Katy Perry’s Strive to Prominence


Finally, the fashion industry’s most awaited night descended upon us with all its glitter and glamour, leaving us dazzled and enamored. The 2017 Met Gala was the Institute’s tribute to two famous fashion designers — Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcons. Rei Kawakubo is the renowned, brilliant founder and designer of the Costume Institute. A host of celebrities turned up at the event to pay their homage to the legendary designers. Among them, Katy Perry turned heads while wearing a John Galliano-designed deconstructed red ensemble including a veil that covered her head.

Apart from being a world famous style icon and a multi-platinum selling, Grammy award nominee, Perry is a true symbol of perseverance. She personifies the concepts in Scott Amyx’s upcoming book “Strive.” She didn’t let her personal struggles and professional failures stop her from reaching her remarkable success.

She was born to ultra conservative Christian parents. Katy was raised in impoverished conditions. The family was financially forced to live on food stamps and often raided their church’s food bank intended for the poor.

Perry was prohibited from listening to secular music during her childhood years. She grew up listening to Gospel music and her only exposure to pop music was through CDs from her friends. She started singing by listening to her sister’s cassette tapes and singing at church at the age of nine. She learned to play the guitar at the age of 13.

It’s astonishing to recall that one of the top pop music sensations was only allowed to listen to the Sister Act 1 and 2 soundtracks. Cable channels MTV and VH1 were forbidden for Perry.

In 2001, Perry traveled to Nashville with her mother to record a Gospel album. The album was a failure and the label, Red Hill Records, subsequently went bankrupt.

Undeterred by this, Perry took a monumental risk at the age of 17 by moving to Los Angeles to work with songwriter and producer Glen Ballard. These early years were lean as she struggled financially to make ends meet. Her musical career was going nowhere.

She signed with Island Def Jam in 2003 but the contract was eventually terminated.
In 2004, Columbia Records offered her the role of lead vocalist in the band “The Matrix.” Unfortunately, bad luck struck again. With almost 80 percent complete, the project suddenly shut down.

Failure after failure, most would have quit and packed up for home. Not her. The hardship was real but she wasn’t about to succumb to her circumstances. Even when it seemed that no one believed in her, she held firm to her lifelong dream of becoming a singer.

Fast forward, her persistence and grit paid off. She signed with Capitol Music Group, a newly formed label, to produce her first blockbuster single “I Kissed a Girl.” Then finally one success led to another and now she has become a global powerhouse.

Reflecting on her music career, Perry humbly stated, “You have to eat dust in the music industry.” She summed up her challenges and failures as “You’ll get humiliated, often in very uncomfortable ways.” Success doesn’t come easy. It requires continually striving and going beyond your comfort zone to reach higher. Perry shared, “My philosophy is, you get presented with these challenges so you can learn to overcome them.”

It wasn’t only her professional career that’s had a string of failures. She has also struggled in her personal life. The ending of her relationship with husband Russell Brand in 2011 left her broken. She struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts while dealing with the demands of her singing career and travel schedule. During this dark period, she managed to produce some of her best work that has garnered awards, recognition and fan loyalty. She could have crumbled when her marriage fell apart but she chose to “put her best foot forward.”

In addition to her remarkable singing career, Perry disrupts herself constantly. She has managed to create and evolve her personal brand through theatrical antics on-stage, television and public appearances. She portrays an aura of a self-styled rebellion that is constantly pushing the boundary of convention. Her sensational brand image has led to a meteoric rise in popularity and her continuous evolution keeps her at the top.

Perry is a fascinating personal embodiment of “Strive.” She persevered and stood tall in the face of adversity, roadblocks, failures, and even bad luck. Her story gives us insight into her unshakeable faith to reach her dream against all odds.

So it’s not surprising that at the 2017 Met Gala she chose to stretch outside her comfort zone yet again with her red avant garde, décortiqué embroidered wool coat layered over a red tulle and a silk chiffon dress with embroidered satin ribbon embellishment, which was complemented by a red silk tulle veil, polished headpiece, and red boots. She continues to push the envelope.