As multiplatinum recording artist Katy Perry readies to debut her inaugural residency at Resorts World Las Vegas, the new mom and American Idol judge pulls back the curtain on life in the spotlight.
It has been 13 years since Katy Perry kissed a girl and liked it, a song that catapulted her from the local buzz of the Los Angeles music scene to the worldwide stage—“I Kissed a Girl” sat at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks back in 2008 and has sold 4.8 million digital copies to date. Since then, Perry’s star has only risen, with the stats to back her up as one of the bestselling pop artists of the 21st century: She has sold 143 million albums worldwide; topped the Billboard Hot 100 nine times; garnered 13 Grammy nominations; and has five Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, a Brit Award and a Juno Award shining bright in her trophy case. And did we mention the four Guinness World Records?
But behind the accolades, eccentric fashion choices, ever-changing hairstyles and infectious pop songs lies an artist who ultimately puts her fans—and now her daughter, Daisy, 1, whom she shares with actor Orlando Bloom—first. “Orlando and I just did a hike with our daughter. We went to look at some ducks and turtles because it’s so important for me to have those moments every single day, especially when I’m working from 2PM to 9PM,” says Perry, who calls in from Los Angeles during rehearsals for her upcoming residency, PLAY, at Resorts World Las Vegas. “It is important for me to feel like I am also a mom, and Daisy makes me the happiest. I am definitely trying to keep that balance.”
It’s that desire that makes her more excited than ever to bring her inaugural residency to Las Vegas audiences beginning Dec. 29, with additional dates on the books in January and March 2022. “I really wanted to be able to strike more of a balance—to have a child and take her to preschool—but also be artistic and play with that energy,” she explains. “I’m not saying that my tours are done, but a residency is actually the perfect thing for me right now. I could not have done this in my 20s, and I am not sure that I would want to do it as I go out to pasture,” she quips. “But I definitely want to do this when I am vital and excited [about] creating and offering what I think is my best show ever. It is hit-dominated, which is what the fans want, and I get to play with a lot of unique features by being on the same stage each night,” she reveals. “This is a show that you can only see in Vegas and will never travel.” Resorts World Las Vegas’ location even holds personal ties for Perry. “The fact that Resorts World is built on the former Stardust hotel, which is the same place my aunt was a showgirl and my grandma was a seamstress, feels like I was eventually meant to have my moment there.”
Naturally, in true Perry form, that moment will be full of larger-than-life sets and colorful costumes galore. “I like to bring a visual feast, and this is a set-in-the-’60s, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie on mushrooms,” she laughs. “It is a dance party through and through but I also aim to make it a show that anyone can come to, from ages 6 to 80, and I really pride myself on that.” She also intends to utilize her love of art as a treat for fans—her show will become the first Las Vegas residency to incorporate NFTs thanks to her partnership with the Theta Network. “The first thing we’re going to be auctioning off with the NFT is the craziest thing I’ve ever done. We’ll be creating something unique in the NFT space every single night; they will all be original,” says Perry. “I think some people don’t understand how NFTs work or what their value is so it does feel like we are pioneering and trailblazing in this way. Imagine if I put my finger up during the song ‘Firework’ and you wanted to own that moment—now you could.”
But Perry’s passion for art extends far beyond the tech space. She’s an avid collector of sculptural art, citing Thomas Doyle and Jordan Wolfson as some of her favorite creators. “I have a piece of Thomas Doyle’s that looks like there is a sinkhole in the middle of my house,” says Perry, who admits she’s not afraid to name-drop to spend time with her favorite pieces. “I am a modern art museum junkie. When I was last on tour, and the tours before that, I would cash in my cachet not to go to the club, but to go to the modern art museum, either before or after closing, just to sit in a room with all of this inspiration and genius,” she reveals. “I like stuff that evokes an emotion or tells a story. A lot of the things we have created in my show, like the costumes, look like they should be in a modern art museum.” While she has a penchant for anything miniature when it comes to art, it was an experiential visit to Tokyo that continues to inspire her both on and offstage. “The Japanese museum experience that teamLab does will forever be my favorite,” she says of the art collective’s exhibition teamLab Borderless in Kyoto. “They’re amazing. I saw all of their stuff in Tokyo, including their ‘Infinite Crystal Universe.’ I am a kid and I want to touch when it comes to art so I loved playing with it.”
The songstress equally feeds her inner child through the Firework Foundation, an organization she founded in 2018 with her sister, Angela Lerche, that brings the magic of the arts to underserved youth through camp programming. “Camp was so important to my childhood development. It was the first time I found a little bit of my individualism. We focus on sixth, seventh and eighth graders because we think that’s the pivotal turning point in becoming a young adult,” shares Perry, who attends each camp—where participants learn choreography, songwriting and more— from sunup to sundown. “Giving back to young adults has made a huge impact on my sister and me.”
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While her headlining show in Las Vegas and her return as a judge for the 20th anniversary season of American Idol promise to keep Perry busier than ever in 2022, it’s her role as a mother that means the most. “Daisy has given me what I have been looking for my whole life, which is unconditional love. When you go through the valleys, sometimes you get caught off guard and realize this outside validation is not love, which I thought it was for so long,” she reveals. “She sees me as mom and nothing else. This journey can be intense, and I am glad I have found balance in my family. I think I am a lot of the F’s: I am fun, firm, fair... and fabulous!”
Photography by: Photographed by Christine Hahn; Styled by Tatiana Waterford and Samantha Burkhart; Hair by Jesus Guerrero; Makeup by Michael Anthony; Nails by Kim Truong and Diem Truong.