What better way for Katy Perry to rev her fans up for the singer’s about-to-launch Las Vegas residency than with a banging new song? The singer dropped her collab with Swedish DJ and producer Alesso on Wednesday (Dec. 29), the propulsive house jam “When I’m Gone.”
“When I’m gone, I’m never really gone/ You think you’re moving on/ But it won’t be for long, you’ll see/ When I’m gone, I’m never really gone/ You think you’re moving on/ But no one’s gonna feel like, feel like,” Perry sings on the chorus, which floats above the frenetic beat driving the verses on the track about a lover who leaves an indelible mark on their partner.
Perry has been teasing the track for several weeks, beginning in late November when she tweeted a promotional video for her “Katy Perry: Play” residency that had an unknown track in the background. The instrumental turned out to be “When I’m Gone,” and on Dec. 15 the pair announced the song’s title alongside a video that promised, “it’s time to give them everything they want.”
The song is credited to both artists — with Alesso as the producer — and lists a number of writing collaborators, including both artists as well as Alida Garpestad Peck, Alma Goodman, Space Primates’ Nathan Cunningham, Marc Sibley and Rami Yacoub. “When it comes to my music videos we all know I like to push the boundaries and myself, and create unique opportunities for my fans to see them,” Perry said of the upcoming visual, which is slated to make its global debut on ESPN on Jan. 10 during the halftime of the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship.
“ESPN and especially College GameDay hold a special place in my heart, so partnering with Alesso to become the first artists to ever debut a global music video within a live event on ESPN made for a perfect and natural pairing,” Perry said in a statement, with Alesso adding, “I’m so thrilled that ‘When I’m Gone’ is finally out. We’ve been waiting the whole year to share it with all of you. I’m honored to collaborate with Katy on such an amazing dance record and with ESPN to become the first artists to premiere our music video at halftime of the College Football Playoff National Championship. I loved working with her and think this song and video came out super special.”
In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe (see video below), Perry said that Alesso sent her the bones of the song more than a year ago, at a time when she was gearing up for Las Vegas, but wasn’t quite ready to hop back into recording a new album. “It started for me working with two other incredible songwriters, and Katy heard of it and she loved it, I guess,” Alesso told Lowe. “We met up in LA and then just vibed out to the song and started talking about it, doing some changes and making it more suitable for her and making it her song. Then a year later, here we are.”
It’s the first-ever collab between the two artists and Perry will spotlight the song on the 19-track setlist of her Vegas residency, which kicks off on Wednesday night at The Theatre at Resorts World resort and casino. The power-packed set list kicks off with “ET,” “Chained to the Rhythm,” “Dark Horse” and “It’s Not the End of the World,” and includes “California Gurls,” “Hot N’ Cold/Last Friday Night,” “Waking up in Vegas” and a medley of “When I’m Gone/Walking on Air!”
Listen to “When I’m Gone” and check out Alesso and Perry talking to Apple Music about the track below.