To read more from the Summer Music Preview, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now — or buy it here. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
To say the 2016 presidential election changed the entire world is an understatement. The results — and continuing drama — have galvanized many, including Katy Perry. The superstar was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton and her campaign and readily admits that it is part of the transformation fans will see on her new album, Witness, out June 9.
“Now that I look at it, I was so grateful for the experience of the election to be able to find my voice and be able to test my voice,” says Perry. “There was a lot of noise about me taking a stand because I was a neutral girl for a while. I was okay when someone told me ‘Oh just shut up and sing.'”
In response to Clinton’s loss, Perry’s album includes the song “Bigger Than Me” which she says discusses “that something is happening that’s bigger than [Clinton]. Something’s happening bigger than me.” Perry adds that while Clinton was defeated by Donald Trump in the election, the loss is part of a larger battle.
“I don’t know when we’ll see the fruits of our labor. Yes, maybe at that moment she lost. But that might have been a battle and we’re looking at a war here. I think you have to think about long-term, long gain. I think it woke up a sleeping giant that was so petrified that is now getting its strength back and breathing and about to just slay! My friend DeRay [Mckessen, a prominent civil rights activist] says, ‘Don’t focus on the king — focus on the kingdom.’ The people are the ones that are going to change the situation — I really, really believe that.”
Apropos of her newfound voice, the first single off Witness was Perry’s most political song to date, “Chained to the Rhythm.” The song, which Perry worked on with Max Martin and Sia, and was written a week after Donald Trump won.
“I came into the room and it was like a week after the election and [Max and Sia] were somehow okay and I was definitely not okay. I couldn’t write a happy-go-lucky song. I wasn’t in that place but I also don’t want to preach to people because I’m not that person either. I want to empower people and lift people up.”
Witness is out June 9.