Katy Perry performing during the DNC July 2016. Photo By Ali Shaker/VOA – Wikimedia Commons
Katheryn Hudson also known as Katy Perry is an American pop singer, songwriter, and actress. The musician, who hails from California, became famous after the release of her single I Kissed a Girl (2008) from her second studio album.
Katy was born into a religious family with both her parents serving as Pentecostal pastors. This influenced her entry into the entertainment industry. She made her first album as a gospel singer but later switched to a more popular genre signing a record deal with Capitol Records Company in 2007.
Perry’s first single from Capitol Records, I Kissed A Girl, received millions of streams and downloads. Five singles from her third album Teenage Dream topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart making her the first female solo artist to reach the milestone.
Katy has had several collabs with artists such as Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, Juicy Jay, and John Mayer, her former love interest. She has had a successful musical career and currently has a net worth of 330 million USD.
Katy’s top twenty most popular songs are:
1. Firework (2010)
Firework is a dance-pop song that received immediate success after its release. It is one of Katy’s self-empowerment anthems receiving Grammy Nominations and won Video of The Year during the 2011 MTV Music Awards.
The song, co-written by Perry and three others, became her fourth single to rank at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Firework was Katy’s favorite single in her 2010 album.
2. I Kissed A Girl (2008)
I Kissed A Girl was the lead single from Katy’s second studio album, One of the Boys. The song which is about a girl sexually exploring another woman went viral after its release and Katy’s budding music career took off.
I Kissed A Girl marked the start of public awareness of the LBTQ+ community through pop music. It remained the number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 for nearly two months.
3. Roar (2013)
Having a total of 3.7 billion views on YouTube, Roar became the first female-centered video to receive such.
Nine months after its launch, Roar had sold over 9 million units globally. It topped the charts in Europe, Canada, and America earning the 2013 title of best-selling female song in Australia.
4. Hot N’ Cold (2008)
Hot N’ Cold was based on a tumultuous relationship between two lovers, one whose indecisiveness affects their relationship. It was part of three singles released from her second studio album, One of The Boys.
The song received a grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal but lost to Beyonce’s Halo. I Kissed A Girl and Hot N’ Cold were written to boost Katy’s album. According to her record label, the album lacked some pizzazz and the two tracks were just what it needed.
5. Last Friday Night/ T.G.I.F (2011)
Last Friday Night is an electro-pop song based on a storyline similar to I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga’s Just Dance. In the United States, the song is certified six-time platinum earning over 3 million sales and streams.
Katy wrote the song after she attended an impromptu party with her friends capturing the antics she could remember from the previous night. Bonnie McKee, who was also present during the wild night, aided in writing the lyrics.
The song’s views on YouTube currently stand at 1.4 billion views.
6. Teenage Dream (2010)
Teenage Dream was based on Katy’s romantic relationships as a teenager: the euphoric feeling that came with being young and in love and the influence of fairy tales such as Romeo and Juliet.
The song is a mid-tempo with a combination of electropop and power pop. It is ranked second in the Billboard 20 Best Songs of the 2010s. The video was shot in California, Perry’s hometown.
7. The One That Got Away (2011)
The One That Got Away was released in September 2011 as part of the six singles from her third album. During a February performance in Lisbon, Katy introduced the song as In Another Life but changed its title when it was officially released.
Katy performed the song on BBC Radio and American Music Awards where she received an award and a standing ovation. Three months after its release, Katy worked together with American rapper B.O.B on a remix version.
Many acoustic versions of The One That Got Away were done after Capitol Records sponsored a best-cover competition in 2012. The winner was featured on Katy’s Facebook wall.
8. Dark Horse featuring Juicy J (2013)
Dark Horse was the first single from Katy’s fourth album, Prism. The hip-hop, pop-rap track was a commercial success and was considered the boost trap music need to firmly set its position on the Billboard Charts.
In 2022, Dark Horse regained popularity as one of the songs that used Jeffrey Dahmer, an American serial killer, as a dark humour reference in the song’s composition. At the time Netflix has released a series, Dahmer – The Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Stroy, based on the life of the serial killer. The series went viral worldwide.
Lyric: Uh, she’s a beast I call her karma, She eat your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer
Discover more about Jeffrey Dahmer and other infamous serial killers here.
9. California Gurls featuring Snopp Dogg (2010)
California Gurls is a song praising girls from the West Coast state of California. After the release of Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind, Katy wrote California Gurls as its answer song.
The song’s release was hastened after clips from its album were leaked. It quickly became a summer hit and was top in Billboard 30 Summer Songs of All Time. It was also nominated for a Grammy under Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Learn about other iconic musicians from California on the website.
10. This Is How We Do (2014)
This Is How We Do is a dance-pop song about random routines Katy participates in with her friends. The vibrant and colorful music video showcases clips of her playing ping pong, getting a pedicure, and enjoying a karaoke night with her friends.
This Is How We Do was released in July 2014 and was number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs in U.S.
11. Chained To The Rhythm featuring Skip Marley (2017)
After the election of Donald Trump as the 58th president, Katy and Americans at large were not particularly happy. Channeling her disappointment about their new president, Katy wrote Chained To The Rhythm, a song about life in utopia and political liberation.
Katy approached Skip Marley, Bob Marley’s grandson after she listened to his song Lions which was based on a similar theme. The song was number one in U.S. listing of Dance Club songs.
12. Unconditionally (2013)
Unconditionally is a song about transcendent love: a love that is not limited. On a trip to Madagascar, Katy was inspired by the pure affection the people she met felt toward each other. They were happy to be with each other despite not having the best things in life. The humanitarian trip, in partnership with UNICEF, took place in April 2013.
Unconditionally was number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs a month after its release. It is certified gold in the U.K. and two-time platinum in the U.S.
13. Part of Me (2012)
Aside from Firework, Part of Me is among Katy’s self-empowerment songs. The dance-pop song is based on a journey to self-love after a breakup from a toxic relationship.
In 2010, the song found its way on the internet after it got leaked. It was rumored to be a personal message to her ex, Travie McCoy. The two had been dating for two years. It was eventually reworked and the new version was officially released in February 2012.
14. Wide Awake (2012)
Wide Awake was written as part of the theme songs for Katy’s autobiography film, Katy Perry: Part of Me. The video itself emulated parts of her life from personal struggles, life in the limelight, and her previous relationship with her ex-husband Russell Brand.
The song performed well topping the Billboard Dance Club Song, Adult Top 40, and Mainstream Top 40.
15. E.T featuring Kanye West (2011)
E.T, an abbreviation of the word extraterrestrial, is an electronic hip-hop song that features the American rapper and producer Kanye West. The song is based on the love story of two people from different dimensions hence the title E.T.
E.T won the Favourite Song category during the 38th People’s Choice Award. In 2011, Billboard ranked it as the fourth-biggest song of the year.
To find out 10 sensational facts about Kanye West, click here.
16. If We Ever Meet Again featuring Timbaland (2010)
If We Ever Met Again, a song about a crush at first sight was released as part of the singles from Shock Value II, Katy’s third studio album. The song was on the top ten charts across Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.
Timbaland, with the help of Jim Beanz, produced the song after drawing inspiration from Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling. He is also featured as part of the song’s vocals.
17. Feels featuring Pharrell Williams and Big Sean (2017)
Feels was released in June 2017 as part of Calvin Harris’s alum, Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1. It featured Katy Perry, and American rappers Pharrell Williams and Big Sean. The disco-funk song contains elements of hip-hop and dancehall with a mixture of electronica.
The Calvin Harris production was number one on music charts from 6 different countries. It also topped the charts in Canada, Finland, and Germany.
18. Waking Up In Vegas (2009)
Katy Perry was quite the party girl and this clearly showed in tracks such as Waking Up In Vegas, Last Friday Night, and California Gurls.
Katy said Waking Up In Vegas was inspired by a prank she pulled on her family about having gotten married to her then-boyfriend in Vegas. She was 21 at the time and went as far as getting a falsified marriage certificate just to ensure her prank was believable.
Waking Up In Vegas was Perry’s three single on the top ten listing of Billboard Hot 100.
19. Who You Love featuring John Mayer (2013)
Who You Love was released in 2013 as part of John Mayer’s album, Paradise Valley. It was written as a way of relaying the message of fully accepting and loving the person your heart has chosen.
The duet is a mixture of both soft rock and country pop mimicking old soul classics such as Unchained Melody by Righteous Brothers.
20. Thinking Of You (2009)
Thinking of You narrates the story of a woman who finds it hard to move on from her ex despite being in another relationship. It was released as a single from Katy’s second studio album and was the only one out of the four that did not manage to a top ten position on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The initial video of the song surfaced on YouTube in May 2008 but a commercial version was released in December of the same year.
See the 100 most popular songs including Katy Perry’s Fireworks and Roar here.