During the chat, the journalist referenced a quote Perry gave about how making her new album (out later this summer) was about “finding her smile again.” She then elaborated on this.
“I lost my smile,” Perry said. “I don’t know if my smile was ever fully, authentically mine. But I was riding on the high of a smile for a long time, which was the validation and love and admiration from the outside world. And then that shifted.”
That “shift” appears to have happened in 2017, when Perry released her fourth studio album, Witness, which didn’t receive the same commercial and critical acclaim as her Teenage Dream (2010) and Prism (2013) albums. Witness still reached number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, but it failed to produce any major blockbuster hits. (Keep in mind Perry scored five number-one hits off Teenage Dream alone, a feat only accomplished by Michael Jackson.)
Perry admits this was a shift maybe the outside world didn’t notice. “My career was on this trajectory where it was going up, up, up, up, up, and then I had, like, the smallest shift,” she said in the interview. “It wasn’t that huge, maybe, from an outside perspective, but for me it was seismic. They say if a ship is one degree off from their navigation, they’ll land on a different continent sometimes.”
She continued, “I had given so much out. It literally broke me in half. I think I had broken up with my boyfriend, who’s now my baby-daddy to be, and then I was excited about flying high off the next record. And the record didn’t get me high anymore. The validation didn’t get me high. So I just crashed.” It’s unclear what, exactly, about the Witness era “broke” Perry—maybe it was the lack of commercial impact, maybe not. But something about it, mixed with the split from Bloom, put her in a negative place. (Bloom and Perry are now engaged and expecting their first child, a baby girl.)
This was a “good crash,” though, according to Perry. “It was a necessary brokenness,” she revealed in the interview. “It was so important for me to be broken so that I could find my wholeness in a whole different way and be more dimensional than just living my life like a thirsty pop star all the time.”
Gratitude is what helped Perry put herself together. “Gratitude is probably the thing that saved my life because if I didn’t find that, I would’ve wallowed in my own sadness and probably just jumped. But I found the ways to be grateful,” she said. “Every day I wake up and the first thing I say—this is the very first thing I say out loud, before I check my phone…I just wake up and say, ‘Thank you, God, for today. I am grateful in every way.'”
Watch Katy Perry’s full interview in the video, above.