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It has been nearly four years since Katy Perry released her last album, 2013’s Prism, so fans are more than ready for the pop superstar’s return. After her Prismatic World Tour and her 2015 Super Bowl halftime show performance, the pop star admits she needed a break and retreated to her home base in Santa Barbara, California. “The energy is just totally different — it’s not thirsty or desperate or clingy,” Perry tells EW. “It’s a really beautiful kind of Zen-like feeling place. I just went there to gather myself and I started making a record in June of last year.”
Perry says she wrote about 40 songs and has now whittled that number down to 15 for the album, the title of which is still unknown (fans have theorized that it’s Witness — Perry won’t say). “It’s really quite brave,” says Perry of her latest work. “Sonically, it’s fun and dance-y and dark and light. It’s all of these things. It definitely is a change.”
It’s also an album that reflects the changes in Perry’s own life and her maturation. “I left my 20s and I’ve gone to my 30s,” she says. “I’ve embraced. I’ve surrendered. I’ve healed some of my issues with my family, with my relationships. Today I’m sober but I don’t know about tomorrow! One day at a time, right? [Laughs] It’s all kind of beautiful. I built up Katy Perry and she was so fun. And I still am Katy Perry and I love her so much but, at the core, I’m Katheryn Hudson and I think that’s being revealed as I embrace who I really am.”
The singer has released two singles so far from the album, “Chained to the Rhythm” and “Bon Appetit.” Perry tells EW there’s a song called “Bigger Than Me” inspired by the results of the election (Perry was a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter) and a fun dance song called “Swish Swish.”
But one question still remains: Will Perry’s new album have a response to Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”? Rumors have swirled for the last few years that the two singers were locked in a feud. Swift told Rolling Stone in 2014 that “Bad Blood” was about another female artist. “She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour,” Swift told the magazine, without mentioning the other performer by name. “She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me.” Internet sleuths pegged this to be Perry since she and Swift have had the same dancers work on their tours.
Perry has remained mum on the subject aside from some not-so-vague tweets, like when Swift and Nicki Minaj got into a Twitter battle over the MTV VMA nominations in 2015.
Perry’s latest work will be the first album for either artist since the rumored feud. So, EW asked Perry if there will be any kind of clap-back anthem to one of 1989‘s biggest hits — and here’s how that exchange went:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There are rumors that “Bad Blood” is about you. Does this album have a reaction to “Bad Blood”?
KATY PERRY: Well that’s not my question to answer — if it’s about me. I think [my new album is] a very empowered record. There is no one thing that’s calling out any one person.
One thing to note is: You can’t mistake kindness for weakness and don’t come for me. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. And that’s not to any one person and don’t quote me that it is, because it’s not. It’s not about that. Honestly, when women come together and they decide to unite, this world is going to be a better place. Period end of story. But, let me say this: Everything has a reaction or a consequence so don’t forget about that, okay, honey. [Laughs] We got to keep it real, honey. This record is not about anyone else! This record is about me being seen and heard so that I can see and hear everyone else! It’s not even about me! It’s about everything that I see out there that I digest. I think there’s a healing in it for me and vulnerability. If people want to connect and be healed and feel vulnerable and feel empowered and strong, God bless and here it is.