Katy Perry is experiencing a “full sexual liberation,” the singer told The New York Times in a new, wide-ranging interview. The shift, she said, stemmed from Hillary Clinton’s presidential defeat and mending a previously tense relationship with her father.
“The reality is that I was retriggered [during] the election,” she told the Times. “I was retriggered by a big male that didn’t see women as equal. And that had been, unfortunately, a common theme in my upbringing.”
Perry’s parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, are traveling Pentecostal preachers. As a result, Perry was raised in a strict, religious household. (In Part of Me, the singer’s 2012 documentary, her brother David said that they weren’t allowed to eat Lucky Charms cereal as children because “luck was of Lucifer.”)
In 2013, Keith Hudson reportedly admonished his daughter for the lyrics of her 2008 hit “I Kissed a Girl,” telling a crowd in Santa Fe Springs, California, “They ask how can I preach if I produce a girl who sang about kissing another girl? I was at a concert of Katy’s where there were 20,000. I’m watching this generation, and they were going at it. It almost looked like church.”
During her recent, weekend-long YouTube live stream to promote new album Witness, Perry teared up when recalling her difficult upbringing. But she admitted that her family relationships have improved through attending group therapy. “I didn’t really hear them and I’m trying to listen for that more and hold a space and have compassion for them and love them in an authentic way,” she said. “It wasn’t always easy because we have very different viewpoints. Now we agree to disagree in a loving space.”
Elsewhere in the New York Times profile, Perry recalled an intimate moment with Lady Gaga at an event, where the two singers comforted each other by holding hands after learning of Clinton’s election loss. “Gaga and I just [looked] at each other, and [were] like, [expletive] it, we need to touch each other,” she said.
The “Chained to the Rhythm” singer admitted that she “used to be scared of intimacy” and “oversexualized” herself as a way of gaining attention. Still, she insisted that her previous pop star image isn’t dead. “I didn’t kill her, because I love her, and she is exactly what I had to do then,” she said. “And I’m not a con artist, I didn’t con people, like, that was just me. And this is me now.”