Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born October 25, 1984), known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. After singing in church during her childhood, she pursued a career in gospel music as a teenager. Perry signed with Red Hill Records and released her debut studio album Katy Hudson under her birth name in 2001, which was commercially unsuccessful. She moved to Los Angeles the following year to venture into secular music after Red Hill ceased operations. After adopting the stage name Katy Perry and being dropped by The Island Def Jam Music Group and Columbia Records, she signed a recording contract with Capitol Records in April 2007 Perry rose to fame in 2008 with the release of the singles “I Kissed a Girl” – which sparked controversy for its homosexual themes – and “Hot n Cold” from her second album, a pop rock record titled One of the Boys. Her third album, Teenage Dream (2010), ventured into disco, and contained the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping singles “California Gurls”, “Teenage Dream”, “Firework”, “E.T.”, and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” as well as the number-three single “The One That Got Away”. The album became the first by a female artist to produce five number-one Billboard Hot 100 songs, and the second overall after Michael Jackson’s album Bad. In March 2012, she re-issued the album as Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, which produced the songs “Part of Me” and “Wide Awake”.Her fourth album, Prism, was released in 2013, and is influenced by pop and dance. She became the first artist with multiple videos to reach one billion views on Vevo with the videos for its songs “Roar” and “Dark Horse”. Her songwriting is mostly done in collaboration with others, especially Dr. Luke and Max Martin, and in songs such as “Firework” and “Roar” she stresses themes of self-empowerment and self-esteem. Perry is known for an idiosyncratic and fun-based sense of personal fashion that incorporates bright colors and food-based themes. Her concert performances feature elaborate stagings and costumes.
During her freshman year of high school, Perry completed her General Educational Development (GED) requirements at age 15, and left Dos Pueblos High School to pursue a musical career. She briefly studied Italian opera at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. Her singing caught the attention of rock artists Steve Thomas and Jennifer Knapp from Nashville, Tennessee, who brought her there to improve her writing skills. In Nashville, she started recording demos and learned how to write songs and play guitar. After signing with Red Hill Records, Perry recorded her debut album, a gospel record titled Katy Hudson. She released the album on March 6, 2001, and went on tour that year as part of Phil Joel’s Strangely Normal Tour. Katy Hudson received positive reviews from critics, though was commercially unsuccessful and sold an estimated 200 copies before the label ceased operations in December. Transitioning from gospel music to secular music, Perry started writing songs with producer Glen Ballard, and moved to Los Angeles at age 17. In 2003, she briefly performed as Katheryn Perry to avoid confusion with actress Kate Hudson. She later adopted the stage name Katy Perry, using her mother’s maiden name.In 2004, Perry signed to Ballard’s label, Java, which was then affiliated with The Island Def Jam Music Group. She began work on a solo record, but the record was shelved after Java was dropped. Ballard then introduced Perry to Tim Devine, an A&R executive at Columbia Records, and she was signed as a solo artist. Over the course of the next two years, Perry wrote and recorded material for her Columbia debut, and worked with songwriters including Desmond Child, Greg Wells, Butch Walker, Scott Cutler/Anne Previn, The Matrix, Kara DioGuardi, and Max Martin and Dr. Luke. In addition, after Devine suggested they become a “real group”, she recorded with the Matrix. Perry was dropped from Columbia in 2006 as her record neared completion. After she was dropped from Columbia, Perry worked at an independent A&R company called Taxi Music.Perry had minor success prior to her breakthrough. One of the songs she had recorded for her album with Ballard, “Simple”, was featured on the soundtrack to the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She provided backing vocals on Mick Jagger’s song “Old Habits Die Hard”, which was included on the soundtrack to the 2004 film Alfie. In September 2004, Blender named Perry “The Next Big Thing”. She recorded background vocals on P.O.D.’s single “Goodbye for Now” and was featured at the end of its music video in 2006. That year, Perry also appeared in the music video for “Learn to Fly” by Carbon Leaf, and played the love interest of her then-boyfriend, Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travie McCoy, in the band’s music video for “Cupid’s Chokehold”.