You Probably Think This Song is About You
By Jason Lamphier
Think quirky singer Katy Perry's new song, "Ur So Gay" (now available on iTunes), is an ode to her beloved gay pals? Think again. We caught up with the rising young pop star (and friend of Mika) to get the inside story on the cheeky single -- which is actually about her straight, guy-liner-wearing ex-boyfriend -- and her love for Freddie Mercury, Alexander McQueen, and her "main gay," actor Markus Molinari.
You've performed with Mika. How did you meet him?
I met him when he was making his record [Life in Cartoon Motion]. My producer, Greg Wells, told me I had to meet him. I fell in love with him and brought him out everywhere with me in L.A., telling everyone they had to me him. Nobody listened, and now he's Mika.
Why were you so drawn to him?
Mika's a lot like Freddie Mercury, and Freddie is my idol. He's so fun and has amazing energy. I love 'Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)' -- it's like [Queen's] 'Fat-Bottom Girls.'
Why the affinity for Queen?
[Mercury's] songs are insane. There's always a good story. I'm a big believer in good storytellers, especially in songs. 'Killer Queen' is my song; I feel like he wrote it about me. He was so flamboyant -- he didn't give a fuck. He was theatrical and always himself.
You've been compared to Avril Lavigne. How do you feel about this comparison?
I don't care. It's OK when I putting out my first [album] that people compare me to someone, then they'll get their own handle on what I'm doing. Avril has an insane voice, and I'm a fan of her really good songs. I used to be intimidated by girls in the pop music industry, but now I think I've found my voice. It's not a competition; it's about the songs.
What distinguishes you from the pack of young female pop singers?
Well, I don't take myself very seriously. I think some people forget about having a sense of humor. I also do a lot of my own songwriting. I wanna tell stories and make it cool to be a pop star again. It doesn't seem cool anymore. I wanna be Wonder Woman.
You have this song, 'Ur So Gay,' which is a kiss-off to your ex-boyfriend. What's the story there?
It stems from heartbreak, like most good songs. You know those relationships where it takes like nine months to dump someone? It was like that. I was home last winter, and my roommate and I were having dinner. I didn't have a chorus for the song, but I played her the verse. I said, 'I don't even know what to say. He's just so gay.' She's like, 'Why don't you just say that?' I said, 'Thank you, that's what I'm gonna say.' It's about guys with guy-liner that use flat irons.
Do you think he's actually gay?
No, he's not.
So why's that the first adjective that popped into your mind?
Umm' Well, it's just a saying. It's like calling someone a "biiitch.' You're like, 'Hey, biiitch!' It just felt appropriate.
Do you think the song will be offensive to your gay listeners?
I think when everyone hears it, they'll laugh. It's very funny and positive and kitsch. It's what Barbra Streisand would be singing if she were my age, I'd hope. I'm getting good energy from it.
You mention your ex hanging himself with an H&M scarf, vegetarianism, electric cars, and makeup. So this song is packed with gay stereotypes.
Is it? That just explains my ex-boyfriend.
Are you concerned about this single being controversial because you're reinforcing gay stereotypes?
No, I think gay people have a wonderful sense of humor. I think they'll get it and embrace it. It's an anthem for power of the people -- for females, gays, exes, anybody who's been broken up with that wants to get over a guy.
You would make a distinction between the traditional definition of gay -- what your gay friends would use -- and the definition you're using here? How would you define the term gay as used in this song?
The song is just my emotionalizing about my ex. There's no negative connotation. I always have a great sense of humor in life and in my songs. I think when people hear it, they're empowered by it.
Do you use the term bitch as freely?
Oh yeah, biiitch! I have a bad mouth. When I had meetings with people for a reality show, I was thinking they wouldn't want to do something with me. I think the only network I could probably be on is Bravo.
You realize Bravo is the favorite channel of many gays. And you wanna be Freddie Mercury and Wonder Woman. Katy, you very well may be a gay man trapped inside a female body.
There is a little gay man trapped inside me! I was a little suppressed in my life growing up, and people who are suppressed break out and spread their wings and are more flamboyant than the rest. We have a lot in common.
What did Mika say about 'Ur So Gay'?
He laughed. I came home one night, and he was signed on to Instant Messenger. He wrote, 'That 'Ur So Gay' song is amaaazing.' I got the master's approval.
You've called yourself a 'clothes whore.' Weren't you attending fall fashion shows with [gay Summerland actor] Markus Molinari?
He's my main gay. I met him through the ex-boyfriend I wrote the song about. We went to Tokyo together, and we're in New York all the time. We were up till four in the morning playing Wii tennis last night. We're like each other, but in different bodies.
Do you help him dress?
We help each other and coordinate the outfits.
As a faux couple, what style do you opt for? Who are your favorite designers?
I opt for the Lolita look mostly. I'm wearing a bathing suit sitting in my management office right now. Very 1940s. I love Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, anything vintage, Coquette in L.A. I like things that are one of a kind. They fit my attitude.
How do you like to see men dress?
I like to see them reflect their personalities. Markus is always in a sports coat, patent leather shoes, a fedora, or a scarf that I always take off him. He's always ready for a Chanel party. He always has a bow-tie on. I like guys dressed up, but I also like the hip-hop guys, how they're busting out all the neon and crazy-ass shoes.
Would you consider yourself -- and I don't like this term -- a fag hag?
I don't like that term either. If you wanna have fun and be spontaneous and get on a flight to Paris tomorrow, I'm down. Let's be friends. Usually those people are gay.
To hear Katy Perry's new single, "Ur So Gay," head to iTunes or visit www.myspace.com/katyperry.