Katy Perry Plots Next Album, Talks 'Idol' Gig & 'MTV Unplugged'

Tuesday, Nov 17, 2009  |  Updated 4:00 PM CDT
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Katy Perry Talks "American Idol," New Album

AP

"American Idol" contestants should be thankful that they have caring, sharing Ellen DeGeneres on the panel now and not Katy Perry.

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"American Idol" contestants should be thankful that they have caring, sharing Ellen DeGeneres on the panel now and not Katy Perry.

The singer was a guest judge for auditions to be featured on next season's show, and she didn't pull any punches with the hopeless hopefuls.

"We all have friends or people that we've known that maybe they wanted to be a rock star, or be this or that, and no one ever told them that they can't," she says. "Like, 'It's just like you weren't born with pitch, so it's not going to happen and someone needs to tell you that because 15 years later you've wasted all this time and when you could have been a doctor.'"

They should probably take Perry's advice — the Grammy-nominee knows what it takes to be a success. Her 2008 album "One of the Boys," went platinum and featured international smash hits like "I Kissed a Girl" and "Hot N Cold."

And now she's proud to be following in the footsteps of Nirvana and Lauryn Hill by recording her own "MTV Unplugged" session. The CD/DVD is being released Tuesday.

Perry spoke to The Associated Press about stripping her songs bare, writing scandalous lyrics and how her next album will make people dance.

The Associated Press: What was the appeal for you in doing "MTV Unplugged"?

Katy Perry: Well the "MTV Unplugged" session was really important, it was kind of like the swan song of the whole "One of the Boys" record. It was the last real look I wanted to give on the record and show off some of the songs at their most simple, kind of at their most stripped down, at the skeleton, at the core of what some of them were written or how they were written.

AP: Were you nervous at taking those songs that you've performed in big festivals and then sitting down in front of an intimate audience?

Perry: No, I actually thrive in that kind of environment probably better - not better it's just a different me. The first times I started singing was in church but then when I started playing guitar I would go into the newspaper and I would find open-mic sessions and coffee shops that would let anybody sign up to play. And I would go there and I would just pull out my guitar and play these little rough drafts of songs and get people's feedback and really see if it was connecting if people really related to it or if they would even listen.

AP: But I've read that the next stuff you're going to be doing will be more pop and dance-oriented, is that right?

Perry: I'm hoping it's going to be a bit more pop. Going on the road, that's what I saw that I lacked in concert, was a little bit more movement. And that doesn't mean that I have to sacrifice the story for it.

AP: I know "One of the Boys" had a lot of personal things that happened to you when you were growing up. Now you're much more high-profile, much more successful, are you still going to have that personal aspect in your stories?

Perry: Yeah I think even more so. I guess in my personal life and in interviews and when I sit down to talk about things, sometimes I don't give as much detail as I used to but I think I am saving it for the songs — and the songs I'm just gushing. From the few songs that I've written so far, they are very honest, if not more honest than the last ones. But they are a little bit more mature … I know how to handle boys now. Actually I don't even mess with boys any more, I mess with men, you know. It's different because "One of The Boys" (I) was like 17 to 23 and some of those songs, like half the record, I wrote when I was like 19 and that's such a different place than you are when you're 25.

AP: Your life must be completely different now — it's a whirlwind.

Perry: Yeah I'm definitely getting used to it, or trying; it's difficult. I don't feel completely different than when I started. I feel like I have a lot to prove still and I still have that ambition and that drive that I had when I didn't have any money, or when I didn't know what was going to happen in the future, if I was going to make it or anything.

AP: With the last album, there was a lot of hype about "I Kissed a Girl" and "Ur So Gay." Do you feel like you're going to have to have some kind of scandalous angle on a track on the new album?

Perry: I think the "I Kissed a Girl"s and the "Ur So Gay"s were never, "oh let's see how I can stir up a pot of scandalous," you know. It was actually just me telling my story and that is how I see the world you know, and that's the kind of funny, messed- up way I live my life I guess. With a dark undertone, a sarcastic dark undertone, just everything is kind of that way for me and so I'm sure that'll be a thread in my next record.

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