It’s hard to believe that Katy Perry, one of the world’s most successful musical artists, is just 33 years old. For over a decade we’ve watched the star transition from pop princess to feminist anthem goddess and back again. We’ve seen her go through a marriage and a series of high profile relationships and watched as her music, style and sense of self has evolved and transformed.

Throughout it all it’s hard not be to be inspired by her honesty, determination and what she’s managed to build. So it’s perhaps even more remarkable to hear that in the search for true happiness and a less ego driven existence her latest plan is to deconstruct “Katy Perry”.

I hope you enjoy this candid chat for Glamour with friend activist and storyteller Cleo Wade…

What’s this about preparing to do a soul overhaul…

“I want to emotionally elevate myself. I don’t want to hold on to childhood trauma anymore. I want to grow into becoming an adult …. And that’s the thing: I want to do a little bit more soul surgery before I have a family of my own so that I don’t transfer any of those lingering feelings.”

Do you think we spend too much time on our phones?

“We’re all so ‘connected’ to our devices, which I think is disconnecting us from reality. My New Year’s resolution was to turn my phone off one day a week. It’s really about resting, eating, and exercising. In my twenties I used to be able to do shows hung-over after eating an In-N-Out burger. I can’t do that anymore. I’m about to go heavy into that emotional process, and I’m nervous, but I don’t think I have a choice anymore.”

What’s your plan for being a judge on American Idol?

“People also come in with their stories. And before they even sing one note, they’ll say something like, ‘I’m homeless,’ and that will impact the way you perceive them. But if they really can’t sing, the personal story has to come second. I hope that I don’t get turned into ‘the bitch’ because of that, but I also know that the music industry does not need just another singer.”

Do you think there are double standards as a female judge on American Idol?

“I was saying the other day that Simon Cowell was my favorite judge because he’s very straight-to-the-point. Most people who are at home watching American Idol—you know eating food and going about their lives—are thinking either, This can sing, or, This person can’t. And Simon was that kind of judge. Simon could be mean, because he’s an executive and a man. But you reverse the role, and all of a sudden you’re a bitch.”

So you see social change in the music industry?

“I don’t think there is as much of a radical social change going on in music as there has been in television and film, though I’m sure it will bleed over soon. I’d say that I’m glad there aren’t so many gatekeepers—people who have the keys to other people’s success or stand in their way.”

What type of singer do you want to see in the music industry?

“I think we need someone who has a voice that you can feel. For me, when someone sings and all the hair on my arms stands up, I am immediately invested.”

On building a life, instead of just a career…

“A lot of my early twenties were really intense, really extreme, and somewhat unconscious. It was all career focused, which was great, but once you touch the ceiling so many times, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I did that. I touched the ceiling.’ Now I want to touch the stars, which has to do with the heart.”

What does “winning” mean to you?

“I’ve come to learn, after 10 years of success in the spotlight, that being happy is something you have to work for every single day. Even if you have money or houses or status or fame—and all of that stuff is great for a moment—if you don’t have happiness charging the train, you’re gonna derail.”

How do you combats self-doubt?

“I would say that all of my best songs, or what I think are some of my better songs—‘By the Grace of God,’ ‘Roar,’ ‘Firework’—are basically motivational pep talks to myself. They’re my soul speaking to me, saying, ‘Come on. We can do this. One foot in front of the other.’”

You’ve achieved so much, are you proud? 

“I think it was the universe’s way of testing me, of saying, ‘We’re going to see if you do love yourself.’ That was challenging for me, because I didn’t realize how much I relied on the outside validation. I thought that I didn’t, but once you get kicked down the mountain a little bit, you realize that the weather really is better at the top.”

What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learnt?

“I’d also say [much like the famous Maya Angelou quote], ‘People may not remember everything about meeting you, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.’ When I was first getting to Hollywood and meeting my heroes like Gwen Stefani and a couple others, one was amazing—she introduced herself and asked my name—but one just brushed me off. I’ll never forget how that made me feel.”

What’s this about wanting to rewriting “I Kissed A Girl” if it came out now?

We’ve really changed, conversationally, in the past 10 years. We’ve come a long way. Bisexuality wasn’t as talked about back then, or any type of fluidity. If I had to write that song again, I probably would make an edit on it. Lyrically, it has a couple of stereotypes in it. Your mind changes so much in 10 years, and you grow so much. What’s true for you can evolve.

Photo credit: Emma Summerton .

Read the whole interview here. 

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