A former Christian artist, Katy Perry rose to prominence during the summer of 2008 with her club-ready pop music and cheeky, larger-than-life attitude. Born on October 25, 1984, in Santa Barbara, CA, Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson grew up in a religious household as the daughter of two pastors. Though she was not allowed to listen to secular music as a child, she later found herself captivated by Alanis Morissette and Freddie Mercury, having discovered Queen's music during a slumber party. Religious music remained at the forefront, however, and Katy released a self-titled Christian album in 2001 under the name Katy Hudson. She would later abandon the genre (and her original surname) in favor of a pop career.
At age 17, she began working with hitmaker Glen Ballard, who had produced and co-written Alanis Morissette's chart-topping Jagged Little Pill in 1995. Several years later, she teamed up with the Matrix, a Grammy-nominated production/songwriting team whose résumé included collaborations with Avril Lavigne, Shakira, and Korn. Tired of producing music for other artists, the Matrix had plans to record an album of their own, with Perry serving as one of the group's two singers. The project was ultimately shelved, but not before Perry appeared in a 2004 write-up by Blender magazine, who hailed her as "The Next Big Thing!"
With the Matrix's unreleased album sitting in the vaults at Sony Records, Perry went back to the drawing board and eventually signed with Columbia in 2007. Her debut single, "UR So Gay," generated a modest buzz with its mischievous lyrics, but it was "I Kissed a Girl" that proved to be her breakthrough hit, topping the charts in 20 countries and pushing its accompanying album, 2008's One of the Boys, into the Top Ten in America. Perry supported her debut by joining the Warped Tour that summer, where she toured alongside boyfriend Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes. Meanwhile, "Hot N Cold" became her second number one hit, "Thinking of You" (one of the album's three songs written solely by Perry) cracked the Top 40, and "Waking Up in Vegas" cracked the Top Ten. Such success meant Katy Perry had officially become one of the industry's brightest pop stars, celebrated as much for her outsized behavior and outrageous fashion sense as her music itself, and she continued touring through the summer of 2009. She also found time to tape an installment of MTV Unplugged, which was aired on TV and released in CD/DVD format later that year.