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Before They Were Famous: Katy Perry

Katy Perry
Michael Kovac, Getty Images

Katy Perry might’ve hit it big with a song about kissing girls, but her life before fame was far more PG. Born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson on Oct. 25, 1984, the girl who was then known as Katy Hudson actually grew up in a strict Christian household in Santa Barbara, Calif. Her parents are both devout pastors and the songstress was only permitted to listen to gospel music growing up.

Despite her lack of exposure to various genres, Perry showed an interest in music from an early age. Throughout most of her pre-teen and teenage years, Perry sang in her church’s choir and she even dropped out of high school (check out her yearbook picture here) early on to pursue a career in music — although Perry did receive her GED. Thanks to her career in the church choir, Perry gained notice from some music talents in Nashville, and the singer relocated to the Tennessee city in order to take her career even further.

As she grew further and further away from her religious roots, Perry began to listen to more music, and still cites Alanis Morrisette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’ as one of her biggest inspirations. Soon enough, she taught herself how to play guitar and was working with acclaimed producer Glen Ballard. Although her career was still failing to launch around this time, some of her tracks like ‘I Don’t Hook Up’ were re-recorded by Kelly Clarkson, and she also had her song ‘Simple’ featured on ‘The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’ soundtrack.

Finally, after releasing an unsuccessful gospel album under her name Katy Hudson (she soon after changed her surname to Perry, which is her mother’s maiden name) and being dropped by several labels, Perry finally scored a deal with Columbia’s Capitol Music Group. She hooked up with producer Dr. Luke to create her hit singles ‘I Kissed a Girl’ and ‘Hot n Cold,’ and her album ‘One of the Boys’ followed soon thereafter. Now, Katy Perry is one the leading pop divas, with eight Grammy nominations to her name as well as several No. 1 hits.

Next: Justin Bieber Before He Was Famous

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