Pop

10 Raw Moments From Katy Perry's 'Smile' Interview With Zane Lowe

Katy Perry
Courtesy of Apple Music

Katy Perry

Katy Perry, 35 weeks pregnant, sat across the screen from Apple Music's Zane Lowe for an in-depth interview today (Aug. 20) about how finding her Smile, the title of her upcoming album, isn't a one-and-done process.

While KatyCats anticipate the album's release on Aug. 28 after its postponement due to production delays, she's anticipating the arrival of her baby daughter with fiancé Orlando Bloom. But having been a pop star long before becoming a mother, Perry continues peeling back from her world that seemed to be filled with rainbows and butterflies or rather adorned by "idealism, candy-centric" themes to unveil the depression she's been fighting.

Read the top 10 highlights from Perry's interview with Lowe, and watch the interview below.

Perry on her 2020 vision

"I haven't said, 'Oh, 2020 is the worst year' because we're six, seven months into it, and also, I have a child on the way. So that's not a good spell to cast.... Let's bookmark this, hopefully in 20 years, when I look back, I can say, 'Wow 2020! It was challenging, but out of that challenge came the most beautiful thing in my life, right?'"

Perry on the "satire" and "melancholy" in her Smile album artwork 

"When you look at the album cover for Smile, you see me as a sad clown and then you see the smile kind of in this Smile font. It's not me going, 'Hey, smile!' or 'Shoving happiness down your throat!' or 'You gotta stay positive! You gotta stay optimistic!' It's melancholy. It's satire, it's melancholy."

Perry on Smile being a marker in her mental health journey

"I found my smile, but I'm not stupid enough to think that it's going to stay this way forever if I don't keep doing the work. Smile is a real representation to me, the record is a representation that I got through it and overcame to the other side. I'm not saying I'm gonna always be on this other side. I could, you know, fall backwards. The mind can trick you, right? But at least I have this touchstone now of a body of work that says, 'No, you did it once. You can do it again. It's possible.'"

Perry on her depression

"The older you get, the more real life gets and the harder it gets to hold onto the pain that helped you create. No longer is that pain helping you create songs. It's just tormenting your mind at that point, especially in your thirties, when just life, things start to ache. Your body starts to not function. Your metabolism goes south. All things start to change in your thirties, but there's so much clarity that comes from it as well. I was getting pretty high off my own supply for a long time, and then it just didn't work after Witness. And like I said, it just changed by a few degrees from the outside looking in, but it was seismic for me. And I realized, 'Oh my God. I have given so much power out for validation and acceptance and love, and now it's not coming back to me.' I used to really be able to fix my depression or my bouts of depression by just going, 'I'm going to write a freaking song,' or 'I'm going to do this. So blah, blah, blah. I'm going to whatever. I'll leave you in the dust. You break up with me, I'll show you. Here's a No. 1.'

It didn't work anymore. So it didn't work and everything changed. I broke up with my boyfriend. My expectations weren't met and the world didn't want to hear from me anymore at that moment. They were like, 'That's enough. Thank you very much. You've given us something, and we're good.' And I just couldn't get out of bed for weeks and became clinically depressed and had to get on medication for the first time in my life, and I was so ashamed of it. I was like, 'I'm Katy Perry. I wrote "Firework." I'm on medication. This is f---ed up.'"

Perry on her 2013 album Prism 

"I think Prism is when I started to really kind of come awake a little bit, you know? I was just a bit fantasyland, idealism, candy-centric, creating a character that was just pure fun and pop and entertainment. But Prism was definitely like, 'Ooh, there's something else here.' So that's when the real investigation started."

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Perry on working mothers still pursuing their passions

"I don't want to ever choose between being a mom and doing what I love. That is so archaic. I think the f---ing reason why women get the responsibility of creating another life is 'cause they can f---ing do it all in a pair of heels bi---. So it's not about choosing! It's about balance.... And that, in turn, is why I wrote 'What Makes a Woman,' bi---!"

Perry on the album's final track and feminist anthem 'What Makes a Woman'

"This song was created just as an appreciation for women, and it was a song that I was writing before I actually got pregnant. And now it's taking on a deeper meaning. I'm like, 'Woah. Women are able to create a life and live and deal with all this stuff and give birth to a watermelon through a f---ing tiny thing. Great. This is wild.'... Your body is amazing. When you try and define a woman, it's really hard because they're such chameleons. They're so transformative. I'm really speaking about myself, which is, and I've said this several times, I'm not one thing. And I don't like to be put in a box even sonically or even when I experiment with music. But I have wild ideas of like going to Oxford one day....  But I have these out-of-the-box dreams still or ideas or dimensions I wanna touch in my life. And I feel like women are very chameleonic in that way that they are not just one thing. They are so malleable and so elastic."

Perry on female artists being pit against each other in the industry

"Some of it comes from the audience. They like to pit us against each other.... We never see Niall Horan and Shawn Mendes fighting. Like we never see it.... But we don't see it, you don't hear about that. You don't read about like Ed Sheeran, you know,... and Justin Bieber fighting. Right? You never hear that.... But take any female performer, and you hear about it every single day. You wanna read Twitter comments? Somebody wanna take my account and read my Twitter comments? No, you don't! You don't because it's like, 'Who's better than who? Who's skinnier than who? Who's sold more No. 1s than who? Who's doing better this year than who? Who made this much more than who?'

It's like, 'Okay. Well, what about just liking the music?'... I am competitive, but I'm not competitive with women. No, no, no. I'm competitive in that I want to succeed. I care about my art, and I hope that it reaches. That's how I'm competitive, but I actually truly want every single female in the industry to feel supported and loved and feel they can speak their truth and deliver their message, no matter how many of us women are in the industry. I mean, time and time again, I want to hire more women than men. I want to give them... I want to support them because I know what it feels to just be in a room of all of my female peers and go, 'Do you like me? I really want to like you. I want to talk to you. I know we're going through the same exact thing. We're literally going through the same exact thing. Can't we talk about this? There's only five other people in the world that are going through this, and you're in the same room. Can we please just have some f---ing wine and talk about how hard this is?'"

Perry on her friendship with Sia 

"Talk about camaraderie amongst peers. From 2017 to 2019, I would just FaceTime her and cry and she would get it. She took me to meetings. She helped me along my way. We both have done the Hoffman Process. She's on the journey as well, and you can tell, you can hear that evolution in her music. You really can, and we have a lot of love and respect for each other. But she's actually helped a lot of people in the industry. She's one of my faves."

Perry on her relationship with Bloom and singing about it on "Champagne Problems"

"For us, and you can hear that even in "Champagne Problems," which is a song on the record, you can hear that we're not flaunting how in love we are. We have been through f---ing hell. We have been down to the mat and come back up again so far, and that's even what the song 'Witness' was about. If I lost it all today, would you stay? Could you go down with me to the mat and come back up? I was testing that already. Your higher self always knows. Your higher self always knows what you're unconsciously saying. Now it's a relationship, but it's work. Dating is different than real relationships. You've got to make a choice every day to be in this relationship and to work hard on yourself with someone that's mirroring you so intensely. Like he doesn't let me rest. He's not Katy Perry's biggest fan. He's here for Katheryn Hudson. He's here for - building!"