Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson was born in Santa Barbara, California, on October 24, 1984. She grew up in a devout Christian household as the daughter of two pastors. Katy Perry began her music career when she was signed to Christian label Red Hill Records in 2000 and released the eponymous Katy Hudson in 2001. Although she looked set for a career in the genre, Red Hill shut down shortly after, and the album did not sell well.
During her teenage years, Katy Perry stumbled upon a Queen album at a slumber party and was opened to a whole new world of music. At the time she was barred from listening to secular music by her parents, but by 2004, Perry had left the Christian genre and was looking toward a career in pop music. She began working with producer and writer Glen Ballard, who worked on Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill as well as the production team at The Matrix, who have worked with a number of artists, including Avril Lavigne, Korn, and Britney Spears, among others. The two teams worked on albums together, and although they were never released, some of the songs produced, including "Box," Diamonds," and "Long Shot," were released online. Ballard helped Perry get signed to Capitol Records, and in 2007, she began work on her debut mainstream album.
Katy Perry first gained mainstream notice with the release of the single "Ur So Gay." The song was a source of controversy due to its subject matter. According to an interview with Prefix Magazine, Perry says the song refers to the actions of an ex-boyfriend, but some gay and lesbian groups argued the lyrics are homophobic. The articles about the song barely dropped from the headlines before Perry released her second single, "I Kissed a Girl." The song garnered criticism from both anti- and pro-gay groups. The former derided the song for the promotion of homosexuality, and the latter argued that the song used homosexuality as a vehicle to gain notice from the press, according to a review from Slant Magazine. Despite the criticism, "Ur So Gay" reached number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales Chart, while "I Kissed a Girl" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album, One of the Boys, also did well, reaching number nine on the Billboard 200 and the top 20 in at least five other countries.