“I felt she was undergoing a huge transformation in her life – moving away from her sugar-coated pop princess phase to a more sophisticated style," said marie claire's editor, Jackie Frank, of meeting Katy Perry. "She had such a tumultuous 2012, but she certainly rose to meet any challenge that was thrown at her and has emerged the better for it. I was left thinking she had a powerful depth to her that allowed her to face her fears and move on.”
Here, Katy opens up about growing up, falling in love and dealing with fame.
Everyone is saying Roar is the new anthem for women.
I think it’s just for anyone who feels a little bit like down in the dumps, like they don’t have any strength. Sometimes I write these anthems because I need that boost too.
The music video for Roar [features] a woman who gets lost in the jungle. She tangles with a tiger and tames it, and ultimately comes up on top. Was that about your life?
I think so…It’s about finding your inner strength. I wrote [it] when I felt like I was going inwards with my problems. Sometimes your biggest bully in life can be yourself – can be the person standing in the way of your success, and sometimes you have to give yourself a boost. That was what Roar was about. It is me, as I would imagine, an uptight New York girl who crashed in the jungle, and over the course of the music video she finds her strength and makes friends with the animals she was scared of at first.
So the writing process is cathartic for you?
Yes absolutely, it is very therapeutic. It’s where a lot of realisations about myself come from. Sometimes when I write a song, I’m like: “Oh this is what is going on”. I am figuring myself out a little bit better.
What would you say to Miley Cyrus’s parents right now?
You know what - she’s so young and she’s trying to figure it out, too. She’s just finding her bearings right now – and, God you really don’t know how much pressure and insane scrutiny there is in this world until you’re in their shoes. I think that everyone just deserves love in [that] type of position because it’s a really hard level to play at.
I feel there’s been a real change going on with Katy Perry. You used to have a very stylised, cotton candy look – very made-up with purple hair. Is Katy Perry growing up in front of us?
I hope growing up is not scary because it is not scary for me. I am actually quite enjoying it. I think that it’s difficult to go from such a high concept of being a bit cartoony and exaggerated - as I was on [the album] Teenage Dream - to this record, [where] the theme is just kind of “me”. I think there is a lot of vulnerability and real relatable honest messages in these songs and less themes, less crazy costumes.
There has been a real shift though. I think I am just so much more comfortable in my skin. I think that comes with age and experience. I feel like in your twenties you’re all about [other people’s] perceptions… and then you get out of your twenties… I’ll be 29 soon.[In past interviews] you’ve said that you’re attracted to [men who are] “broken birds”.
Why? I think that in a woman there’s this innate desire to nurture and care because we have the ability to make children. I think that as women if you see something that’s hurting you just want to be like, “I’ll help! I’ll help!” I think it’s in our DNA as females.
You’ve talked about Prism being written at your most vulnerable time.
I started PRISM in November 2012 and I was in a darker place in my life. There was a song called By the Grace of God… which paints a picture about how low I was… feeling like I wasn’t enough, it wasn’t possible for me to be loved.
How have you moved on from that?
From a lot of searching for help… through a lot of changing how I think about myself…. On this record, there’s a song called Love Me which is a song about loving yourself first in order to be loved properly.
It comes from within, doesn’t it?
Absolutely, 100 per cent, and you know your partner can then see that. If you’re all good on the inside then it is so much more attractive on the outside. You could be the hottest girl with the best body... but if you are a bitch then you are no fun to hang out with.
I don’t think you could be a bitch.
I mean, I can be demanding but that is because this job is demanding. I’m trying to go to another level, and sometimes it’s hard to take everyone with me to that next level. So some people can be like, “Wow – she is too demanding or works too hard or whatever. But I just want to try and master my crafts.
The words to one of your hit songs, Firework, read: ‘after a hurricane comes a rainbow’. Are you an optimist?
Oh yes I’m an absolute optimist! I mean to the point where the problem is staring me at me in the face and I’m like we can work this out, we can do it. I am an optimist and that’s gotten me very far in life.
To read the full interview with Katy Perry, grab a copy of the December issue of marie claire, onsale now, or download the latest edition to your iPad.
Find out what's inside the December issue here.