Katy Hudson is the debut studio album released by Katy Perry, who was at that time performing under her birth name, Katy Hudson. It was released on March 6, 2001 to Christian music retailers. This would be her only gospel album before she made the switch to mainstream pop music. Hudson is credited as an author of four of the songs on the album, while is credited as a co-author on the remaining six. "Trust in Me" was the lead single, followed by "Search Me".
On June 1, 2012 the album was re-released on iTunes and Amazon under the name Katy Hudson and the label R-records. In 2017 Perry mentioned the album and how she doesn't consider it as part of her discography.
Background and production
Sometime in her early teens, Katy Hudson (now better known as Katy Perry) came in connection with producer David Henely. According to Henely, he saw huge potential in Perry, believing "she had the platform that could change the world". With that he offered to help produce a demo with Perry. Eventually, she caught the interest of Dr Pamplin, head of an independent Christian record label called Red Hill Records. The label was looking for an artist who could hold the audience's attention, be a good role model, all while promoting the message of Christianity. Pamplin signed Perry to his label and invited her to Nashville, Tennessee to record an album.
In Nashville, Perry had the help of several music veterans who helped her work on her songwriting craft telling Christian Retelling, "So I'd go to Nashville and I'd be around all these veteran music writers and they would show me how to carve a song...I saw how important that was and it gave me a format. You need to have an arch in the middle [of each song]. You want to have your verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge and then chorus. I didn't know that - it can be so many different ways and you don't even have to have rules to writing a song."
Co-writer Brian White worked with Katy Perry through the writing of the record and had her write devotionals for every song. These were short themed essays which explained the biblical references that each of the songs stemmed from. Meant as glimpses behind the inspiration of the music that the listener can read along to as they listened to the record. White explained that with a Christian record the focus is the message and ensuring it is "theologically sound." "Katy really wanted to challenge her audience as well as share her struggles in a very transparent way," White recalled, "Truth was important, and her honesty was amazing."
Katy Perry shared her ambitions for the album with Christian Music Central saying:
|“||I started writing songs when I realized that singing other people's lyrics was more an expression of their heart than mine. Writing this album was very important to me. I felt I'd been given a message and was supposed to voice it in my own words. I want to be an artist, not just someone who puts her name on a CD - and I didn't want to be written off as just another teenager with a record deal. My ultimate goal is to show people that they aren't alone. If they feel they've been let down by parents, teachers, spouses or friends, there is a best friend who will never let them down.||”|
After the album creation was completed, Christian artist Jennifer Knapp and her business partner Steven Thomas signed Perry under Alabaster Arts, a management that sought promising rock talent. Knapp and Thomas searched for years to find the right talent and were impressed with Katy Perry, who was 15 at this time. According to Thomas "Katy had the right combination of talent and heart. We hesitated to sign a teenager, but Katy pulled us by our heartstrings from the very beginning. We believe she has staying power, primarily because she's a strong songwriter."
To promote the upcoming album and to put herself out in the Christian music market, Katy Perry did several interviews with Christian media and embarked on The Strangely Normal Tour in February 2001, while also opening for artists such as Jessica Knapp and Phil Noel. Her setlist featured Perry singing with just a guitar and was said to be a three-song setlist which included "Search Me".
The album was officially released in March 6, 2001. Perry had set up her website, with the same name with a passage explaining the inspiration behind each of the tracks that appeared on the album. Most of the music genres are Christian music, with pop rock, rock and some aggressive tunes, which Hudson pointed that "Piercing" was one of them.
The album was met with mixed reviews. While some reviewers praised Perry's strong songwriting craft, others didn't appreciate the secular undertones of her lyrics. Red Hill Records was also going through financial difficulties and were dropping artists from the label. Katy Perry recalled this time on Effect Radio, sharing her initial fear, "They told me some female artists were going on the chopping block. I was only 17 and I was devastated." Perry later mentioned she was saved since someone sent Dr Pamplin, the head of the label, her album which reminded him that she had worked with him before. He invited her to perform at his church in Oregon. What followed were a series of performances between September 2001 and October 2001, where she supported Christian artist Bebo Norman in churches across the United States.
Due to the small marketing budget of the label, the album didn't reach to the average Christian music listener. Production and distribution of the album ceased after Red Hill Records folded at the end of 2001. The album sold fewer than 200 copies. Later, due to Hudson's increased popularity, demand for the album increased as well. Copies of the CD, which are very rare, are sold at eBay.
|The Phantom Tollbooth|
Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic awarded Katy Hudson three stars out of five, stating that with the album, Hudson had "betray[ed] a heavy, heavy debt to Alanis Morissette". Erlewine also interpreted some of the songs' lyrics as having sexual overtones, and identifying those as "the most interesting things" in the album, describing the record's overall sound as "the kind of assaultive, over-produced Wall of Sound that some CCM rockers do in order to prove they're contemporary".
Christianity Today writer Russ Breimeier was positive about Katy Hudson, highlighting Hudson's songwriting style for being "insightful and well matched to the emotional power" of Hudson's music. He further deemed Hudson a "young talent" and expected to hear more from her in the next year. Similarly, Tony Cummings from Cross Rhythms also considered Hudson to be a "vocal talent", recommending readers to listen to the album. The Phantom Tollbooth's Andy Argyrakis stated that Hudson having been reared in church had "paid off", and noted that "Although a mere pop lightweight, it's hard to ignore Hudson's sincerity and lyrical maturity." DEP from Billboard, also calling Hudson a talent, classified the record as "textured modern-rock collection that is equal parts grit and vulnerability" and "impressive". The album was a commercial failure for Red Hill Records, selling between 100 and 200 copies.
- "Trust in Me" was released as the lead single from the album. It was released on March 6, 2001. The song received positive reviews from music critics, but failed to chart. The song unfortunately received poor airplay on Christian music radio stations throughout America.
- "Search Me" is the second single from the album and was released in June 2001. The song included a B-side, "Last Call", which served as a promotional single.
|1.||"Trust in Me"||04:46|
|6.||"My Own Monster"||05:25|
|8.||"Faith Won't Fail"||05:14|
|10.||"When There's Nothing Left"||06:45|
|The Katy Perry Wiki|
This is the booklet for the Audio CD release.
Three editions of the album are known, all include the same track list:
- Audio CD
- Audio Cassete
- "Pre-Release" promotional version
To promote the album Hudson went on a tour, opening for Phil Joel, Earthsuit, and V*Enna and later a 46-state solo tour.
|September 6, 2001||Sherman||United States||Austin College Auditorium|
|September 7, 2001||San Antonio||University United Methodist Church|
|September 8, 2001||Abilene||Hardin–Simmons University|
|September 9, 2001||Austin||Westlake Bible Church|
|September 11, 2001||Wichita Falls||The Wichita Theater|
|September 13, 2001||Dallas||The Door|
|September 14, 2001||Norman||Common Ground CoffeeHouse|
|September 15, 2001||Houston||1st Baptist Church-Metro Worship|
|September 16, 2001||Bryan||VFW Wall|
|September 19, 2001||Lubbock||Indiana Avenue Baptist Church|
|September 21, 2001||Bartlesville||Bartlesville Weslyan College|
|September 22, 2001||Shiloam Springs||JBU Cathedral of the Ozarks|
|September 23, 2001||Jonesboro||First Baptist Church|
|September 26, 2001||Arkadelphia||Ouchita Baptist University|
|September 28, 2001||Grove City||Grove City College (Crawford Auditorium)|
|September 29, 2001||Grantham||Messiah College (Brewbaker Auditorium)|
|October 3, 2001||Malibu||Pepperdine University|
|October 6, 2001||Deerfield||Trinity College|
|October 7, 2001||Westbrook||Westbrook Christian Church|
|October 9, 2001||Upland||Taylor University|
|October 11, 2001||Toledo||University of Toledo|
|October 12, 2001||Dubuque||Emmaus Bible College Auditorium|
|October 13, 2001||Wilmore||Asbury College|
|October 14, 2001||Nashville||Belcourt Theater|
|October 15, 2001|
|October 16, 2001||Lafayette||University Church at Purdue University|
|October 18, 2001||Bloomington||Sherwood Oaks Christian|
|October 20, 2001||Grand Rapids||Ground Floor, Res Life Church|
|October 21, 2001||Milwaukee||Crossroads Presbyterian|
|October 22, 2001||New Brighton||O'Shaughnessy Education Center|
|October 23, 2001||Sioux Falls||University of Sioux Falls|
|October 25, 2001||Colorado Springs||Vanguard Church|
|October 26, 2001||Boulder||Flat Irons Theater|
|October 27, 2001||Denver||Regis University Auditorium|
|October 28, 2001||Buena Vista||Mountain Heights Baptist|
|October 31, 2001||Hattiesburg||William Carey College (Smith Auditorium)|
|November 1, 2001||Gainesville||Florida Theater|
|November 2, 2001||Tallahassee||Lawton Chiles Auditorium|
|November 4, 2001||Orlando||Wesley Foundation|
|November 9, 2001||West Palm||Palm Beach Atlantic College|
|November 11, 2001||Clemson||Clemson University|
|November 12, 2001||Montgomery||The Train Shed|
|November 13, 2001||Auburn||Auburn University|
|November 16, 2001||Columbia||Shandon Baptist Church|
|November 17, 2001||Elon||1st United Methodist Church of Elon|
|November 18, 2001||Harrisonburg||Court Square Theater|
- Katy Perry: A Life of Fireworks. 2011. Chloe Govan.