August 14, 2020
Nine months pregnant with an album due at the same time as the baby, the star once known for her unfiltered goofiness has evolved. She talks depression, cancel culture – and her return to pure pop
Via a webcam into her Los Angeles home, Katy Perry slowly descends into frame, nine months pregnant with her first child. She looks like the Virgin Mary via Warhol in a voluminous azure dress and a matching pearl-studded headband. “The conception was not virginal, I’ll tell you that,” she says with trademark cartoonish verve. All that’s visible of her house is a lustrous brown curtain, the stage for her recent promo activities. She estimates that this is her 70th interview about her fifth album, Smile. (Going by the banal, grin-and-bear-it US radio interviews, she has the patience of a saint if not the impregnation tactics.) Baby and record were neck-and-neck until production delays bumped the latter to 28 August: the girl she and fiance Orlando Bloom have nicknamed “Kicky Perry” comes first.
The pandemic only slightly skewed her plans: Perry, 35, always intended to release the album, have a baby and skip touring, resenting the suggestion that she should have to choose. That said, it has helped that every pop star is working from home. “It’s not like I was some witch with a spell: I’m gonna do it this way so you’re gonna do it this way,” she says with mock glee. “But yes, I probably don’t have as much Fomo as I would have if the world hadn’t shifted.” Last night she was filming a video until 2am, her last big commitment: “There is definitely a groundedness of: ‘Here’s the music, enjoy, love ya, I’m out!’”