Katy Perry’s new album Prism (out 10/22; read EW critic Nick Catucci’s take here) is full of the bouncy, joyous pop tunes that she’s known for. But perhaps the most surprising aspect is her bluntness when writing about her 2012 divorce from Russell Brand in the poignant-but-hopeful closing track “By the Grace of God.” In it, Perry sings that post-break-up she could be found on her bathroom floor crying.
“Well, imagine what you go through,” she tells EW. “Imagine what happens when you go through a break up. We all go through break ups and we all get very depressed and desperate. The lyrics are very exact and autobiographical. That’s how I write. But the one thing about those lyrics is you can hear me finding my strength throughout the song. It starts off really low and then I kind of stand up for myself and say, ‘No!’”
Perry adds: “Sometimes you look in the mirror when you’re crying and if you look in the mirror it will make you cry more because you’re feeling sorry for yourself. And then sometimes you look in the mirror and you cry and I’ve been like: ‘Snap out of it! It’s time to — come on — grow up! No!’ There’s almost like this inner warfare that comes out, this inner battle between the good angel and the bad devil.”
Perry, who says her recent single “Unconditionally” was partially influenced by current boyfriend John Mayer, specifies that “By the Grace of God” is the lone track from Prism specifically about her relationship with Brand. “All the other songs are stories from different times in my life,” she says. “It’s people making assumptions. It’s kind of hard because I am so vulnerable and I am [such an] open book, but I don’t feel like I want to hand over a specific story about each and every song. I don’t feel like I want every song to come with a little package, a little tabloid-al package because it’s like, ‘Why don’t you let the song be a little unspecific to the listener? Then the listener can use it and relate to it in their own way. So, not every song comes up with an excerpt. They’re biographical but all you’re going to get in the songs is just that.”
For much more from Katy Perry, look for EW’s intimate all-access profile of the star on newsstands Nov. 1.