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August 18, 2010 / Author

Katy Perry Is A Miley Fan

LOS ANGELES — Sorry, scandal buffs, this kitty isn’t catty. Katy Perry’s claws are fully retracted on the topic of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift, her rumored rivals.”Some people have a secret fetish to start catfights, and they want me to be more competitive than I actually am,” Perry says. “I’m a fan of Rihanna and Taylor and Gaga and Beyoncé and Miley and all those girls. We can coexist because we each bring something different to the table. That’s what’s great about female pop music these days. The ones who are shining are contributing to this big colorful spectrum.” 

The fastest-rising single at pop radio in four years, Gurls set a Mediabase top 40 airplay record with 13,167 spins in a single week. On USA TODAY’s airplay charts, it’s No. 1 at hot adult contemporary and No. 4 at top 40. It spent six weeks atop Billboard‘s Hot 100 and has sold 3.4 million digital copies (on top of the 12.2 million tracks Boys generated), according to Nielsen SoundScan. 

Gurls, an electro-poppy West Coast cheer touting Daisy Dukes, bikini tops and Popsicle-melting suntans, “is a fun, easygoing song, but it’s not my opus,” says Perry, who saw the tune as a splashy launch but is eager to share Dream cuts that reveal less dizzy aspects of her personality. 

“After I Kissed a Girl, I knew it would take time to not look like a one-trick pony,” she says. “This album is a perfect snapshot of where I am mentally and emotionally.” 

Kitschy with a side of serious  

Discussing her affection for cats, evolving religious beliefs and early pop failures, Perry, 25, bares a subtle, serious side in stark contrast to the goofy coquette whose bra squirts whipped cream in the Gurls video. In a pale, filmy sundress and no makeup, her hair pulled back, she’s the translucent flipside of the fashion-infatuated cover girl who flaunts blue wigs, ample face paint, retro frocks, big bows and fruit motifs. 

Yet Katy kitsch abounds in the sparsely appointed 1920s Loz Feliz home she shares with younger brother David, 21. Pink flamingos rim the pool. A cotton candy machine, pink fridge, red polka-dot teakettle and “Team Krusty” neon sign brighten the kitchen and dining room. 

Though what she calls “touches of cuteness” reveal a genuine daffy nature, the maturity and thoughtfulness displayed on Dream are no less real, Perry says. 

“I relate to young women,” she says. “It’s the subject I can be most honest about. Lyrics are my focus, my forte, the black box of my heart. I don’t censor myself in songs.” 

Self-empowerment and the search for lasting love are cherished themes. “Show ’em what you’re worth,” she commands on inspiring dance-rocker Firework. Not Like the Movies and The One That Got Away are wistful, grown-up reflections on romance. Pearl examines a woman suffering under a domineering partner. And the goth-metallic Circle the Drain finds Perry fiercely ripping a drugged-out ex. 

“That’s my You Oughta Know,” she says, without divulging particulars. “It was hard to write because I stored away that feeling and had to conjure it back up. It’s a cliché to say writing songs is therapeutic, but it’s true.” 

Dreams doesn’t skimp on teenage escapism. Likely to follow Gurls up the charts are hangover singalong Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) and the randy guy-leering Peacock

Friday “is my Waking Up in Vegas 2.0,” says Perry, predicting it will sweep sorority houses. “It’s one of those no-brainer radio songs. Remember when I Gotta Feeling came out? I’m like, really? But a week later, I’m going, ‘Mazel tov!’ like everyone else.” 

Peacock‘s crude wordplay sprang from observing the strutting polygamous male birds during a trip to India. “I’ve always been obsessed with birds,” she says. “Peacocks have all these colors, can’t fly and sound like cats. And the name! I love double-entendres and puns.” 

She collaborated with such pop pros as Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Greg Wells, co-writing the 12 tracks and never surrendering her vision to steer Dreams toward both the hips and the heart. 

“I wanted more tempo. I wanted people to move more, get sandwiched between each other and not know if the sweat is their own or someone else’s. In doing so, I didn’t want to sacrifice storytelling or depth.” 

Her campy style, sexy image and processed sound are magnets for sneers, yet Perry has won over most critics. 

“She’s actually a terrific singer, and that’s undervalued about her,” says freelance music critic Mikael Wood, who writes for Spin and Entertainment Weekly. “She’s outrageous, and that’s a common model these days, but she has the most fun with it. Lady Gaga does not seem to be having that much fun. Katy sells the idea that she’s having a good time.” (The good-time girl’s latest frolic: Perry crashed a prom in Melbourne, Australia, over the weekend, where she belted out Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.) 

And while Gaga seems intent on building her legacy, Perry projects an effortlessness that fans delight in, he says. Enhancing her shelf life is a serious singer/songwriter side evident in her 2009 MTV Unpluggeddisc and quieter new tunes. “I don’t know if those kinds of songs will ever be one of her big singles, but it adds to the complete picture,” Wood says. 

Raised in Santa Barbara, Calif., by evangelical pastors, Perry was forbidden from having the secular indulgences that now frame her lifestyle. No TV, music, movies or magazines. 

“I’m still not caught up,” she says. “I rent movies from the ’90s. I finally saw Cluelessa few years ago, and it became my favorite.” 

Determined to become a singer, she dropped out of high school as a freshman. 

“Sometimes my grammar is off, and I guess my spelling is bad, but I have spellcheck,” she says. “I’d love to be tutored and study art history and learn another language. But I left school because I knew who I was and what I wanted.” 

Her 2001 debut, a Christian album, evaporated after small label Red Hill folded later that year. She signed with Columbia, which dropped her after shelving two pop albums. 

“My vision was too strong for those other labels,” Perry says, adding that disappointment and rejection only strengthened her resolve. “Letdowns helped shape my confidence. I’m not bothered by criticism. I never want to be Miss Popular. People who want to be perfectly viewed come off as brainless. 

“After leaving home, I was working a horrible job, depressed and had no money,” she says. “But at 17, I felt so invincible. I could fly if I wanted to. Someone telling me ‘no’ was like throwing a pebble at a bulletproof vest. OK, next! I said if I didn’t make it by 25, I would do something new.” 

Though ambitions often conflicted with her faith, Perry maintains a “direct connection” to Christianity but adds, “I don’t think a lot of people would consider me a Christian. 

“I came from a background where I wasn’t allowed to ask a lot of questions. Now I’m asking questions. It’s a pilgrimage. Sometimes it’s a lazy journey, unfortunately.” 

Her parents may cringe at her naughty get-ups or controversial interviews, but they’ve supported her move into the pop realm. 

“I’ll see my mom and she’ll go, ‘Aah, put a top on!’ or she’ll skip a certain song on the CD,” Perry says. “But my parents have no mixed feelings. They support and love me.” 

Personal life is public  

Perry is living her teenage dream, onstage and off. She’s engaged to British actor/comedian Russell Brand, who inspired love songs Hummingbird Heart and Not Like the Movies

“You know when you know, and I just knew,” says Perry, who met Brand two years ago on the set of Get Him to the Greek. (Her cameo was cut.) “He stopped my world. He’s someone I can count on, a life partner. And I’m wildly attracted to him. I do feel a little bit like Priscilla Presley. It’s been so lovely.” 

The pop-culture power couple have been candid about their romance and frequently trade playful jabs in the media and on Twitter (she has 3.4 million followers, he has 1.3 million). In June, he dubbed her a “flatulence factory.” She retaliated with the Twitter campaign #russellhasastinkbum. 

The relationship “is a complete ongoing episode of I Love Lucy,” Perry says. “Before we met, we were both open about our lives and viewpoints. With me, what you see is what you get, with a little more glitter, of course.” 

As for the wedding talk, the couple hope to keep the date and location under wraps, then intend to stem the flow of personal data after the nuptials. 

“We played along,” she says. “Some things are just for us, OK, guys? Let’s get back to work.”

 SOURCE: USAToday / Thanks @MileyLiamFan @MemiSupportUK @MilesUpdates @x0LifesGood0x!


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