What can I say about today’s featured Favorite Pop Artist nominee that you don’t already know? On the radio, she is omnipresent. In concert, she is dazzling. On the charts, she is record breaking. In film and TV, she has already started to make her mark. But did you know that her first studio release was a gospel album? Unless you are a super fan or happen to have seen her recent documentary concert film, I’d gamble that is news to you. And if you are having the same Liz Lemon-esque “what the what?1” reaction that I had when I learned that fun fact, you are probably not alone. Yes, it’s true – young Kathryn Hudson, long before she became Katy Perry, was raised in the church with a strong gospel music influence that informed her first record. But it wasn’t long before the ‘secular’ industry took notice of her and helped mold her into the superstar she is today.
Let’s fast forward to when we all first took notice. Do you remember the first time you heard, “I Kissed A Girl?” I do. I was driving in my car, surfing the radio for something decent to listen to, and while the catchy melody and infectious rhythm hooked me at once, the very first line of the chorus left me perplexed. I remember thinking, “How did a song like that make its way onto the air waves?” How, indeed. Her label at the time was apparently also wary that the song would be met with resistance. But as history proved, the opposite happened. The song sparked an overwhelming reaction and was officially put on permanent rotation. And thus started Katy’s chart topping, record breaking run that is far from over.
Her first pop album didn’t result in any major hits that paralleled “I Kissed A Girl”, but her second go around yielded five number one hits, a feat no other female artist has achieved. And she is second in line in the musical history books to none other than the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. It’s truly remarkable for a single record to turn out so many hits, and to have such staying power. Singles have literally been releasing from that album for over 2 years, the most recent being “Part of Me” and “Wide Awake” both released earlier this year. So much for “Part of Me” being about her break up with Russell Brand! I can see why people mistakenly made that assumption, but other than the coincidental (or more likely, intentional) timing of the release, the song had nothing to do with Brand since it had been written and recorded over two years prior.
Perry has named the legendary band Queen as well as Alanis Morissette as major musical influences – and in fact, she sought out Jagged Little Pill producer Glen Ballard to work with her on her first pop album. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that she cites those particular artists, given that both the late Freddie Mercury and Morissette share a unique power and intensity to their voices, coupled with the ability to yield a real emotional response from listeners. While Perry’s electropop style may not be nearly as deep or thought-provoking, she does clearly share her influences’ passion and powerhouse vocals. That, coupled with her songwriting skills, her dance moves, her sense of style and her stunning beauty all make her undeniably likable – it’s no surprise that she has been embraced by millions of fans across the globe. And if you need any more proof that she is loved by many, since 2009 she has garnered a whopping 19 People’s Choice Awards nominations, with 9 wins and counting…
No matter your favorite, the pool of nominees in the Favorite Pop Artist category are all fores to be reckoned with, and as Perry has certainly proven, are here for the long haul.
Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of Favorite Pop Artist nominee Katy Perry’s mega hits is your favorite?
Part of Me