Katy Perry has achieved worldwide success as a pop singer, but after filming one music video in particular, many wondered if she had any military experience in her past.
In 2012, Katy Perry released a music video for her song, “Part of Me,” in which she joins the Marines after going through a difficult break-up. Although she trained with real-life Marines while filming the video, she has never been part of the American Military.
Although the song was a hit, Perry’s decision to feature Marines in her video was met with some backlash after its release.
Perry’s parents were pastors and she grew up in a strict and conservative household. Although in recent years she has dominated the music scene with tantalizing videos, as a child she wasn’t allowed to watch MTV or VH1.
At the age of 9, Perry expressed an interest in music and started taking singing lessons and learning how to play the guitar.
After she discovered the power and potential in her voice, Perry explained, “Everyone went from ignoring me to whoosh, like now I had this magic trick of being able to hold attention.” It wasn’t long before she expressed an interest in pursuing a career within the music industry.
In 2001, after several trips to a recording studio in Nashville, her gospel album, Katy Hudson, was released to a small audience.
Not to be dissuaded, Perry started expanding her musical catalogue while in high school and remains heavily influenced by flamboyant artists such as Freddie Mercury to this day.
She kept pushing forward and after completing her GED she relocated to Los Angeles at 17 to work with producers and sign to a record label.
After a string of bad luck, she finally signed with Capitol Records in 2007, where she released her album One of the Boys under the stage name Katy Perry. Her single, “I Kissed a Girl,” charted heavily after its release and caught the attention of other artists.
A few years later in 2010 she released a single with Snoop Dogg, “California Gurls,” which had great commercial success.
Her follow-up singles of “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “E.T.” and “Last Friday Night” all performed well, much like “California Gurls,” making Perry the second artist after Michael Jackson to have five No.1 hits from one album.
With this impressive commercial success under her belt, Perry was able to finally cement herself as an artist with staying power.
Perry has often professed her desire to be a strong role model in interviews, and the lyrics to “Part of Me” highlight emotional strength after a tough relationship.
In 2016, she explained, “I’m all about female empowerment and uplifting people’s spirits, and people finding their own voice.”
It was likely this mentality that propelled her creative vision when filming her music video for “Part of Me,” which follows Perry moving on from a toxic relationship.
The video shows her undergoing a metamorphosis post-breakup and cutting off her hair before going through basic training with the Marines.
Prior to “Part of Me,” a typical Perry music video was quirky and light-hearted. This video saw her get tough, gritty and explored a deeper meaning to her music.
In order to film the video, she went to Pendleton’s Camp Horno to use the real Marine base.
Not only did she train with real Marines, she also used an M-16 and practiced grappling moves.
There were some who felt the video glorified the Military and deliberately turned a blind eye to the repercussions of signing up to service.
Despite some backlash, the video was ultimately well-received by her fans.
The Marines wanted to be involved in the filming to make it as accurate as possible, and gave it the go-ahead for the opportunity to feature its female recruits.
Perry was involved in the concept and threw herself into preparation before filming. As she explained to MTV, “For three days, I was like a wannabe Marine, which was so difficult. I learned how to flip someone. I learned how to flip them on their back. I learned how to wrestle underwater.”
The Marines have said they view the video as good publicity, and as for Perry? She stands by her creative concept and told MTV, “This feels like one of the most aggressive songs I’ve ever put out. It’s an affirmation of strength.”