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Witness... the authentic Katy Perry

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While Katy Perry is a pop-superstar, known for her sexually explicit lyrics and catchy dance-pop songs, the release of her fourth studio album, Witness (2017), saw the singer attempt to distance herself from her ‘Katy Perry’ persona. According to Baudrillard, people feel so lost in an artificial world of simulacra that people cling nostalgically to reality, truth, and reason. Baudrillard’s claim that people cling to notions of reality and authenticity can be seen with Perry, who used Witness as a storytelling vehicle to ‘introduce’ the ‘real’ person behind the celebrity persona, Katheryn Hudson. By constructing the tale that Hudson is the singer’s true self, the perceived liberation of Perry from the shackles of her celebrity persona frames Witness as an era distinct from previous albums. This article will critically examine the construction of this story throughout the Witness era, discussing how the singer’s desire to be witnessed ultimately reiterates Meyers’ claim that celebrities can never be known. Although Perry attempts to reveal her authentic identity to fans by manufacturing a clear division between her celebrity persona, and the person behind the persona, this narrative raises issues around authenticity and reality, as the singer has arguably become lost in the hyperreal.
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Keywords: Katy Perry; authenticity; music; pop music; pop stars; simulation and simulacra

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Auckland University of Technology

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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