Katy Perry a dark horse at the Grammys
Feb. 05, 2015
LOS ANGELES (AP) — There's one place left on Earth where Katy Perry can still be considered a dark horse: The Grammy Awards.
The Billboard chart-topping, Super Bowl-conquering pop star, who will be performing at Sunday's Grammys, has been shut out by the Recording Academy in 11 previous nominations dating back to 2009. She's got two more nods this year, and says it'd be "so amazing and so funny" to win her first Grammy for "Dark Horse," featuring rapper Juicy J, a song that's outside her traditional sunny soundscape.
"When I made that record, it was not serious even. Then it turned into like a thing," Perry said in a recent interview. "At the core of it, my music is very pop and bright. And 'Dark Horse' is like a little bit darker and trappier and just a different lane. I heard the beat and it wasn't even meant for me. I was like, let me try something on that."
Perry is nominated in the pop duo/group performance category for "Dark Horse" and in the pop vocal album category for her fourth studio album, "Prism," released in October 2013. She's been busy since its release on a worldwide tour — 108 shows so far — that continues in Europe and Asia after another performance at the Grammys on Sunday.
As for new music, Perry said she's regularly jotting down ideas while touring, but plans to take time off after her final leg to get out of her "boring" touring "bubble" and craft songs about "real life experiences." Success — nine No. 1 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 — has bred a degree of restlessness.
"I also think it's important for me to maybe start reinventing myself. Because I can't keep topping myself because I'll just combust at some point," Perry said. "You can't keep topping yourself when you're at such a height. There's only one Mount Everest and once you've reached it, it's like where do you go from there? You've just got to sail somewhere else."
Perry hasn't been able to out climb the criticism that she's among pop's queens of cultural appropriation, blithely borrowing from non-white imagery in her videos and performances in ways that have rankled some observers. Perry makes it clear she's been listening.
"I don't think that one person is allowed to play one certain type of instrument," she said. "But there have been some conversations that I've been involved in that I've learned some things along the way. That's all I can say. And my intent was always pure. But I can get smarter about things in the future."
One of Perry's biggest hits, "Firework," became a key part of Seth Rogen and James Franco's much-discussed Kim Jong-Un assassination comedy "The Interview." (She's fan of Rogen's and recalled having dinner with the Canadian actor-director-writer in Jamaica.
"He was so kind and sweet and high," Perry said. " I usually don't license 'Firework' for things that are mocking about it. Because I hold it very dear to my heart and I feel like it's an important song for people."
James Franco showed her the scene in which his character and the North Korean leader bonded over "being vulnerable about liking the song, and I was like 'Oh that's cute.' That's all I got to see. So I was like, 'Sure!' Then it became the theme song for the movie and I was like wow, I had no idea. But sometimes you don't plan on things becoming big. They just happen that way."
Despite Perry's globe-spanning tour, there's one stage to which she hasn't yet been invited: the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in her home state of California every April. She considers herself a "mascot" of the sand-blasted desert event after repeat trips as a fan.
"I would love to (perform there) because it would feel so full circle. I've gone so many years and seen all the acts," Perry said. Ever self-aware, the 30-year-old laughs at the prospect of becoming one of the fest's famed nostalgia acts. "We'll see. It's probably going to be about the type of record I make, or it would be when I would come back at 45, maybe."
Follow AP Ryan Pearson at twitter.com/ryanwrd