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Madonna was onto something when she publicly gushed – twice! – over pop’s new “it” girl, Katy Perry, who had some words for the Michigan-spawned mama: “I would just tell her how cool it is … to have a mom – for especially like someone like her daughter – who knows about music that’s up and coming, and that’s not on the radio.”
Those were the once-Christian singer’s modest words to us – before the tantalizing pop-rocker “I Kissed a Girl” zoomed to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, trumping veterans Coldplay to score the 1,000th No. 1 of the rock era. Not too shabby for someone who, just a couple months ago, was telling us she’s yet to attract radio programmers. Not too shabby at all.
It’s 10:30 a.m. on a late-April day, and Perry’s just rolling out of bed, speaking in a mumbled tone – and occasionally breaking into a yawn – as she reveals that Madonna gave her another shout-out this morning on the Ryan Seacrest morning radio show. And she missed it.
“I gotta stop sleeping in,” she pouts. “Every time I’ve slept in, something like fantastic has happened that like 25 people have tried to call me about, and I wake up and my phone has, like, been ringing off the hook.”
As a politically-incorrect stab at a metrosexual ex, “Ur So Gay,” the quirky first single from her major label debut “One of the Boys” (released last month), sparked similar buzz on the blogosphere, where Perez Hilton praised the sly slice of social commentary and the kitschy, colorful video – starring Barbie and Ken. At first, Perry wasn’t going to make one; then, she considered paying out of her pocket for one, since nobody would back a video. Finally, the label gave in and offered her, quite literally she says, a couple bucks.
She brainstormed with a friend over instant messenger until her longtime muse surfaced: “Well, I always thought we should do something with a Ken doll. Like, isn’t it true that when every girl plays with a Ken doll when they’re young and they switch out his clothes and they look at him, they’re like, ‘What’s wrong, mommy and daddy? Mommy! Daddy! What’s wrong?!'”
Sure, the video’s a laugh-a-second riot, mostly due to the lyrics and Perry’s priceless smirk, but it’s also a relevant dose of reality as gays – in a world with emo, metro and Pete Wentz – try to figure out who’s what, exactly.
“I have a lot of metrosexual friends, and I’m not ashamed of it,” Perry laughs, admitting that her gay-dar is in tip-top shape. “I have all kinds of friends, whether they’re gay, straight, metrosexual, whatever – the line is so blurred between them in 2008 and I know there are other girls who have dated guys who have been like, ‘I wonder – I think he’s gay. Why doesn’t he just come out with it?'”
Like “Ur So Gay,” which was inspired by one guy and exaggerated to the fifth power, “I Kissed a Girl” (not to be confused with Jill Sobule’s 1995 hit of the same name) is a pseudo-lesbian tale, where a drunk Perry brags about lip-locking with a chick. And liking it.
“The song is about the beauty of a woman, really, and how it is true that women are beautiful,” Perry says. “When Angelina Jolie walks into the room, everybody wants to kiss her. Even if you’re a woman, the song is about the undeniable beauty of a woman and how … some times it’s innocent to even have that one feeling.”
She admits to maybe downing too many drinks, going in for some tongue tangling, and then mistaking a woman for her boyfriend. Then, she backpedals: “No, I haven’t actually.” But she was obsessed (her words) with her best (girl)friend growing up.
“She was just like a ballerina and I was just like, ‘I wanna be like you. You’re so beautiful.’ It wasn’t necessarily a homosexual feeling; it was just about the beauty that God had created.”
Sounds like the words of the daughter of two pastors, and Perry is one. She grew up in a religious household (and released a Christian album in 2001), and, before becoming a cross between Alanis Morissette and Avril Lavigne, was hesitant to make Ken and Barbie do dirty things – and listen to anyone who danced around in booby cones.
“I didn’t grow up listening to anything, actually. I was kind of like raised in a strict household and Madonna was the devil – but now she’s one of my favorites,” she says.
Raised on gospel music and hymns (“Oh Happy Day” was a fam fave), the rebellious chick-rocker still maintains a healthy bond with her parents. She was scared, though, about how they would react to a track promoting faux homosexuality and her shamelessly singing lines like, “I hope you hang yourself with your H&M scarf while jacking off listening to Mozart.”
“I’m their daughter,” she says. “What are they gonna do? Disown me? No.”
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