Going into the documentary “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” I knew next to nothing about Katy Perry. It turns out I’ve heard her music before, just didn’t know it was hers. I knew she liked to wear colorful costumes (minus the Lady Gaga extremes) and was married to British comedian Russell Brand.
That was it.
So, I must admit, I was enlightened, not in a Zen Buddhist sort of way, but in an appreciation of how a genuinely kind and gifted singer could reach superstardom and not let if affect her in basic ways.
She still does meet-and-greets after concerts, getting to know a handful of fans one on one. She doesn’t bristle when asked for an autograph or a photo. And she seems sincere when she says she loves to see smiles on the faces when she sings.
Is it all an act? If it is, it’s a good one.
This was filmed during a worldwide tour in 2011, in which she started with a determination to spend as much time with her new hubby, Russ (as she called him). I could have sworn I heard him call her “my little sausage.” He did not just call Katy a little porker. Strike one!
She would fly home to Los Angeles no matter where in the world she might be performing, just to spend some time with him. I never saw him fly anywhere to meet her. Strike two!
Strike three would come eventually, offering up the film’s purest reveal of a brokenhearted young woman. Frankly, she looked like hell, lying there, sobbing, no makeup, swollen eyes, hair net. Pretty tough to fake all that.
And all of this is going on while thousands of adoring fans were waiting patiently in a Sao Paulo, Brazil, arena chanting her name. The idea that the show must go on seemed the furthest thing from her mind as she wept uncontrollably at the news that she and her husband of 14 months were splitting up.
If you want to see genuine determination and resolve, see what happens next as her handlers suggest they cancel the show. I learned one thing — Katy Perry is one tough little cookie.
I also learned that she grew up in a restrictive Pentecostal environment where pop music was never played, and even Disney films were not allowed in her home.
I learned that she writes her own songs based on experiences in her life, and she resisted two record labels that wanted her to be someone else.
As a result, I came away from “Katy Perry: Part of Me” with a whole new respect for an inspiring young pop singer who truly identifies with her fan base.
I am certainly not the target demographic for this movie, but I have become an admirer nonetheless. Plus, I can’t get that darn “Firework” song out of my head.