Katy Perry discusses newest album ‘Smile’ releasing on Aug. 28

Katy Perry will be releasing her sixth studio album “Smile” this Friday, three years after the release of her most recent album “Witness.”  

In a press conference, Perry discussed the themes and creative process for “Smile,” which was written during a period marked by a deep depression in her life.

“I wrote this record during one of the darkest times of my life. I didn’t really plan for the next day or didn’t necessarily want to,” she said.

Perry explores these themes in her lyrics and highlights her journey through depression to a state of “hopefulness, resilience and joy.”

“You know what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?,” she said. “I’d like to edit that and say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but sometimes you have to walk through hell to get that strength.”

The album artwork features a frowning Perry wearing a clown outfit, complete with a bright, red nose. The art plays on the use of humor in the album to “bring levity” to dark subjects.

“I’ve always had a bit of humor injected into everything I do, [such as] self-deprecation,” Perry said. “I wasn’t taking myself seriously when I was spewing whipped cream out of my boobs. I knew that. Hello, I was in on the joke.”

She pointed to the album’s title track as a sort of turning point for her, explaining that she had to be served “a piece of humble pie” and have an “ego check” in order to grow.

“Yeah, the universe served me. In the moment, I wasn’t excited for it or happy about it,” Perry said. “But once I got the ability to zoom out a bit, I understood that I was going to have a greater foundation, a greater character and a greater depth because of going through those peaks and those valleys.”

The multi-platinum album “Teenage Dream” reached its 10-year anniversary on Aug. 24, and Perry noted the growth of both herself and her audience in that time, many of whom are now in college.

“Some of you were 10 or 12 years old, and you had friends who listened to ‘California Girls’ or whatever, and now you’re becoming adults and dealing with a lot of different things,” she said. “…I’ve grown up with my audience a little bit. We’re growing together, and it’s nice. It’s like we’re raising each other.”

Perry admitted that the album has taken on a deeper meaning, considering the current pandemic and social climate.

“There are a lot of weird parallels now. Like, it does feel like the end of the world sometimes. Every day is different, especially when you’re reading the news,” she said. “You don’t know what the hell you’re going to wake up to with those notifications, which are of the devil.”

Perry hopes that the themes of growth in the album help to highlight needed growth in the world, in light of recent Black Lives Matter protests and increased social awareness.

“I think that this is a year of reckoning and coming to terms, and I think it’s so absolutely necessary and uncomfortable and painful,” Perry said. “But rebirth was never meant to be neat and tidy.”