Katy Perry: Through the Years

Written By:Emily Meyer

Edited By: Julie Thai and Sean McCarthy

According to Wikipedia, Katy Perry has sold over 37.6 million singles and albums, making her the sixth best-selling digital artist of all time in the United States.  How did Katy achieve all of this success? She shows all different aspects of herself, shown through her music videos, which market and relate herself to everyone.  Katy touches on topics that even people besides her normal 12-20 year old age group can relate to.  However, Katy’s image has changed greatly over the years.  Throughout her years as a famous singer, she has gone from singing about kissing a girl on a crazy night out to being under the public eyes radar after her divorce.  Katy is ambivalent about the controversy she causes. She once said, “I’m kind of a good girl – and I’m not. I’m a good girl because I really believe in love, integrity, and respect. I’m a bad girl because I like to tease. I know that I have sex appeal in my deck of cards. But I like to get people thinking. That’s what the stories in my music do.”  Her recent appearance on Sesame Street caused a lot of controversy.  People thought she was too provocative and not dressed appropriately for a children’s show.  However, this kind of drama is, I argue, what gets her buyers’ attentions. In this article, I show that Katy Perry uses relatable topics to interest her audience and market herself as a normal girl.

One way Katy Perry connects with her audience is through social media.  Katy’s twitter account (@katyperry) is the third most popular celebrity account, with over 28 million followers.  Katy connects with her fans on twitter with daily tweets about what is going on in her life.  She includes pictures to show who she is with, like the celebrities she is always meeting, to her favorite new accessories.  Katy recently used her twitter account to remind everyone to vote in the 2012 Election. She included pictures like the one below to endorse Obama and his campaign.

Katy’s Tweet

Before Katy Perry became as famous as she is now, she was a very simple singer and songwriter.  One of her songs, appropriately titled “Simple,” shows her style before she became one of the most popular celebrities of the 21st century.  This was also before she dressed crazily or had her well-known “persona” that she has now.  This video does a good job of displaying her amazing voice, which is what originally made her famous.  Russ Breimier of Christianity Today claimed Katy’s first single showed “a remarkable young talent emerging, a gifted songwriter in her own right who will almost certainly go far in this business.”

One of Katy’s first big singles, “I Kissed A Girl,” shows Katy’s more promiscuous side.  The video has a very strong meaning and point that comes across.  The video is very sexual and not appropriate for her normal age group.  However, this helps market to her homosexual audience. Many people in the gay and lesbian community love Katy Perry.  Katy has made it well known that she supports the Gay and Lesbian Community.  She recently said, “It’s absurd that it’s not equality for all. The fact that we’re still dealing with it is stupid.”

Katy Perry’s big hit “Part of Me” sold 411,000 copies in its first week.  The video shows Katy in the military.  Katy actually worked closely with a U.S. Marine Corps camp to create the video.  This video was made to relate to young people enlisting in the army. It was a way to draw attention to the US soldiers that are fighting for our country, but also get her message about “girl power” across.  Her lyrics such as, “This is the part of me That you are never gonna ever take away from me, Throw your sticks and your stones, throw your bombs and your blows, But you’re not gonna break my soul” display this feminine power message.

Katy’s song “Firework” also has a very inspirational music video.  It features a cancer patient, a family fighting, and a young girl trying to feel comfortable with her body.  This video is all about having hope and learning to embrace yourself.  The video gives many of its viewers and her fans inspiration.  Anyone can relate to this video, which is one of the main reasons it became so popular.  Katy even recruited some lucky fans to be in the music video.

Even though some people see Katy Perry as just a famous pop icon, she affects a lot of people.  Kids and teens look up to her.  The different aspects of herself that she shows in her videos help her appeal to her audience.  The video below about her popular music video “Wide Awake” shows her darker side.  It also displays how she uses hidden meanings in her music videos through subliminal messages.

Katy Perry from Emily Meyer on Vimeo.

The “Wide Awake” video is symbolizing how the paparazzi and media are suffocating Katy and trying to bring her down.  Throughout the video she is running through a maze to try and find her way out.  There is symbolism like the poisoned strawberry, the cat made out of grass, and butterflies.  The video also shows a kid version of Katy named Kathryn that helps lead her through the maze and helps get her out.  Like in her song lyrics, “I’m not blind anymore,” Katy finally realizes how people have been suffocating her and trying to bring her down.  Katy slaps a “prince charming” in the video, which is relating back to her recent divorce from Russell Brand. Brand is a famous English comedian who has starred in many movies and tv shows.  Katy and Russell were married 14 months before they split. Before Kathryn leaves, she gives Katy a butterfly.  This symbolizes that she needs to “fly” away from this life.  At the end of the video, it shows Katy performing her hit single “Teenage Dream.”  This implies that the whole video was a dream.  However, it shows that she can now see the truth.

Katy also has other videos including “Hot and Cold,” “Last Friday Night,” and “Hummingbird Heartbeat” that show her funny and relatable side.  They even show her connecting with her audience personally.  Her music video for “Teenage Dream” appeals to every teenage girl: wanting to run away with a boyfriend that they are madly in love with.  People are so interested in Katy Perry because she is rebellious and takes chances.  Many people find it entertaining to watch a pop icon go through big changes in their life and then write songs and videos about it.  Katy has written many songs and based videos off of the situations she has experienced.  She uses her music videos as a way for her to gain popularity and stay one of the top moneymakers of 2012.  Katy Perry is leading the way for other pop icons, making her a big influence on the entertainment business. Katy uses real life situations to make sure she is always relating to her audience and remaining on top of the entertainment industry.



Works Cited:

Gays  Love Katy Perry, New York Post, 2010

Katy Perry, Wikipedia, 2012


Perry, Katy, Twitter, 2012

Trombetta, Natalie, Russell Brand says he still cares for Katy Perry as he files for divorce after 14 months of marriage, Mail Online, 2011