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Katy Perry explains new album 'Prism' and writing about her divorce from Russell Brand -- EXCLUSIVE

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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.

New Releases Roundup: Read EW's reviews of Katy Perry, Arcade Fire, and more

Every Tuesday morning in New Releases Roundup, we’ll publish our reviews of the week’s top releases as found in the pages of Entertainment Weekly. This week: Katy Perry, Arcade Fire, The Head and the Heart, Brandy Clark, and Poliça.

Katy Perry, Prism  “Katy’s superpower, now more than ever, is minting songs so relatable that their insights quickly scale up to inspirational. ‘I don’t negotiate with insecurities,” she sings on ‘Love Me,’ a luminous ballad in Prism‘s otherwise sluggish last third. Insecurities are sorta like personal terrorists, and she defeats them with nü-disco jams like ‘International Smile,’ an air kiss to a jet-setting DJ girlfriend.” (Click here for Nick Catucci’s full review.)

Arcade Fire, Reflektor  “Butler & Co. have always known whose side they’re on when it comes to existential questions about war or suburbia. But here, with LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy as their new producer, they sound as separatist as they feel.” (Click here for Nick Catucci’s full review.)

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Voting now open for first ever YouTube Music Awards

You won’t get the chance to throw your congressional representative out of office just yet, but for now, you can direct all of your voting power to the first ever YouTube Music Awards. Voting is now open in six different categories, and the victors will be handed out during a ceremony co-hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts in New York City on Nov. 3.

The six categories include Video of the Year, Artist of the Year, Response of the Year (awarded to a fan-made video that served as a counterpoint to a professional one), YouTube Phenomenon (awarded to the trend that led to large swaths of fan videos and responses), YouTube Breakthrough (representing newer artists who saw huge growth in YouTube subscriptions and exposure), and Innovation of the Year (which is a lot like the old Breakthrough Video prize at the MTV VMAs).

The nominees are a healthy mix of established artists (Justin Bieber, Eminem, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift) and savvy outsiders who have used YouTube to elevate their careers (Pentatonix, Epic Rap Battles of History). Eminem, Lady Gaga, and Arcade Fire were already announced as performers at the show, and the lineup has expanded to include M.I.A., Avicii, Walk Off the Earth, Earl Sweatshirt, and Tyler, the Creator.

Check out the nominees below, vote over at YouTube, and tune in for the ceremony on Nov. 3.
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Katy Perry reveals how John Mayer (and Africa!) inspired her emotional new single 'Unconditionally' -- EXCLUSIVE

Pop superstar Katy Perry’s new album Prism comes out next Tuesday, Oct. 22 (you can stream the full album now at katyperry.com and read EW music critic Nick Catucci’s review here) but the singer has now officially released the second single, “Unconditionally.” An emotional, soaring ballad, the song is Perry’s favorite on the album and was actually inspired by Perry’s current love, John Mayer, and a recent trip she took. “‘Unconditionally’ was influenced by my boyfriend and also really influenced by Africa,” Perry reveals to EW. “I went to Madagascar and did a UNICEF trip that changed my life and gave me this song. It’s just a simple message about loving someone and accepting them and kind of driving at you don’t have to be so self-conscious, you don’t have to fear, because essentially, everybody has their stuff. Nobody comes stuff-free. Everybody has their things and you’re never going to be perfect, and accepting that and understanding that, especially in a relationship, it makes room for a real, genuine kind of love.”

For much more from Katy Perry, look for EW’s intimate all-access profile of the star on newsstands Nov. 1.

 

Katy Perry's 'Unconditionally' and 'Birthday' songs leak: Hear them here!

Katy Perry wants you in your birthday suit, and she wants it now.

With less than a week left on your Prism countdown clock, the album’s very buoyant third track “Birthday” has leaked all over the place. You probably heard a slice of the song yesterday, when the Prism preview started streaming on iTunes, but now you can gorge on the whole cake. Because, you know, birthdays.

Listen to the track below, and make sure you stick around to the end for a whispered little message from Perry herself:
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Katy Perry's 'Prism' snippets now streaming on iTunes

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Katy Perry’s Prism won’t hit store shelves until next Tuesday, October 22 — but now there are 90 second snippets of every Prism track currently streaming on iTunes.

Though the previews are only a minute and a half long — and though you’ve already heard some of these tracks in full, including “Roar,” “Dark Horse,” and “Walking On Air” — you really can get a sense of the spectrum that Perry is covering on Prism: “Birthday” is frothy throwback disco, “This Is How We Do” is a bouncy party anthem, and “This Moment” is a full-on chest-thumping inspirational ballad. (“Double Rainbow” is unfortunately not a cover of this song.)

EW music critic Nick Catucci’s full review will be available later this week in the issue on stands and online this Friday. Until then, let us know what you think of what you’ve heard so far.

Katy Perry's latest 'Prism' track is club thumper 'Walking On Air': Hear it here

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It seems as though Katy Perry’s Prism is going to end up being something of a pop-music buffet: Over here we have the pop-rock pomp tune (“Roar”) as an appetizer, and some Juicy J-assisted sludge-rap (“Dark Horse”) over at the carving station.

What’s that coming out of the fro-yo machine? It’s the latest Prism track “Walking On Air,” a David Guetta-esque blast of dancefloor adrenaline that finds Perry adopting the persona (and the faux-gospel inflection) of the great British club divas of yesteryear.

It’s one of two Prism tracks produced by Klas Ahlund, a Swedish songwriter and producer who has teamed with Ke$ha, Vanessa Hudgens, Madonna, and most notably. former Katy Perry tourmate Robyn (Ahlund co-wrote most of the Body Talk series).

Give “Walking On Air” a spin below.  READ FULL STORY

Katy Perry announces L.A. charity show with Sara Bareilles, Ellie Goulding and more

You’re gonna hear her roar — if you live within mic-amplification distance of the Hollywood Bowl, at least.

According to CBS’s radio.com, Katy Perry will headline a charity concert at the famed L.A. venue with a handpicked roster of female stars including Sara Bareilles, Ellie Goulding, Tegan & Sara and Kacey Musgraves.

“These are all very powerful women that I really respect and look up to,”  Perry told Carson Daly this morning on 97.1 AMP, ”and I wanted them to come together to promote this supportive message and have a  fantastic night full of great music. There’s so many great acts in this lineup. And I get to play a lot of songs off the record that will have come out the night before.”

Tickets for the Oct. 23 show, which will benefit the breast-cancer focused Young Survival Coalition, will  on Wednesday, Oct. 23, go on sale this Friday at 10am PST through Ticketmaster (or 10am on Sept. 24 through sponsor Citi, if you’re a card member).

Katy Perry brings in Juicy J on new 'Prism' track 'Dark Horse': Hear it here

When she first broke out, Katy Perry was something of an underdog — brought up in the often-maligned Christian-music scene and sidelined by several false starts at mainstream major labels.

Now, of course, she’s a reigning champ, as her sterling singles track record and “Roar”-related imagery will remind you.

Still, perhaps she still sees herself as a dark horse — which happens to be the name of the new Prism song that found its way onto the Internet this morning.  The trap-friendly track was produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin and features a guest verse by Oscar-winning rapper Juicy J (who between this and his awesome stripper-approved album Stay Trippy is putting up an MVP-esque performance in 2013).

Listen below: READ FULL STORY

Lana Del Rey comes from behind to help dislodge the boys of summer

How perfect is it that the Cedric Gervais dance remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” has marked the end of the season? It broke into the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 in mid-August, as the melancholy anticipation of fall was just beginning to kick in, and it slipped one spot (to tenth place place) this week, just as two important seasonal milestones were passed: Labor Day and unseating of the Song of the Summer, the Robin Thicke juggernaut “Blurred Lines,” from number one.

We have Katy Perry and her charming “Roar” to thank for the second event, which suggests—along with the vertiginous advancement of some other key women in pop—a new synchronicity’s fully in play on the charts. But more on that in a moment. The rise of “Summertime Sadness,” a song that debuted in its original form on the second day of the summer last year, is not merely a poetic capper to a few paradoxically cheerless months dominated by the merry men who brought you the uniformly milquetoast “Blurred Lines,” “Get Lucky” and The 20/20 Experience. It’s also an example of how a good song—and by an extension, an overdiscussed artist—can steadily progress from “irrelevance” to “hey, turn this up.” And that’s an optimistic lesson to take into any new season.

Back in August, Sean Ross at Billboard laid out a few good reasons why “Summertime Sadness”—and Lana Del Rey—was finally finding success in the U.S. Although he failed to mention the most obvious one, which is that her black-widow croon is more palatable drizzled over clubby zoom-zoom and not just soaked up in a bunch of strings. Reanimated by a European DJ or not, it was a slow populist swell—like the one for “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line, to name two old singles eventually done good—that eventually put “Summertime Sadness” back into our ears.

As for that new synchronicity: Lana Del Rey’s divvying up the top 10 with Perry, Miley Cyrus (“We Can’t Stop”), Lady Gaga (“Applause”) and the teenage New Zealander Lorde (“Royals”). Miley is pop music’s rising star, Perry and Gaga its boundary-busting spirit leaders, and Del Rey and Lorde its (totally unalike) outsiders. (And look out for Ariana Grande on the album chart!)  Unlike the boys of summer (not to mention Imagine Dragons and Florida Georgia Line) this is a cast of characters bound to keep surprising us, whether or not it’s their turn at bat.

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