Katy Perry Wants to Draw on Your Face
by Priya Panda
If you don’t already know who Katy Perry is, ask your mom. She’s probably been singing the run away smash hit “I Kissed a Girl” that has both injected sass into the youth of America and thoroughly pissed off the Neo-Cons and religious groups that have a stranglehold on the so-called “land of the free.” My kind of girl!
Not bad for a 24-year-old daughter of not one, but two Christian pastors who got her General Educational Development (GED - or high school equivalency) in her freshman year of high school and never looked back. Her 2008 release One of the Boys has made waves and while she continues to paint the Vans Warped Tour pink, she found a little time out of her boyfriend’s birthday to chat with me. When Katy calls me from Calgary, Alb. she tells me immediately, “I love Canada. They’re very nice to me! They’ve always been very sweet.”
And we take it from there.
Priya Panda: So I’ve heard your bus is something to really be seen to be believed:
Katy Perry: My bus is a landmark for everyone on tour. It’s the bus that everyone says, ‘We’re three busses down from the Katy Perry bus.’ It’s kind of like a traveling billboard. MySpace actually repped it. It’s a great idea to be able to use the bus as a billboard and kind of promoting the record at the same time. And now we use it as a landmark.”
PP: What’s it feel like to be an anomaly on tour?
KP: “I’ve been out with Warped Tour starting out with November of last year. Kevin Lyman, the guy who books all the shows, he was going along and finding new talent and having meetings with record labels and seeing what they had for next year. So he heard a couple of my songs and said I want her out on Warped Tour.
So I got the call I was like, overjoyed and also freaked out at the same time because I had friends on the Warped Tour and they would tell me how physically exhausted they would get after the tour. It wasn’t a pretty tour. This is, you know, it’s a traveling circus. It’s get on the stage, get off the stage, get on the stage and get off the stage with no soundchecks and no set times. You have to kind of really know how to go with the flow to be on the Warped Tour. And it’s cool there’s like so many different bands and so many different types of music on Warped Tour.
Warped Tour isn’t exactly what it used to be in the 90’s very straightedge, punk, you know that’s it. There’s all kinds of different flavours now. I think I am a little bit different. I think I’m the pink wearing Converse girl in a sea of black hooded boys. I think that’s why people are excited to see it. They like to see something different.”
PP: Tell me some crazy tour stories
KP: “Craziest thing that’s happened so far on tour is we like to draw on people’s faces. If they pass out in the front lounge, it’s kind of a rule that we get to draw on your face. So one night after my boyfriend and I decided to see The Dark Knight, we came home and one of our bandmates was passed out in the front lounge so we went and we Jokerized his face. It’s pretty funny. No one is safe!! [laughs] We wrote “Why so Serious” on the front of his chest.”
PP: That’s amazing. What would be your dream tour?
KP: “I would love to do dates with Madonna. I mean she’s so powerful and amazing, that would be fantastic. I also am a big fan of the band called The Ting Tings. Yeah they’re great. They’re a new band this year and their record’s awesome. So I would like the Ting Tings, Madonna and myself to be on tour together.“
PP: That would be a sold out line-up.
KP: “It could happen in the future. I know Robyn is doing some European dates with Madonna, which is a cool line up too.”
PP: Didn’t your E.P. Ur So Gay shock your family?
KP: “No, not really. I think that my family knows and have always known the kind of person I am, which is basically free-flowing. I don’t really censor myself and usually I have some new thing about pretty much everything. I’m just kind of an opinionated girl. But not in a bad way, mostly just that I have a perspective on things. I love to share my perspective. And I have a dark sense of humour, I’ve always had a dark sense of humour. My family knows that. So they weren’t that surprised.”
PP: So have you ever kissed a girl?
KP: “Well the kiss isn’t based on that particular moment, but of course I have to have to actually be able to sing about it I would think, you know?”
PP: So tell me how you balance your relationship with Travis McCoy (of Gym Class Heroes) with your career?
KP: “I think it’s a little bit more difficult when we don’t get to see each other but any relationship is based on communication and if you don’t talk it out, you won’t know where you’re coming from or what you’re feeling or what. It’s so important that even if it hurts, you still have to talk about it. But it’s amazing we’re on tour together right now. It’s really nice he’s a very constant companion and today’s his birthday actually so after I get off the phone I’m going to get him a birthday cake.”
PP: That’s pretty exciting, what flavour?
KP: “Don’t know yet. Something with real frosting though. You know you get that whipped cream frosting, I don’t really care for that, I like the real frosting. I’ll probably end up smashing it in his face, honestly. “
PP: Do you ever get flack for being in an interracial relationship?
KP: “Not at all, no.”
PP: So let’s take it back a little bit. How did you know you wanted to make music?
KP: “I initially started singing because I was at that point in my childhood where I was copycatting my sister and everything she did. And my older sister started singing and taking voice lessons and getting all the attention from mom and dad. It was a constant fight to get attention from mom and dad between me and my siblings. Mostly because that’s the way I think it is when you grow up. So my sister started singing with cassette tapes over and over to a song and one day she wasn’t there and I took her cassette tape myself and I started practicing it. Then I rehearsed it and performed it to my parents and they were like ‘Maybe you should get some singing lessons,’ so that kind of started a whole singing lesson parade from nine to 16. I had the worst singing teachers and the best singing teachers. Some of them had the worst breath and some of them were awesome. I studied at the Music Academy of the West, which is in Santa Barbara. I studied Italian opera for a little while. I’m not very, very studied but I do have a little of that training.”
PP: Ok so you’re singing like a fiend, how’d you manage to go to school?
KP: “I got my GED [high school equivalency] when I was 15, when I was a freshman in high school. I know it was my first semester of my freshman year of high school, I decided to bounce. I was like, I know exactly what I want to do, I have the opportunity to do it and hopefully I will learn as much as I can in this first semester. I took a test and I decided to leave high school. Ever since then it’s been fantastic. I think sometimes you just know what you want to do at a really early age so you don’t have to deal with certain things. Like the drama of going to prom.”
PP: I can’t blame you. I skipped my prom, too.
PP: I’m going to ask you some of your favs.
PP: Fave ChapStick Flavour?
KP: “Honestly, Strawberry.”
PP: Style icon?
PP: Guy qualities?
KP: “Definitely sense of humour. He has to be hilarious.”
PP: Travel spot?
KP: “Paris, well Chantilly in the outskirts of Paris.”
KP: “Sud Pacifique’s Vanilla Apricot”
PP: Me too.
PP: Are there any causes charities, or beliefs you’re currently involved with?
KP: “I don’t have any specific one that I’m related to. I’m trying to find the one that best suits me, because once I find that one I’ll definitely stick to it. But I have to do a lot of homework. It’s kind of like voting. Before you pick your candidate and pick your charity you gotta be informed.”
PP: Thanks Katy, I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you again.
KP: “No, thank you, babe!”