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Learning English Through Music: Katy Perry

Learn English by reading and listening to the article. Then open the activities on the right side of the page. Skill Level: BEGINNER

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson is her birth name, however, many teenagers and her fans know her by her stage name, Katy Perry. She was born on October 25, 1984, in Santa Barbara, California. Raised by Christian pastor parents, she grew up listening to only gospel music.

“When I made my gospel record, I was fifteen, and I was still kinda under my parent’s household, and beyond that, that was the only thing that really mattered to me at that moment as a fifteen year old young lady. And so, I sang about that, and that was the only thing I knew. I didn’t really have any other social life, or I didn’t know pop culture because growing up, I grew up with two ministers as parents, two parents as ministers and so everything was really related to faith. So naturally, I sang about what I knew, which was that. And then, I had a very short-lived career, if you would even call it a career, maybe a couple month career in the gospel music industry that didn’t last long. I wanted to be successful, but unfortunately, my record label that signed me, they went under and so did my record."

Learning English Through Music: Katy Perry
Learning English Through Music: Katy Perry
Later on, in her teen years, Katy decided to leave home and moved to Los Angeles to start her career in music.

“I just wanted to keep making music, and I moved away from home when I was seventeen with the blessing of my parents to Los Angeles, and I started working with this producer named Glen Ballard who is a lovely producer. He produced ‘Jagged Little Pill’ for Alanis Morrisette and naturally, I just started to kinda grow up and see things in my life for the first time without any rules or regulations. It’s not that I went crazy about it, but I just started singing about what I was going through without blinders I guess, and I started to become this sponge and just soak everything up. I never put any kind of limitations on what I should say when I’m writing a song. I’ve lived such a full life already I think, I sang kinda about the emotional rollercoaster of a young seventeen to twenty-three year old woman.”

In 2007, Katy Perry rose to prominence with her hit “You’re So Gay.”

You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys

No you don’t even like

No you don’t even like

No you don’t even like boys.

You’re so gay and you don’t even like boys,

No you don’t even like

No you don’t even like

No you don’t even like….

You’re so sad maybe you should buy a happy meal.

You're so skinny you should really supersize the deal.

Secretly, you’re so amused and nobody understands.

Learning English Through Music: Katy Perry
Learning English Through Music: Katy Perry
Katy says telling a story is important to her when she is writing a song. She says what makes a song fun is when the words to the song are colorful and it makes you want to sing along.

“I love putting a sense of humor in my lyrics. I like telling stories is pretty much the most important thing to me. It annoys me so much when you hear a good song on the radio, but it says absolutely nothing, you’re like ‘what is this song even mean?’ What’s really exciting is when you hear a good, fun pop song and there is an interesting colorful lyric to match with it so it makes you want to really sing along.”

California girls, we’re unforgettable

Daisy dukes, bikinis on top

Sun-kissed skin, so hot

We’ll melt your popsicle

Learning English Through Music: Katy Perry
Learning English Through Music: Katy Perry
Singing isn’t the only thing Katy Perry is doing. The singer- songwriter has also extended her brand into beauty, creating her own signature perfume fragrance named ‘Purr’. Katy’s love for cats influenced both her decision to create the perfume and its design.

Earlier this summer, Katy Perry was chosen to be the voice actor for the character ‘Smufette’ in the American 3D family film “The Smurfs.” Perry says there were a few reasons why she took the part.

“I was just really kind of drawn to it because she is the only and she’s cute and sassy and you know part of me and my rebellious side was like oh you weren’t allow to watch smurfs growing up so you got the opportunity to be a smurf in the feature film, go for it, so I did that!

Katy Perry enjoys writing music and having fun. The singer-songwriter believes that music is the one place where we all can jump into a fun other world.

“I just like to have fun. We live in an interesting time right now where maybe some people aren’t having fun and they hate their jobs, they don’t have a job and so music is that place where you go to where you put the little earbuds in your ears and you look out the window and you kind of like jump into a fun other world.”