It’s 2017 and the bar for how internet-breaking your album release is, is pretty high in these times. In an attempt to out-do the rest Katy Perry launches her new album ‘Witness’ (which hit outlets last Thursday) with a live stream three day weekend in a house that was built especially for this event. This means if one tapped in to her Youtube stream, they could watch her “everyday life” uninterrupted — even the hours she took to sleep. Only it wasn’t truly Katy’s everyday life. There were celeb visitors, on-air therapy sessions, and manufactured moments. In this day in age with social media, and the watchful eyes of the world always on you, celebrity figures must have a public persona, and a private one, and with this plaguing her it seemed in a marketing-fueled concept KP wanted to finally bridge that gap. Vérité and photographer Allister Ann joined this livestream mania on it’s last hours during a casted show at which Katy Perry took the secret location stage in a spectacular head-to-toe silver sequined outfit. She had soon kicked off her heeled boots to dance the stage unbridled. She is charismatic, charming, and relatable — the type of girl you could totally have a good immature giggle with. No wonder her fans are so attached. She’s a friend to them, only just out of reach. Standing in a sea of super fans you get a front row seat to view the symbiotic obsessive relationship between glimmering star and her public — no wonder she feels pressure, these kids hold expectations.
Social media has created celebrity to another level, and followers come to their screens wanting to be let in more and more by their idols. While it may not make sense to all of us, some actually want to watch KP sleep. Many times during her live-weekend, Katy Perry logs on to Instagram Live to real-time chat with her fans, while simultaneously surrounded with voyeuristic-style cameras in the home. Where are the boundaries? How transparent is too transparent?
In a streamed therapy session with Siri Sat Nam Singh, Ph.D., Katy breaks down in tears stating just this, that as a public figure she has had to create Katy Perry a larger than life quirky girl, when at her core she is truly Katheryn Hudson. We have to ask though, did she not create this character herself, out of the depths of her creative mind? She did, however it’s an armor of sorts. A protection from the prying eyes, and sometimes hands, of those who want to snag a little piece of this mega-star. We’ve seen it time and time again,
so many artists struggle with the question of if their fans will evolve with them — if the creative is allowed to grow. Sardined between crazed KP fans with stars in their eyes (maybe even a few tears), we are assured that they will follow her anywhere.
The vaster issue though is the public’s understanding of what is real, and what is marketing smoke and mirrors. Katy Perry’s live streamed weekend was the perfect example of this. In an attempt to keep part of themselves private, yet appear to give it all to the fans so many influencers must construct a fictional version of themselves only to balance their sanity, and satisfy the voyeur.