Katy Perry or Katheryn Hudson was born October 24, 1984 in Santa Barbara, California. Her parents, Mary and Keith, are devout Christians thus Katy began singing in her family’s church as a young child and continued to do so through her teenage years.
Optimistic about a career in music, she graduated high school early, and started recording demos. She was soon signed to Red Hill records, a Christian music label. Her self-titled Christian pop album, Katy Hudson, was released in 2001. Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine, said at the time,
Katy had a hand in writing all the songs on the album. It's interesting to note that the ones she wrote by herself are as good as if not better than the ones she cowrote.
Katy Hudson's debut easily could have been just another teen songwriter mimicking mainstream music trends with Christian lyrics. Instead, I hear a remarkable young talent emerging, a gifted songwriter in her own right who will almost certainly go far in this business. That name again is Katy Hudson. Trust me, you'll be hearing it more and more in the next year.
Red Hill records soon went out of business and Katy's album faded. At this time, Katy changed her name to Perry, her mother’s maiden name, to avoid confusion with actress Kate Hudson. At this time in her career, Katy worked on unsuccessful singing projects, which included being signed and dropped by Columbia Records. After doing smaller singing jobs, she caught the attention of Capitol Music, who signed her in 2007.
In 2008, Perry had a hit single with “I Kissed a Girl,” which was number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for seven consecutive weeks. Perry received criticism from Christian organizations for the songs alleged pro-homosexuality message; yet, she also received criticism from gay rights groups who accused her of exploiting a lifestyle to make money.
A British tabloid, The Daily Mail, quoted Perry’s mother as saying,
Katy knows how I feel. We are a very outspoken family, and she knows how disappointed her father and I are. I can't even listen to that song. The first time I heard it I was in total shock. When it comes on the radio, I bow my head and pray.
Perry later denied the accuracy of this quote to MTV, saying her parents support her career and attend her concerts.
Perry's live performance at the 2014 Grammy Awards triggered controversy in some circles for its seeming portrayal of withcraft and Satanism. The song she sang, called "Dark Horse," is generally interpreted as a message about addiction, however, the imagery of Perry used in the performance is tradionally assocaited with occult practices.