Music Article

'Kiss' Me, Katy

How Katy Perry went from Christian rock to ''I Kissed a Girl'' -- ''One of the Boys'' is about to debut and Perry may just become a household name

Her bi-curious pop-rock ditty ''I Kissed a Girl'' (not a cover of the '95 Jill Sobule hit) is currently racing up digital-songs charts, and no less an icon than Madonna publicly justified her love for the previous single, ''Ur So Gay.'' But Katy Perry, a sort of Avril-Alanis hybrid in a Betty Boop bustier, swears she's no one-topic pony. ''It's supercoincidental!'' insists the 23-year-old, whose full-length debut, One of the Boys, arrives June 17. ''When the label wanted to go with 'I Kissed a Girl' for a single, I was like, 'Nooo! I'm gonna come off like that's the only subject I know how to sing about.'''

Sexuality and rock music were hardly dinner-table talk in the Santa Barbara native's household. Raised by pastor parents, Perry says with a laugh, ''The only things I was allowed to listen to were the Sister Act 1 and 2 soundtracks.'' In 2001, she released a Christian pop-rock album; since then, it's been a long, windy road to secular success, even after lengthy collaborations in L.A. with famed songwriter-producers the Matrix and Glen Ballard: ''I was signed to Island Records, dropped, signed to Columbia, dropped, and then — just when I was ready to pack my bags and go home — Capitol signed me.''

Now preparing for a summer on the road with the Vans Warped Tour, Perry happily lays out her long-term goal. ''Ultimately,'' she declares with the trademark chutzpah of her most famous fan, ''I want Katy Perry to be as much of a household name as Madonna.''

Originally posted May 30, 2008 Published in issue #995-996 Jun 06, 2008 Order article reprints

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