Why Did Katy Perry Quit Christian Music?
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 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
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.