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Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born October 25, 1984), known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, and television judge. 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 and she subsequently began working with producers Glen Ballard, Dr. Luke, and Max Martin. 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 her second album, a pop rock record titled One of the Boys, and its singles “I Kissed a Girl” and “Hot n Cold”. The former track also sparked controversy for its sapphic themes. Her third album, Teenage Dream (2010), ventured into disco, and was her first album to top the U.S. Billboard 200. It topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 with the singles “California Gurls”, “Teenage Dream”, “Firework”, “E.T.”, and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”, while “The One That Got Away” reached number three on the chart. The album became the first by a female artist to produce five number-one songs in the U.S., and the second overall after Michael Jackson’s album Bad. In 2012, Perry re-issued the album as Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, which produced the songs “Part of Me” and “Wide Awake”. Her fourth album, Prism (2013), was her second to peak atop the U.S. charts. It is influenced by pop and dance, and 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 fifth album, Witness (2017), delved into electropop and became her third album to reach number one in the U.S. “Chained to the Rhythm” was the album’s most successful single, breaking Spotify’s record at the time for most first-day streams for a song by a female artist.
Perry has received various awards, including four Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, a Brit Award, and a Juno Award, and has been included in the annual Forbes lists of highest-earning women in music from 2011–2018. Her estimated net worth as of 2016 is $125 million. She is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records globally throughout her career. In film, she released an autobiographical documentary titled Katy Perry: Part of Me in 2012, and voiced Smurfette in the 2011 film The Smurfs and its sequel in 2013. Perry also began serving as a judge on American Idol in 2018.
2016–present: Witness and American Idol
Perry started writing songs for her new album in June 2016, and recorded an anthem for NBC Sports’s coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics titled “Rise”, which was released the following month. Perry chose to release it as a standalone track rather than save it for her album “because now more than ever, there is a need for our world to unite”. NBC also felt its message spoke “directly to the spirit of the Olympics and its athletes” for its inspirational themes. The song reached number one in Australia and number eleven in the United States.
In August 2016, Perry stated that she aspired to create material “that connects and relates and inspires” and told Ryan Seacrest that she was “not rushing” her fifth album, adding “I’m just having a lot of fun, but experimenting and trying different producers, and different collaborators, and different styles”. On February 10, 2017, Perry released the album’s lead single “Chained to the Rhythm” featuring Skip Marley. It reached number one in Hungary and number four in the United States. The track was also streamed over three million times on Spotify within 24 hours, breaking the music streaming service’s record at the time for the highest first-day streaming for a single track by a female artist. The album’s second single, “Bon Appétit” with Migos, was released that April. Its third single, “Swish Swish”, featured Nicki Minaj and followed the next month. They respectively peaked at numbers 59 and 46 in the United States, and made the top 15 in Canada.
The album, titled Witness, was released on June 9, 2017 to mixed reviews, and debuted at number one in the United States. To accompany the album’s release, Perry broadcast herself on YouTube for four days with a live-stream titled Katy Perry Live: Witness World Wide, concluding with a live concert on June 12. The live-stream generated over 49 million views from 190 different countries. She also embarked on Witness: The Tour, which began in September 2017 and ended in August 2018. On June 15, 2017, Calvin Harris released a song titled “Feels” from his album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, which featured Perry, Big Sean, and Pharrell Williams. The song went to reach number one in the United Kingdom.
Perry subsequently recorded a cover of the Dear Evan Hansen song “Waving Through a Window” for the deluxe edition of the cast recording, which was released on November 2, 2018. The show’s creators Benj Pasek and Justin Paul had requested Perry to cover the song to promote the musical’s national tour and bring awareness to mental health. Later that month, Perry released “Cozy Little Christmas” exclusively with Amazon Music. She also recorded the song “Immortal Flame” for the game Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, and had a playable character modeled after her. At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Perry performed “Here You Come Again”, alongside Dolly Parton and Kacey Musgraves, as part of a tribute to Parton, and on February 14, 2019, she released a song called “365”, with DJ Zedd. Two months later, Perry was featured on a remix of Daddy Yankee’s song “Con Calma” along with Snow. She followed this with the single “Never Really Over” on May 31.
Outside of recording music, Perry appeared as herself in the film Zoolander 2, which was released in February 2016. In February 2017, the singer launched a shoe line titled “Katy Perry Collections”. Her shoes are available on her website, Katy Perry Collections, and at retailers such as Dillard’s and Walmart. The following August, she hosted the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. Perry was signed for a $25-million salary to serve as a judge on ABC’s revival of American Idol, which premiered in March 2018. Perry began a relationship with Orlando Bloom in early 2016, and the couple got engaged on February 14, 2019. In June 2019, Perry appeared in the music video for Taylor Swift’s song “You Need to Calm Down”.