ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Celebrities

Why Did Katy Perry Quit Christian Music?

Updated on May 21, 2013

Katy Perry started her music career as a Christian artist. At that time, she went by her name Katy Hudson and released a self-titled gospel album. Katy gave up Christian music and went on to have a hugely successful pop music career with hits like Firework, I Kissed a Girl, Hot n' Cold, The One That Got Away and Last Friday Night.

Many of Perry's detractors accused her of giving up Christian music because her gospel career failed. The implication is that she is opportunistic. The gospel thing didn't work out, so she jumped ship and pursued a pop music career instead. However, if you look at the facts, this clearly isn't the case.

Listen to Katy Perry's Gospel Songs on YouTube

The Alanis Morrisette Influence

Katy Perry's Gospel Career

Katy Perry was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. She is the second of three children born to two Pentecostal Christian pastors. As a child, Katy grew up singing in her parents' church. She called her upbringing "uniquely strict." She was only allowed to listen to gospel music as a child. The Hudson children were very sheltered and knew little outside of the church. Perry's older sister Angela said she heard about Michael Jackson for the first time when she was 14.

When Katy was 15, she signed onto a Christian music label called Red Hill. She recorded a self titled gospel album Katy Hudson. Despite the fact that she was still a child, she wrote and co-wrote all of the songs on the album. The record label went bankrupt leaving Katy to promote the album on her own. Without the support of a record company to assist with promotion the album sold only about 200 copies (the album is now available to buy as an mp3 download on amazon.com and iTunes). Despite this failure, Katy's Christian music career was hardly over. She could have, if she desired, continued to pursue a career in Christian music. Many of the songs on her debut album were quite good. Katy very likely would have been a successful Christian artist if she had tried.

Katy initially pursued a career in Christian music because that was all she knew. She was a minor who did what her parents expected her to do. After hearing the music of Queen and Alanis Morrisette, Katy decided to pursue a pop music career. Her early efforts were clearly influenced by Morrisette. She made the decision to move to pop music when she was only 17. She left high school, earned her GED and moved from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles.

Katy Perry's Struggle to Enter the Music Industry

Katy's move toward pop music was far from smooth sailing. She struggled for six years to find success. She had no money. She was dropped by two record labels in that time. She recorded two albums, one with a group called The Matrix and another that is known as (A) Katy Perry. Neither album was released (The Matrix album was released after Katy made it big). Perry was completely devastated when she was dropped by her second label Columbia. According to a friend, she started partying a lot as a way to drown her sorrows before pulling herself back together. She worked hard, built up a following singing live at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles and collaborated with other artists. Perry finally signed a contract with Capitol Records and released her first successful album titled One of the Boys.

Katy Perry clearly experienced far more failure in secular music than she did in Christian music, yet she persisted despite being told by many people that she would probably never get another recording contract after things didn't work out with Columbia Records. If Perry was as opportunistic as her detractors try to claim, she would have tried to make a move back to gospel music. She didn't do that. Rock and pop were clearly her passion and she stuck with it.

Katy Hudson Album Cover
Katy Hudson Album Cover

Katy Perry on her Christian Background

Is Katy Perry Still a Christian?

Many people think Katy Perry is no longer a Christian. She has said that people love stories about good girls gone bad but she still has a very close relationship with her parents. She admits that she did rebel against her overly strict upbringing.

It's actually quite common for kids who are very sheltered to go wild when they have freedom. She said she wanted to try everything that she had been told was so bad. Her lyrics for her first hit I Kissed a Girl are indicative of that.

It's not what,
Good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

And:

It felt so wrong,
It felt so right

Perry has said that she no longer believes in the conservative Christianity she was raised with but she still believes in God. She did a cover of Sam Sparro's song Black and Gold that says this about God:

'Cause if you're not really here
Then the stars don't even matter
Now I'm filled to the top with fear
That it's all just a bunch of matter

'Cause if you're not really here
Then I don't want to be either
I wanna be next to you
Black and gold

Perry said the following about a Lady Gaga video for the song Alejandro that some Christians considered blasphemous:

I am sensitive to Russell (her ex-husband) taking the Lord’s name in vain and to Lady Gaga putting a rosary in her mouth. I think when you put sex and spirituality in the same bottle and shake it up, bad things happen. Yes, I said I kissed a girl. But I didn’t say I kissed a girl while [expletive] a crucifix.”

She has made religious references in her songs Wide Awake (God knows that I tried, Seeing the bright side) and Who Am I Living For? (So I pray for favor like Esther, I need your strength to handle the pressure, I know there will be sacrifice, But that's the price). In an interview a couple of years ago, she referred to Jesus as the Lord Jesus Christ. She often wears a guitar strap with a cross on it. She has a "Jesus" tattoo on her wrist. She is definitely still a Christian. Of course, her Christian beliefs are clearly very liberal. She had this to say about President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage:

My viewpoint on all these things—equality for women, the choice to love anyone you want—hopefully, we will look back at this moment and think like we do now concerning other civil rights issues. We’ll just shake our heads in disbelief, saying, ‘Thank God we’ve evolved.’ That would be my prayer for the future.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 3 years ago

      trusouldj,

      Thanks for the response. I can't imagine it was ever in many stores since it only sold a few hundred copies.

    • trusouldj profile image

      trusouldj 3 years ago from Indiana

      Sorry Joan, I didn't see your comment until just now. If I remember correctly, Katy was on Red Hill Records and they sent me a copy to review on my website. Though I liked it a bit, I eventually weeded it out my collection. Currently it is on Amazon.com. I believe you can find it under Katy Perry if you look. But especially under Katy Hudson. And yes, it was available in stores. Especially in the Family Christian Store [Family Bookstore] which features great alternative Christian artists [Rap, Techno, etc.]

    • profile image

      hra 4 years ago

      Music is a sin according to many, I personally say its what you sing and what you portray. Dancing is not a sin , only if its provacative. dancing is for excersize and for self esteem. Its what you sing and what you dance to. Always praise the Lord and ask him if you think its right, and you will hear that inner voice and you will know the answer. Ask God and you will hear him.

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 4 years ago

      Ted,

      Wasn't Jesus the one who opposed judgmentalism and disliked religious leaders who tried to force beliefs on others?

    • profile image

      Ted 4 years ago

      Noah, Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and even Jesus had a minority opinion, too.

    • profile image

      azizaii 4 years ago

      i am doing my project about you Katy perry

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 4 years ago

      Of course, Scott, that's you're personal interpretation and a minority one at that. It isn't fair to assume it's the correct one. You should let other Christians decide for themselves what being Christian really means.

    • profile image

      Scott 4 years ago

      I can't say much about Katy's relationship with God. However, as Christians we ARE told to judge one another's works (not really a part of the bible that many people want to reference). Just because someone gives a mental ascent to God or "The Lord Jesus Christ" does not mean they follow Him or that they LOVE Him. He says "If you love me, keep my commandments." Not "keep the ones you want and throw out the ones that don't fit in with your lifestyle or world view. We have not evolved. Morality is disappearing. And saying God or Jesus or getting a tattoo doesn't mean anything. The devil himself knows God exists... the demons know Jesus' name and tremble.

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      AaronHubb89,

      I don't think you sounded rude at all. Plenty of Christians don't think homosexuality is wrong. Clearly Katy Perry doesn't think it is and she doesn't feel like people should be condemned for being what they are. Gay youth commit suicide at very high rates because they don't feel accepted. She was trying to tell gay youth and other kids who don't feel good about themselves that they matter in her Fireworks song and video. That's very Christian in my view. I think love and concern for others is really the heart of Christianity.

    • profile image

      AaronHubb89 5 years ago

      lol I don't want to sound arrogant and often times I do so please don't take this as offensive BUT the main problem is that you said "people disagree on what it means to be a Christian" I'm not the kind that wants people to tell me what it means to be a Christian nor do I want to force my beliefs on others, BUT I do think people should challenge themselves and really dig into the word, for instance, read the entire book of Romans and you have a clear understanding of what is wrong and right and I think Katy Perry identifies with a lot of what's wrong.

      In reference to you saying that "I Kissed A Girl" is just a song about an experience in her life, well, that's all fine and good, honestly, the more of your life that you have been through that can be a witness to others who may be struggling is good. But, I don't feel she was singing about it in the sense that it was wrong (cause it is) and I do feel she was glorifying the act. Once again, there are clear verses that are against homosexuality and I don't think a Christian should sing about how it's okay, much like is portrayed in her Firework music video.

      I'm not wanting to come off as arrogant or rude, please understand, I'm simply just saying that her lifestyle is not aligning up to the Word of God and I understand people fall and fail. The Bible even says that a wise man falls seven times and rises seven times, but I don't see the rise in Katy Perry's life and all of her good works may be well good, but we are not saved through works, we are saved by believing in Jesus Christ and that means, we believe the entire Word of God is "breathed out by God" as it says, which condemns many of the things which Katy Perry endorses.

      Sorry if I seemed rude, it's not my intention to. God bless.

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      AaronHubb89,

      People disagree on what it means to be a Christian. She's very active in good causes, so she is using her talents well in my view. People focus too much on a song like I Kissed a Girl, which was about an experience in her life. But she also sings very meaningful songs like Firework, Pearl, It's Ok to Believe, Circle the Drain and Who Am I Living For?

    • profile image

      AaronHubb89 5 years ago

      I would never claim to say to know her relationship with God because, well, I'm me and me is nobody really. But, I would say that she doesn't spread a message that a Christian should. I believe she may believe some things but may not understand it. It's just like the parable that Jesus spoke of. I think if she truly loved the Lord, she would read more into the Word to gain a better understanding and thus use her talents for God. I don't think "I Kissed A Girl" is really something Christians ought to be singing.

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      TJ,

      Without a doubt, people are often talking out of ignorance. But it isn't that hard to find the facts.

    • profile image

      TJ 5 years ago

      I think a lot of people who criticize Perry for making the move to pop are probably completely ignorant of the fact that she was only 17 at the time. It's not like she gave up Christian music after a decade because it wasn't making her rich enough. It's something she had a strong desire to do.

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      Psychicdog,

      I've read so many comments from people saying that they are praying for Perry to come back to Christianity. I'm not sure exactly what they mean by that since she never stopped being a Christian. Some people probably assume that if she gave up Christian music, it must be because she left Christianity. But others probably feel that because she doesn't subscribe to their interpretation anymore that she isn't a real Christian.

    • psychicdog.net profile image

      psychicdog.net 5 years ago

      You make some great points JoanCA - what an overly strict upbringing can do to someone - I could relate to that . Also, I think being a Christian can have a very wide definition (otherwise things can get illogical and awry) so I don't think Kate has necessarily abandoned her faith or it's central message of love. Besides that Jesus has not abandoned her either!

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      trusouldj,

      I'd love to know where you got it at that time. Was it ever available in stores?

    • trusouldj profile image

      trusouldj 5 years ago from Indiana

      I actually had Katy Hudson's album when it first came out. I liked it, but ended up donating it to the library. Had no idea she would reemerge several years later.

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      I love Sam Cooke. I didn't even know he did gospel.

    • e-five profile image

      John C Thomas 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois, USA

      There was a huge scandal when gospel singer Sam Cooke began singing secular pop music in the 1950s. Many of his gospel fans never forgave him.

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      Alecia,

      Being sheltered definitely has an impact. She has said herself that she rebelled against it.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I don't consider anyone who is a Christian less so just because they pursue secular music. But I also think that being sheltered so long does have an effect on someone; I think overall she's done pretty well considering how her life has changed. But I'm sure she has a lot more she'd like to accomplish. Interesting hub.

    • JoanCA profile image
      Author

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      I would assume that most Christians who want to be singers actually do secular music. Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez are coming to mind right now. Few people who start out in Christian music switch to rock and pop though. But like I said, Katy Perry was just a teenager and really not making her own decisions when she entered gospel music. Since she was so sheltered she didn't even have exposure to anything other than gospel until she was a teenager. When she was old enough to make decisions for herself she chose rock and pop. Keeping her faith would mean different things to different people. Perry comes across to me as a really decent person. She's very accessible to her fans and very respectful of her parents.

    • davenstan profile image

      Katina Davenport 5 years ago

      Interesting. Usually, Christians that are singers will strive for a career in Christian music. I find it difficult to believe that she is still keeping her faith sacred as she did when she was a child. I believe that she still reverences her faith or at least believes in God. I don't claim to know what's in her heart, but I think she has recognition for the Christian faith.