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Katy Perry’s “Smile” Is The Most Real She’s Ever Been

In a virtual press conference attended by Rowdy Magazine, Katy talks about her newest album Smile, authenticity and clownery.

( Photo provided by Universal Music Group)


Like most people, my childhood was filled with Katy Perry’s cotton-candy wonderland of music, fashion and cupcake tits.

I’d spend my days blasting California Gurls, and who can even forget that iconic Left Shark moment at the Super Bowl (and the Halloween costumes that came shortly after)?

Katy’s last album, Witness in 2017 provided Katy Cats with some classics, like Bon Appetit (and accompanying Migos filled music video) and Swish Swish

Three years later, she’s embarking on her latest journey. And during a virtual press conference on August 5th, Katy shared some of the details with Rowdy, along with other college publications. 

Like most of us, Katy’s grown up 

In her newest album, Smile, Katy has left behind the overly bubblegum pop for a sharper, more nuanced look as a newfound mother, living under the scrutiny of the spotlight and dealing with our crazy world. The 12-track album’s set to release on Friday, August 28. 

There’s no more endless fantasies, foam sharks or cherry-firework boobs. Katy has shed her identity as one of the world’s top pop stars in an album that feels more like a personal diary entry than a no. 1 hit. 

The abandonment of overproduction in pursuit of an authentic album allows the listener to peel back the shiny velvet curtain into Katy’s life. It almost feels like a return to her Christian-pop days as Katherine Hudson, rather than the groomed artist we all grew up with. Frankly, it’s refreshing.

Katy bares her soul in tracks like Only Love, and What Makes A Woman, a theme weaved throughout the album, in what Katy calls her “own darkest times,” in the Smile’s liner notes.

And while the pop-star completes two personal projects this summer — her fifth studio album and the birth of her first child — Smile provides a much-needed relief in the bubblegum pop landscape.

The album’s lead single Never Really Over doesn’t stray too far from her synth-pop roots, while Harleys in Hawaii provides a neo-funk sound, giving us the perfect end-of-summer track to roll the windows down to. 

(Photos provided by Universal Music Group)


Katy said that the clown theme present in music videos and on the album cover is an almost sarcastic, comical take on life. 

It’s clownery,” she said. “I’ve always felt like the court jester and I’ve always had a little bit of humor and self-deprecation injected into everything I do. I wasn’t taking myself seriously when I was spewing whipped cream out of my boobs. I continue to use humor as a way to bring a little levity into the seriousness of life.”

Katy’s ability to turn darkness into humor is what’s kept fans listening for ages. And even without the cotton candy clouds and satirical buffet platters, her authentic positivity and charisma in Smile will have us reaching for the play button again and again. 


Ana Escalante is Rowdy Magazine's Editor-in-chief. She likes podcasts, comfortable sneakers and yelling about being a Capricorn. You can reach her on Twitter @AEscalante22 or email her at


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