Madonna: Do you stop during your sets sometimes and talk to them ?
Katy Perry: Oh, yeah. There’s nothing more boring than an artist coming to a city and saying “Hi, City Center” and that’s the only thing they say. I like to go outside the palace walls, put on a hat, get on a bike. being a real observer and ingesting the vibe of a city so that when I walk on the stage I have something to say. Otherwise it feels like you’re just using the fans in some ways.
Madonna: Yeah, I think it’s super important. Does it bother you that you can’t just think about making music and being an artist? You have to think about branding and selling products as well?
Katy Perry: I am a healthy percentage left- and right- brained, so I can dream dreams and be very pragmatic and that has server me well. Everything has to pass through my eyes and my ears, but I think that’s why in a time of short-span pop-up careers I’ve had a longer one than most people would have bet on for me.
Madonna: If you get down to betting, no one’s going to bet on you. Unfortunately we don’t live in a world where people support or encourage longevity or people doing well. You have to manufacture that yourself.
Katy Perry: I’ve done things for creative reasons and also to make sure that I can have the type of tour that I want. I have to pay the bills, because there are a lot of them to pay. We’ve got over 120 people on this tour, not counting our openers. I always say, I’m the biggest domino and if I fall then everybody falls.
Madonna: It’s a huge responsibility, when you think about how it used to be and how it is now.
Katy Perry: It seems everybody expects so much transparency these days. Like when someone at the photo shoot was talking about Google contact lenses, I just thought, I’m never leaving my house when that thing comes out.
Madonna: It’s too much. I don’t want everybody to know where I am all of the time. I don’t understand people who say “I’m here now” and how they leave bread crumbs and say “I’m in the city and now I’m on the plane. Now I’ve landed.” Like, Okay, alright, stop telling everybody.
Katy Perry: We get it!
Madonna: I don’t want to see the inside of the plane you’re on.
Katy Perry: We live in a really self-important time. People want complete transparency, but I don’t think we understand that when we get it there are all kinds of faults that I don’t think we want to see. It’s weird saying this, because I like to be an encouragement and a light, but everyone is in a state of self-indulgence. I think it’s a by-product of social media. Everybody is encouraged to…
Madonna: …to just put their shit out there.
Katy Perry: Yeah. I’m at fault for it too, so it’s hard to even comment about it.
Madonna: We all are, to a certain extent. The internet is the greatest invention of all time. It’s incredibly helpful and you can start revolutions with it, but it’s also absolutely the most dangerous thing in the world. The same amount of darkness and the same amount of light are in the same place.
Katy Perry: All just made out of zeros and ones.
Madonna: (laughs) Okay, another question. Can you think of situations or people that inspire you or inspired you to begin with or that keep you going? It could be anyone from your parents to some artist or a teacher.
Katy Perry: An artist? Oooh.
Madonna: My big inspiration when I first started out was teachers. Teachers that believed in me, or painters, or writers, or people who don’t have anything to do with the business that I am in.
Katy Perry: I would say it would be the love of music that I had when I was really young. It was like finding another language. Music touched me, like I had someone that I could finally speak to like a therapist or a friend. It was finding solace in lyrics.
Madonna: So you found words…
Katy Perry: Words are so powerful to me. There was a real connectedness with lyrics, so I picked up a guitar at 13 and started writing my way then.
Madonna: So I imagine reading and writing were important to you when you were growing up. That method of transporting, transmuting, transmitting information.
Katy Perry: Reading and writing were important, but I didn’t have the formal education to continue that into the end of my teenage years, when things were supposed to be really developing. I was homeschooled sometimes. I was always being taken out of school. I was in quote-unquote Christian schools, which weren’t always focused on the education. I never really went to high school.
Madonna: You didn’t? You didn’t go to high school, but you were homeschooled to get your GED?