Katy Perry’s life could’ve taken a very different arc. The pop sensation was aimed differently by her parents. She jokes about it now.
“I released a gospel record when I was 15 because I grew up in a household where all I ever did was listen to gospel music,” Perry once said on Australian TV. “I swear I wanted to be like the Amy Grant of music but it didn’t work out, and so I sold my soul to the devil.”
That statement is a bit of hyperbole. Perry has also said that she prays all the time, just not the same way some people do. It’s more about a spirituality than a religious practice.
“I don’t believe in a heaven or a hell or an old man sitting on a throne, she told Marie Claire last year. “I believe in a higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable. Accountability is rare to find, especially with people like myself, because nobody wants to tell you something you don’t want to hear. I actually don’t trust people who start to turn on me because they get scared of telling me the truth. I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God. I pray all the time—for self-control, for humility. There’s a lot of gratitude in it. Just saying ‘thank you’ sometimes is better than asking for things.”
Recently, Perry was asked about the songs on her 2013 hit record Prism, and she specifically highlighted one that swings into this territory for her. It is called “By the Grace of God.”
McManus pried deeper about the song. It was written after her divorce from Russell Brand. Perry was quite down at the time.
“Sometimes you can be blinded by your extreme emotions,” she said. “I definitely was looking for answers during that time I wrote that song. And, yeah, I was depressed, and it was sad, and there were thoughts, but there were never actions, thankfully.”
Perry reasoned that she was not the only person to go through this kind of pain. And she knows that it can be tough to talk to someone else when you find yourself is such a dark place.
“I wanted to share that side of my story,” she said of revealing that much of herself in the song, “because I know there are so many other people out there that have gone through things like that, and you always feel like you’re the only one going through that. You walk out the door, and you see someone you know, and they ask you how you are, and you just have to say you’re fine when you’re not really fine, but you just can’t get into it, because they would never understand. Well, then comes along a song that speaks to you, that makes you feel like ‘Gosh, I can get through this if she can get through this, I can get through this.’”