrics a little boost of heartbreak above the riff-heavy track.
Ashley Tisdale, “Time’s Up”
Tisdale revamped the song "Love Is a Train," written by Katy Perry but never released by the singer. The High School Musical star renamed it "Time's Up," and she included it on her sophomore album, 2009's Guilty Pleasure.