It's been a very Perry year for Katy
Katy Perry is going through a recalibration phase in her career. Perry started out 2017 with a new hairstyle, trimming and bleaching her raven tresses until she arrived at a peroxided Joan of Arc look. The “Waking Up in Vegas” singer also embraced being “woke,” starting out the year projecting a newfound activist attitude before softening it with more philosophical, searching outlook. Perry’s penchant for pop-hooks gave way to a more flowing, groove-oriented sound on her new album Witness, which she promoted with a four-day live stream on YouTube and a subsequent world tour.
Whether Witness: The Tour ends in New Zealand on its current final date of Aug. 28, and how Perry manages to juggle her judging duties on the forthcoming reboot of American Idol, remains to be seen. She’s been able to handle it all her entire career so far, patiently enduring a long climb before achieving success in 2008 with the risqué single “I Kissed a Girl.” Perry quickly established herself as a chart-topping chanteuse, scoring nine No. 1s including her monster 2014 hit “Dark Horse.” Witness became her third No. 1 album upon its release in June, after Perry had previously topped the charts with 2010’s Teenage Dream and 2013’s PRISM.
Perry released three singles in advance of Witness. “Chained to the Rhythm,” released in February, was promoted with a video that seemed to reflect Perry’s newly woke state of mind with its socio-political symbolism. (It’s set in a theme park called “Oblivia.”) Perry continued moving in a satirical direction with videos for “Bon Appétit,” which depicted her being kneaded into dough, basted and prepped for consumption, and “Swish Swish” went full on slapstick with a cameo-laden, basketball-themed concept that camouflaged the song’s apparent intention as a swipe at Taylor Swift.
Perry had been feuding with Swift since 2013 when she reclaimed backup dancers that Swift had enlisted for a tour. Swift took aim at Perry with 2014’s “Bad Blood,” and upstaged her rival at the Perry-hosted MTV Video Music Awards in August of this year when Swift debuted her latest video, “Look What You Made Me Do,” complete with Perry-parodying scene. Perry seems like she wants to let the feud go, though. She stopped drinking in January, meditates every day and keeps reminding herself that one of the overriding lessons of seeking an enlightened mind is finding out there’s so much to learn.
She also reached a new level of exposure with the four-day live-stream Katy Perry Live: Witness World Wide on YouTube. Perry had appeared at the June 4 One Love Manchester benefit concert, performing well-received renditions of “Part of Me” and “Roar” before coming back for the stream, which ended with a free concert that preceded the tour. It would be tough for most mortals to weave in American Idol participation during a global tour, but Perry is no mere mortal and she has the $25 million contract from Idol’s producers to prove it.
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