Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D just hit the big screen on the 2nd of July and as the synopsis say’s it really does give you a backstage look into the life of Katy Perry on and off stage, it also show’s a side to her you have never seen before. You can read all about it in our review. Take another inside look into everything Katy in the Interview below.
Katy Perry: Part of Me – The movie is a backstage pass, front row seat and intimate look at the fun, glamorous, heartbreaking, inspiring, crazy, magical, passionate, and honest mad diary of Katy both on and off the stage.
Q: What was it like to watch the film?
Katy: I’d already lived it once, so it was an abbreviated version of what I lived in a whole year, basically. And, of course, there’s all that backstory. I cried a little bit by myself before I watched it, just because it was an intense moment for me and I’ve been through so many intense things in the past year – coming out of that tour and overcoming personal obstacles. The movie came out of a small seed of an idea I had in 2010, and to see that snowball into this huge opportunity is like, ‘Wow, I’m really making my dreams come true, I’m fulfilling my goals.’ And there were some goals that I didn’t think would become a reality – like a partnership with Paramount Studios and dealing with real Hollywood.
Q: What was the original idea?
Katy: The idea was to catch everything on film, and I had a conversation with my management about the possibility of showing it as episodes on the Internet for my fan base, or maybe making it as a television programme or, in our wildest dreams, making a movie out of it. And our wildest dreams came true.
Q: So what was the brief that you gave to the filmmakers?
Katy: I had worked with two East London boys on a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the music video for ‘Firework,’ and they were so great – the textures were great, they made great artistic choices and they have a great cinematic eye. And they were two young guys, they’re called the D.A.R.Y.L boys, Ed [Lovelace] and James [Hall], and I just reached out to them and said, ‘Hi guys, I can feel that something important is about to happen this year and it feels like this big wave is coming and it’s going to be a long one. And I’d like you to come on the road and document the ride.’
Q: Had you any other music films in your mind when you made that call?
Katy: I was inspired by Madonna’s documentary “Truth or Dare.” I loved her documentary and I loved seeing it, because I wasn’t exposed to anything like that, really, when I was growing up. For instance, I want to watch the first “Alien” film, because I want to see “Prometheus,” and I haven’t seen the first one. I wasn’t allowed to watch or hear or be exposed to a lot of different pop culture moments in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when I was a kid, because of my upbringing.
Q: And you gave the filmmakers unlimited access during your California Dreams tour?
Katy: Yes, they came on the road and they shot everything—they were there for probably eight months out of the whole year, and they had over 300 hours of footage. Then, we started taking swings at the idea of making a movie and reached out to a bunch of people – it was a long process. We took it to different studios, and Paramount really latched onto the idea, and they’ve been great partners. We’re so in-synch and we wanted the same thing, and it’s been incredible. And in the movie industry, the summertime is really important. They’re putting it out on such an important weekend, and it’s very exciting – I have Christmas Eve jitters [laughs]. I’m very excited about it, and people seem to be responding to it in a very positive way.
Q: Tell me about the decision to shoot in 3D. It works really well with the concert footage. What does it give the film?
Katy: We filmed that at the Staples Center for two nights with these new 3D cameras that hadn’t been used before—or, at least they hadn’t been used for this type of thing—and the texture is so beautiful. The slow motion shots are great – and I love that we can bring that to this type of film, because it adds some gorgeous nuances and detail. There are a lot different textures in the film that we use to tell the story, because there is a lot of backstory. Overall, I’m very happy with it, and I’m happy with the narrative.
Q: And there is a clear narrative. It’s not just a film of you on tour; it’s a diary of your life up to this point…
Katy: Yes, the narrative is really about overcoming these obstacles of where I came from and who I wanted to be, and my personal obstacle of what I had to get through. And now, I’m still here and I’m still standing. And I think it was important to me to leave in those scenes of me in distress.
Q: Was that a difficult decision?
Katy: Yes, it was a difficult decision, and I get sweaty palms even thinking about it.
Q: No, it doesn’t. But it is poignant and it’s honest. But clearly you could have left those scenes out. Why did you feel it was important to include them?
Katy: Well, it’s the elephant in the room that I couldn’t avoid or ignore, because it would be ignorant of me to think I could make a complete film without even touching on it. And I’ve always wanted every choice I make to have integrity. Sometimes, that’s not the easy choice, but hopefully, what people get from this is that they don’t have to change who they are to fulfil their dreams. That’s what I believe and that’s what I’ve tried to do myself.
Q: It shows too, that no matter what was going on backstage – no matter how upset you were – you still have that ‘the show must go on’ mentality….
Katy: You have to find a balance between being a human being and a performer. I know that it’s important for me to realise that this is a job at this level and to separate my personal life from my professional life and the fact of the matter is that we all have obstacles and problems in our lives. It would be unfair for me to press my problems on to my audience who were never there to experience that – they were there to be entertained, they were there to have a great time, they were all in costume and so I had to turn that side of me off when I went on stage.
Q: What also comes across is that there are your two families in the film, if I can put it that way. Your parents and your siblings, and then the family that you have gathered around you…
Katy: My team. My village…
Q: And they are clearly very important to you…
Katy: Yes, absolutely, and they help me in different ways. My family is my family – there is no running away from your family, whether you love them or hate them or disagree with them at certain times. I adore my parents, but can be completely annoyed with them at the same time. It’s the dynamic that most parents and children have, I think. But they are my parents, and that’s what I’ve been given, and that’s what I’ll have for the rest of my life. And my sister, Angela, is a very important key figure in my life, because she is kind of like my warden – she’s the one that keeps me on the ground, and she doesn’t see me as anyone other than her sister. And my brother, David, is the youngest and is really smart and talented. The three of us as siblings are like the Three Amigos—we stick together and we always have each other’s backs. And with my other family, my team who are on the road with me, they work with me, and are very important, too. One of my favorite things is to collect good people, and if I find a good person, I will be loyal to them for the rest of my life…because it’s all about creating a positive atmosphere, great energy and a ‘can do’ attitude. I’ve always had that ‘can do’ attitude myself, even to the point of blind ambition.
Q: Did that ‘can do’ attitude help when you were struggling to make it in the early part of your career?
Katy: Yes. In a lot of ways, that’s really what got me here. Whenever I hear someone say, ‘Well, we can’t do that because of that or this,’ I’m like, ‘Well, let’s work out a solution.’ If there’s a problem, let’s figure out how to solve it. There’s never any doubt with me. Even if it comes down to a physics thing, I still think, ‘But we must be able to figure this out. How do we make that stage work for us in the way that we want? Let’s work it out.’
Q: That ‘can do’ attitude comes across in the film. You clearly had setbacks in your early career when you changed record companies several times, but you never gave up…
Katy: There’s a saying, which rings true in my life, ‘Rejection is God’s protection.’ And it rings true for me, because I think I had to learn those lessons in order to get to this point. Because, every time I learn a lesson, I try not to make the same mistake twice. It was important for me to earn things, to pay my dues. And also, I think people have more respect for an artist when they don’t just show up on the scene and take, take, take—when they’ve been giving out for a long time and gradually succeeding in small steps.
Q: But that’s interesting. You’ve been a judge on shows like the X-Factor, which is all about giving out instant fame, but you have paid your dues…
Katy: Yes, and I think the film gives people more context surrounding that, because a lot of the time, people don’t see the backstory. Or they skim it in a magazine article, but they don’t really realize what it was—so it’s nice to be able to show that.
Q: But we live in an age where some people want to circumvent that, they want to appear on a TV show and be famous the next minute. You’ve done it the old fashioned way…
Katy: I love the old-fashioned way [laughs]. I think the old-fashioned way, for me, seems to be more beneficial, because it seems to be a longer ride. I feel like I can put out a song and ride that song for a long time, rather than having to put out two or three songs and see which ones stick. That’s never the way that I put out singles. I think the idea that you can just be instantly famous is a bit of a false reality. Instant anything sometimes is bad. I think it’s important to grow and evolve as an artist. I don’t mind some of those television shows, but they are not my favorite. Some I like more than others. Whenever I’m on those types of shows, I just try and give honest criticism that hopefully won’t be too detrimental to them—I don’t want them to take it in the wrong way. But I’m very honest when anyone comes to me for an opinion, because I think it’s a waste of time otherwise.
Q: You said earlier that you didn’t grow up with a lot of pop culture, so what was influencing you as a singer and a performer?
Katy: Christian music. At that time, in the late ‘90s, the Christian music scene was parallel to what was going on in the mainstream music scene. We had our versions of Alanis Morissette, we had our versions of all the hip-hop stuff—anything that was going on in the mainstream, we had our Christian alternative to it, which was really funny. It’s not as big these days as it was back then. There was a real movement at the time, and I was influenced by that. When I moved to Nashville at 14, 15, I went back and forth a lot and stayed in this dodgy hotel with my Mom. And I would just surround myself with older, more mature songwriters that would show me how to write a better song, how to put more heart and emotion into a song, to give it a clear story.
Q: Christian songwriters?
Katy: Sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes, it was country music songwriters. And then, I would discover different singer/songwriters along the way.
Q: Give me some examples…
Katy: Well, two women that I listened to growing up and when I went to Nashville were Patty Griffin and Jonatha Brooke, both American artists, and those women, like Alanis Morrisette, too, had lyrics that were just so honest and poignant and connected. And they were mainstream. So I was gathering little bits and pieces of what I would hear when I wasn’t being sheltered by my parents, or chaperoned, I guess you would say, and I would soak it up.
Q: Did you ever feel you were missing out on that mainstream pop culture?
Katy: No, I didn’t know I was missing out. I was in my own world, and everything in my world was related to what my parents thought was best for me.
Q: But when you suddenly went out into the world how did that feel?
Katy: I was, like, the biggest sponge [laughs]. I still am today. I have a deer in the headlights look about me. I’m just very excited to experience and soak up all kinds of facts and information. I love learning. I really have a desire to know more at all times, to never stop. And even with words. I don’t have an ego about the fact that there are things that I don’t know—because I didn’t really go to school, so I’m not very educated, but I’m learning along the way. If I don’t know what a word means, I’ll ask, ‘Can you please define that for me? How do you spell it? What’s it for?” I love language. That’s my job, to communicate. Sometimes, when I find a new word, I’m like, ‘I can use that in a song in the future.’ They are like little treasures.
Q: Another thing that comes out of the film, obviously, is just how long that tour was…
Katy: Yes, looking back at it, I’m very proud that I got through it. I only had to cancel one show, which still sticks in my side a little bit. It was in Michigan. There were a couple of times I had to re-schedule, but I made up those dates along the way. We just kept on expanding. On the previous tour, we were playing venues that were 2,500 to 3,000 in Europe and maybe a little bit more in the States, if I was lucky. On this tour, it was anything from 10,000 to 25,000 in different venues in Europe and the States. It really expanded. We were on tour from February to November .
Q: What does that do to you when you are on the road for so long?
Katy: It’s a routine. I broke it up a lot, and I kind of set a precedent that I wouldn’t do too many shows in a row. At the very most, it was maybe three or four in a row, and then, we would have one or two days off to catch our breath. And every ten days to two weeks, I would put everybody on pause for three or four days, so I could go back, re-charge and see to my relationship…give that time, which was very intense for me, because the show continued to keep going.
Q: That’s a very gruelling schedule. There must have been times when you just wanted to go home and sleep?
Katy: Yes, it was, and there were times when I was completely jet-lagged and I had to go on stage. But, it’s like I pushed a button when I walked onstage. I felt that, because I hadn’t been an overnight success – I had gone step-by-step, and I’d paid my dues. I was repaying my debt to the audience that had believed in me all of this time. And that was very important to me.
Q: That also comes across in the film. The relationship you have with your fans is obviously very important to you…
Katy: Yes. I love people. I’m a people person. I don’t discriminate against anyone. And I know that my fans are the main reason I’m here. Obviously, there are many talented people in the world who don’t get that break, and we all know that. But I know the reason why I got that break, and it’s because I do have that relationship with my fans—they see me on a human level and relate to me. They are the ones giving me this opportunity, and I feel I owe it to them to give something back.
Q: And a lot of your fans are young and impressionable and so is that a responsibility, to be a role model for them?
Katy: Sometimes. It’s a fine line. For me, it’s not appropriate to make life choices for other people, because they all come from different situations and circumstances – some people have great support systems and some people don’t; some people can handle more things and some people weren’t built for those types of things. But hopefully, people can be inspired by the meaning of this movie – if you do want to live out your dreams, you can, but you definitely have to work hard. There will be extreme obstacles, but you have to keep your head up and keep going. In that way, I’m okay with being a role model, and hopefully inspiring them in that sense…and, hopefully, musically inspiring, too. I will continue to stay true to my songwriting and my work. But I’m not a politician, and I don’t please everyone—if you try to be everything to everyone, you wind up being nobody, and I’ve realized that along the way.
Q: Is one of the messages in the film that there is a price that you pay for fame, too?
Katy: Yes, there are definitely sacrifices. But that’s part of a lot of people’s stories, whether they are famous or not. There is sacrifice. You know, heavy is the head that wears the crown. I put that in one of my songs—‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown, don’t let the greatness get you down.’ Sometimes, it can be an extreme pressure, but really, it’s an opportunity. I try and have a positive outlook.
Q: You’ve said before that Alanis Morissette was an influence on you. Have you met her?
Katy: Yes. I hung out with Alanis the other day—she is just so wise beyond her years. She said something that really stayed with me—she said, ‘Transparency is the new mystery.’ I agree with that, because in our culture, in our society, unfortunately, you see a lot of women, a lot of girls, and people who are ‘famous,’ and they are always perfectly presented—I think that can make people feel insecure. They think that they have to appear perfectly presented and perfectly made up, and to have certain possessions or material things that make them seem more of value…and that’s not at all what people should be focused on in order to achieve their dreams. And that’s some of the reasons why I kept those moments in the film where I’m clearly tired and I look horrible, I don’t look like I used to be, perfectly presented at all times. Because I’ve really built up this cartoon image of me and, in some ways, I think it’s time—not necessarily to break that down, but…to show that not only am I Dorothy wearing slippers and I’ve been on this long journey, but also, here’s what’s under the hood. Here’s where I come from.
Q: So you wanted it to be an honest document of that period of your life?
Katy: Yes, it’s a snapshot.
Q: You could have said, ‘Look, we cut there, we don’t need to show me in that vulnerable way…’
Katy: Totally. I was in the edit suite for weeks and saying, ‘No, we have to keep it in.’ And I’ve seen some of the reaction, and it’s ‘Katy Perry without make-up!’ It’s like they caught me—but no, it’s like, ‘Honey, I’m showing you what I want you to see. Don’t worry.’ I just wanted to show what it meant to be here, at this level, at this moment.
Q: Have you changed since the film was made?
Katy: I’ve had to become more responsible. I’m very excited to continue on my evolution, musically—not that I’m trying to alienate the audience I’ve just found, or that have recently become my fans, because I have such a wide range, from seven-years-old to however long you live—but I’m very excited to try different things. And obviously, I feel that I have a lot to say on the next record—I feel I have a lot to flush out of my system for the next record, and I’m very excited to move forward. I’m not saying I’m not going to be the Candy Queen anymore, but I think it’s time for more meat and potatoes [laughs].
Q: What’s happening with the new album?
Katy: We haven’t started yet, but I’m always writing, my wheels are always turning. I haven’t been in the studio except to write and record ‘Wide Awake,’ which is a song I wrote with the film in mind—with the last year in mind—and when the lyric came to me, ‘falling from cloud nine’…because I’ve created this cotton candy cloud, more or less, and the whole album cycle started off with me on this shimmery pink cloud, with a wink and a kiss, all cute, fun and playful. And now, at the end of this whole album experience, it’s almost as if I’ve had to step off of this cloud and face reality. I’m falling from cloud nine and crashing from the sky, crashing from the sweetness of that moment. Now, I think it’s time to open up the gates and show people the truth—the truth about how hard it is to reach this place. And if you want to reach whatever it is you want to reach, it’s not just going to be served to you on a silver platter. There are no lotteries in the music industry anymore.
Q: You had five number ones from one album. Can you ever even think about repeating that?
Katy: I’ll never be able to do that again. No, I take that back, I hope that’s the case. But you can’t set that as a goal. The goal is to make good music and let the music be whatever it wants to be. You would wear yourself out if you try and top yourself. You see it with other artists that try to do that, and it just doesn’t work at a certain point. It’s fraudulent in some ways. For me, it’s just about reinventing without alienating and without self-sabotaging.
Q: What do you hope the audience will get out of this film?
Katy: I hope that people will be inspired and get moving, and I hope that they will be encouraged to know that they don’t have to change into something that they are not in order to succeed. My message is, live a full life and reach your goals, however big or small they may be. I think some of my audience, especially teenagers, can feel a little bit lost about how to get to where they want to go. I think they can be confused about what they want to do in life, and how they want to fulfill their ambitions…because I think we’ve been fed, especially in the last five years or so, the wrong priorities. And although I’ve been susceptible to some of those things, I’ve tried to move beyond that idea that you have to be a victim in order to achieve your dreams.
Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D is now in Cinemas.