Title & Release Date
Rumblings about the album's title started to take place after attendees of Katy Perry's cherry pie hand-out in New York's Times Square last month noticed "Project Witness" on her food truck's license plate. The singer further ignited name rumors by "pulling a Macy Gray" on the red carpet of the 2017 Met Gala on May 1. Wearing a red Maison Margiela dress, Perry topped off the outfit with a headpiece reading "Witness" -- the "i" cleverly replaced by an illustrated eyeball. Fans started using "Witness" to refer to the unnamed project, as Perry used the eyeball emoji in her tweets and Instagram captions.
Over the weekend, a billboard of an eyeball that Perry used in her social media avatars appeared in Times Square hinting to a "May 15" announcement. Early Monday morning, the singer announced that the album's name was, indeed, Witness, and that its release date is June 9.
Partial Track List
It's expected for "Chained to the Rhythm" -- Witness' lead single, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- to make the track list, as well as "Bon Appétit." In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the singer revealed that she had recorded 40 songs before shaving it down to 15. She confirmed that there will be a "fun dance song" called "Swish Swish" and a response to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential loss titled "Bigger Than Me."
Early in March, the singer teased a clip of a rallying cry she recorded; that ripped footage was removed due to copyright protection. It's yet to be seen if that specific audio will be used on Witness. On Monday, Perry included a snippet of a song presumed to also be titled "Witness" alongside her announcement of news coming the following day.
The Featured Collaborators
"Chained" features a guest verse from Skip Marley, and Migos graces "Bon Appétit." Other collaborations have not been revealed.
?The Sound & Thematic Content
Judging by the musical elements in "Chained," "Bon Appétit" and the "Witness" snippet, disco will most likely be the main influencer of the album's sound. Max Martin receives a writing and producing credit for both singles, indicating that he's serving a prominent role in shaping the record's sound. On what to expect sonically, Perry says, “It’s fun and dance-y and dark and light."
Theme-wise, Witness will get political, with a primary focus on the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. When describing her meaning of "purposeful pop," Perry told Billboard that Witness is a "360-degree liberation: mental liberation, sexual liberation, negative liberation, spiritual liberation." The record will also embrace the star's transition from her 20s to 30s and will feature more of an introspective look into Katheryn Hudson (Perry's legal name).
From chained disco balls playing MP3s to handing out cherry pies in NYC, Witness has involved a lot of fan interaction and guerrilla marketing. Perry regularly takes to social media to engage the KatyCats, particularly by starting a pie baking contest and meme parody competition for "Bon Appétit" and a #BonAppetit challenge inspired by the music video.
She's performed "Chained to the Rhythm" multiple times, including at The Grammys and The BRITs, and on Saturday, the entertainer will be the musical act in the season finale of Saturday Night Live.
Katy Perry will kick off Witness: The Tour in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 7. So far, the tour has only one leg of 43 North American stops, running until early 2018. She's partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of America to donate tickets to club members and give $1 from each ticket to the organization. Fans have the chance to earn free tickets as well -- or at least discounted ones ranging from $50-150, based on a Katy Perry Fan Club presale.
The singer also tweeted a response to a fan's question about the stage's layout. There will be a danceable area in the General Admission section called "The Drop Zone."