HER ‘SMILE’ FOUND

Katy Perry re­leases al­bum of hope amid wed­ding plan­ning, im­pend­ing mother­hood

Chicago Sun-Times - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - BY MESFIN FEKADU

NEW YORK — A decade ago, Katy Perry could sing the al­pha­bet and top the mu­sic charts. Her name was syn­ony­mous with be­ing No. 1 on the Bill­board chart, as the pop star logged hit af­ter hit with an­thems like “Teenage Dream,” “Fire­work,” “Roar” and more.

But as the say­ing goes, when you’re on top, the only way to go is down.

That was part of Perry’s ex­pe­ri­ence roughly three years ago when she re­leased “Wit­ness,” which had some success but didn’t dom­i­nate the charts like she’s used to do­ing. Though first sin­gle “Chained to the Rhythm” be­came a Top 5 hit, the other sin­gles fiz­zled, and the star’s pop­u­lar­ity dwin­dled as new­com­ers, mainly bud­ding rap stars, took over the mu­sic scene.

“I wasn’t get­ting as high on my own sup­ply as I used to any­more,” Perry said. “It’s like I had been to the top of the moun­tain. I’d seen the view. I had got­ten too used to it. So, of course, the uni­verse de­cided to come and say, ‘All right sweetie, let’s fig­ure this one out.’

“I def­i­nitely had to go on a real emo­tional, psy­cho­log­i­cal and spir­i­tual jour­ney dur­ing those years to find my smile, ’cause I lost it.”

“Smile,” her fifth ma­jor-la­bel al­bum, will be re­leased Fri­day and at a time when the 35-year-old — who is en­gaged to ac­tor Or­lando Bloom and close to giv­ing birth to a girl — is think­ing about life dif­fer­ently.

Q. What will fans hear on “Smile”?

A. It’s a record full of hope­ful­ness and re­silience and a lit­tle bit of joy and some fun . ... I think that it’s al­ways a good time to have a lit­tle hope in­jected, es­pe­cially th­ese days. This record is re­ally talk­ing about my own ex­pe­ri­ence in walk­ing through hell and find­ing the light and com­ing out of that. So if any­one else is hav­ing that same jour­ney and can be in­spired by the pos­i­tiv­ity and the hope in­side of it, then I’m happy for it.

Q. On the ti­tle track you sing: “Had a piece of hum­ble pie/That ego check saved my life.” What made you write that lyric?

A. I am not in­vin­ci­ble. I am not per­fect. I have fallen flat on my face so many dif­fer­ent times and learned from that growth and have been liv­ing in the public, in the spot­light for over 12 years, and have had mo­ments that were re­ally in­tense. For me, I don’t nec­es­sar­ily like to avoid or ig­nore, I just like to come to terms. I’m like, “Look, I needed that. That was a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.” Ob­vi­ously when you’re in it, you hate it. But I do be­lieve that you have the choice when you can zoom out just a lit­tle bit from the sit­u­a­tion and say, “OK, what am I get­ting from this? Where is the les­son? Where is the growth?” Not just like, “F-it all to hell, Joyce Ann, just burn! Every­thing should just burn!” But where is the grat­i­tude for this ob­sta­cle?

Q. It’s the 10-year an­niver­sary of “Teenage Dream,” which matched the record Michael Jack­son’s “Bad” set for most No. 1 sin­gles from an al­bum. How does it feel when you think about that al­bum and pe­riod of your life?

A. “Teenage Dream,” it re­ally en­cap­su­lated this fan­tas­ti­cal view of love. It was nos­tal­gic in some ways. It was a spe­cial mo­ment and I can’t be­lieve 10 years has passed. I’m kind of happy that “Smile” is com­ing out around the same time. It’s like, “All right, let’s dip into that en­ergy.”

Q. Mariah Carey men­tioned that be­ing preg­nant made her voice stronger. Has be­ing preg­nant done any­thing to your voice?

A. It’s in­ter­est­ing hav­ing 45 ex­tra pounds just kind of like sit­ting on you; 30 of that is just right here on my lung ca­pac­ity. It’s not been too chal­leng­ing, but I’ve def­i­nitely had to change a cou­ple of keys. But I think that’s just be­cause of the phys­i­cal in­ten­sity of it. I’ve been so ac­tive. I’ve been do­ing the most. I go to the open­ing of ev­ery Zoom link. I am a mom on the move. I am pro­mot­ing. Do not say that I did not work hard!

Q. How is wed­ding plan­ning go­ing dur­ing the pan­demic?

A. We have ideas but any­one that makes plans in 2020 is just a lit­tle LOL. There’s big­ger things go­ing on in the world. I don’t want to say, “Oh, how sad is it that I had to post­pone or can­cel or what­ever.” It’s so many other hor­ri­ble things go­ing on. What we’re hop­ing for is just a safe, healthy baby. That’s the next thing on the cal­en­dar that we can look for­ward to.

AP

Katy Perry, whose new al­bum “Smile” will be re­leased Fri­day, per­forms be­fore the start of the Women’s T20 World Cup cricket fi­nal match be­tween Aus­tralia and In­dia in Mel­bourne in March.

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