Katy Perry has reflected on the public response to her latest album, ‘Witness’, admitting that the negative backlash to the release “broke her heart”.
Prior to its June 2017 release, Katy teased ‘Witness’ by suggesting it would be an album packed with “purposeful pop”, led by first single ‘Chained To The Rhythm’, which evoked political imagery in its lyrics and accompanying performances.
However, when the album eventually debuted, it was met with a lukewarm response, with many of Katy’s fans suggesting her new material (including heavy-on-the-innuendo sex jam ‘Bon Appétit’ and Taylor Swift diss track ‘Swish Swish’) wasn’t as “purposeful” as they’d been led to believe, while a lot of critics were also left unimpressed with the quality of the music.
Discussing a “personal growth retreat” she attended last January, Katy told Vogue Australia: “I have had bouts of situational depression and my heart was broken last year because, unknowingly, I put so much validity in the reaction of the public, and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected to … which broke my heart.
“Music is my first love and I think it was the universe saying: ‘Okay, you speak all of this language about self-love and authenticity, but we are going to put you through another test and take away any kind of validating “blankie”. Then we’ll see how much you do truly love yourself.’”
She added: “That brokenness, plus me opening up to a greater, higher power and reconnecting with divinity, gave me a wholeness I never had. It gave me a new foundation. It’s not just a material foundation: it’s a soul foundation.”
The chief of Katy’s label, Steve Barnett, admitted earlier this year to having had “tough conversations” with the singer about the public’s reaction to ‘Witness’, suggesting the five-year gap between that release and her third album, ‘Prism’, was to blame.
“I talk about how engagement is so important,” he told Variety. “And I don’t believe you can have big [breaks] between projects... I think that’s changed.
“And so you sit down and have tough conversations with her and management. As successful as you’ve been, you learn.
“Personally I’ve learned more from our mistakes than our successes and I believe our artists are in the same category as that. But she has a plan, and we have a plan, and I feel good about it.”
Katy is currently on her ‘Witness’ world tour, which hit the UK last month, and wraps up in Australia in August.
Read Katy’s full interview in Vogue Australia.