American singer and songwriter Katy Perry is an international pop star. Fans are often surprised to discover gospel roots in her first music.
Katy Perry’s first song under her stage name was titled Ur So Gay, released in May of 2007. It was the lead single from her first EP also titled Ur So Gay. Prior to this, she had released her debut eponymous album under her birth name, Katy Hudson. The album was of Christian rock but did not chart well, so she reinvented herself as Katy Perry.
Once the singer changed her name to Katy Perry, and her music style to mainstream pop, she was met with widespread commercial success. Learn more about her journey below.
Debuting With Christian Rock
Katy Perry was born with the name Katheryn Hudson in Santa Barbara, California in 1984.
She would attend various different churches and Christian schools as she moved between states in her youth.
Perry’s Christian faith greatly influenced her early music. From the ages of 9-17, she sang in Church.
When her parents gifted her a guitar at the age of 13, she would perform on the street.
She told GQ magazine, “I’d go to the farmers’ market in Santa Barbara, and I’d put out my guitar case, and I’d test out these little ditty songs that I would write, and I would get a couple of avocados, a bag of pistachios, and, like, fifteen bucks.”
Her first album was of the gospel genre since she had trouble accessing popular music, which was discouraged in her Evangelical household.
She told Vanity Fair that she “wasn’t even allowed to listen to secular music and relied on friends to sneak her CDs.”
Katy Hudson incorporates contemporary Christian music with Christian Rock and Pop Rock, including a variety of religious themes such as the singer’s faith in God and adolescence.
Unfortunately, Red Hill Records went bankrupt before Katy was able to release her album.
This meant they could not afford to advertise, and the album only sold around 200 copies.
Perry went on tour to promote the album, but the most popular single on the track titled Trust In Me peaked at number 17 of the Christian Rock Radio & Records charts.
Changing Her Image
After her eponymous studio album did not fare well, the singer decided to take a different approach.
She moved to L.A, reinventing herself with the stage name Katy Perry in an attempt to venture into secular music.
Ur So Gay was intended to introduce Perry as an artist, sparking interest in her target market before she released her album.
However, many critics argued that her lyrics were “gay-baiting” and “slyly homophobic.”
Perry’s first single from her second album was titled I Kissed A Girl. The song fared extremely well, peaking at number 1 on the US Billboard Top 100.
The song is wildly famous, but received mixed reviews from both the LGBT community for “using bi-curiosity to sell records” and the religious community for its homosexual themes.
It topped charts in over 18 other countries, including the UK and Canada.