The Jakarta Post
Katy Perry during her 'Witness: The Tour' at Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, on September 19, 2017. (katyperry.com/Kevin Mazur)
American mega pop-star Katy Perry is coming back. She is scheduled to pay her Indonesian fans a visit for the third time in Jakarta on April 14 at the ICE Convention Centre in BSD, South Tangerang, as part of her “Witness World Tour”.
Perry said the enthusiasm of her Indonesian fans was one of the things that kept bringing her back to Jakarta.
“Indonesian fans are special in the way that their enthusiasm is so palpable, it’s so visceral, you can touch it. It’s like an electricity that swirls around the crowd because they are so excited, have waited so long,” she said during a phone interview with The Jakarta Post.
The star performed in Jakarta for the first time with a sell-out show in 2012 and did it again in 2015.
For these shows a lot of fans donned their best renditions of some of Perry’s iconic costumes to attend the show — a kind of participation that she feels makes the audience special.
“There’s a difference in an audience’s energies when an audience wants to participate and allows themselves to. And the people in Jakarta really allow themselves to just kind of really soak up the joy of the music.”
The 33-year-old had a fruitful 2017 that was full of both highs and lows.
The highs that she rode revolved around the release of her most recent album Witness, which marked a stylistic and idealistic shift for the singer toward what she calls “purposeful pop” and a more sensitive ear toward social issues happening in the United States.
The album itself propelled her to the top of the Billboard charts upon release, and lead her to new opportunities such as playing the United Kingdom’s premier music festival Glastonbury for the very first time.
The lows that can be said about her year were related to her alleged feud with fellow popstar Taylor Swift and the constant prying of the media, who insist that her album (especially the huge, Duke Dumont-produced single “Swish Swish”) is solely about the feud, and the multiple times she had to face “those” kinds of interviews.
Some critics also pounced on Witness as reflecting a pop artist merely “trying too hard” to become something she is not. She also garnered criticism for her alleged “woke” personality that she exhibited on the album and around it, with many summarising that she was using social consciousness merely as a marketing gimmick.
While some of those criticisms are technically valid, Perry seems to have taken them in her stride and used them as an opportunity for self-reflection, and seems to always use this kind of negative energy to help her progress as both a person and an artist.
The Katy Perry of “Ur So Gay” in 2008 already seemed decades away from the candy-flavored Perry of 2010’s Teenage Dream, the down-to-earth adult contempo-vibe Perry of 2013’s Prism and the conscious pop warrior of Witness.
Perry says that in her new music she always tries to hold onto the experimentation and authenticity that she feels has characterised her music from the beginning.
But this is merely part of a musician’s artistic development, as she says that those changes reflect her maturing as an artist and a person throughout the years.
“I am now witnessing first hand, kind of what my parents talked about that change does happen every generation and you will change from your twenties to your thirties,” she explains.
“And, luckily for me, there’s been maturity, humility and there’s been both good and bad. But it’s been a necessary yin and yang to learn everything I’ve had to learn.”
In order for her fans to understand her growth, and also grow along with her, she feels the fans need to look beyond just her singles and listen to her albums in full to have a better idea of her musical journey.
“It’s kind of like the difference between reading a headline and reading the whole story,” she says.
Her fans are not the only thing that Perry enjoys about Indonesia.
Perry said though she had not visited a lot of places in Indonesia, those she had seen left an impact on her as they felt beautiful, authentic and full of culture and colour.
Aside from performing in Jakarta, Perry has visited Bali in her own time. She’s also used the popular island destination as a pit-stop for her tours, finding the natural beauty alluring. “It’s so magnificent and kind of heavenly. It’s very lush,” she said.
Perry’s appreciation of Indonesia has also made its way into her art. In her music video for “Chained to the Rhythm” she wore a pair of shoes designed by Indonesian designer Rinaldy Yunardi, signifying her recognition of Indonesian creative minds.
“I was telling a friend of mine earlier today, from the Philippines, ‘please bring me food’. And I will say a special message to fans in Indonesia, please bring me fashion.”
— Allison Hore is an intern with ACICIS program.