Revisiting Katy Hudson’s Debut Album, 19 Years Later
What separates the casual Katy Perry fans from her ride or dies? It isn’t the fact that you purchased front row tickets to all of her tours, bought every album in an era of free streaming, or even dropped hundreds of a dollars for a 60-second meet and greet. The real question you have to ask yourself today is this: do you own an original copy of ‘Katy Hudson’?
Released March 6th of 2001, ‘Katy Hudson’ marks the debut album by the global megastar we now know as Katy Perry. Rooted in themes of Christianity and the trials of growing up, the 10-track project sees a young Katy dabbling in the rock, contemporary Christian and jazz genres with a youthful edge that calls to mind Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple. While the general public may refer to the project as “that Christian Katy Perry album,” ‘Katy Hudson’ is a surprisingly far cry from today’s mainstream Christian music dominated by folks like Hillsong, Lauren Daigle and Bethel. If anything, it remains a fascinating time capsule journal of one of the most important pop artists of our time, making it all the more disappointing that it’s now completely wiped from both streaming platforms and retail outlets.
‘Katy Hudson’ never got to enter the world of streaming. Following its release the same year, any prospect of revenue off the project was essentially eliminated when Hudson‘s label, Red Hill Records – a sub label of Pamplin Music – shut down operations. Today, fans and select outlets have reported that ‘Katy Hudson’ only sold less than 200 copies as a result. It remains unclear if this is true, but considering the fact that the project was sent to radio and supported with a tour under a relatively size-able label, we think this famous stat deserves a bit more research.
With the project shelved from retail and having no real home (aside from YouTube) on streaming platforms, physical copies of ‘Katy Hudson’ have become even more valuable nearly 20 years. A quick search on platforms like Amazon and eBay show the CD & cassette being sold for a rough average of $100, with descriptions noting that the copy is especially rare. According to one Reddit user, a copy of ‘Katy Hudson’ has sold for as much as $500.
To those not familiar with the rarity of ‘Katy Hudson’ or the history with Katy Perry, an original copy may look like garage sale fodder at first glance. That’s what happened when this internet user found the CD for just 99 cents at their local Salvation Army.
Katycats won’t let the memory of ‘Katy Hudson’ fade away online, though. In fact, there’s still debate to this day as to whether or not ‘Katy Hudson’ counts as the debut album from Katy Perry. It’s a rather trivial online debate that nonetheless has its worth within the fandom culture. To love Katy Perry is to also love Katy Hudson, at least according to fans who believe ‘Hudson’ serves as the singer’s proper debut album. By dismissing its relevance in Perry‘s discography, you’d essentially be wiping the history books outlining Perry‘s upbringing, influences and career trajectory that led her to the world stage today.
Those who believe Perry‘s breakout 2007 album, ‘One of the Boys’ to be her official debut have valid points as well. For one, Perry changed her stage name, a clear sign that she wanted to abandon elements of her sound in favor of a more mainstream audience. Perry talked in-depth about the choice to adopt the name during her ‘Witness’ livestream, revealing to a therapist that it’s had implications beyond just her professional career.
“A lot of people are living in fear from something that happened in their childhood, or some form of PTSD they picked up along the way, and I created this wonderful character called Katy Perry that I very much am, and can step into all the time, but I created that character out of protection. I was scared that if you saw me, Katheryn Hudson, the girl wearing the Bioré strip on my nose, you’d be like, ‘that’s not glamorous’. It was me going, ‘OK, I’ve been upset my whole childhood so I’m going to show the world I am something, that I am going to do something and that I am enough’. I didn’t want to be Katheryn Hudson. I hated that, it was too scary for me, so I decided to be someone else.”
With this interview in mind, it’s clear that the switch from Katy Hudson to Katy Perry was more than a cold business move puppeteered industry executives. Crowning ‘Katy Hudson’ the debut album comes off as disrespectful to some stans considering Perry was so obviously trying to pivot from the image she built at 16. At the same time, there’s also an aspect of hilarious pettiness as to why ‘Hudson’ should be scrapped from the books altogether. According to the chart-hungry stans, ‘Hudson’ is an undeniable flop that isn’t deserving of the “debut album” title among greats like ‘The Fame,’ ‘Born To Die,’ ‘Taylor Swift’ and ‘Pink Friday.’ To put it plainly, it’s just not as fun to say ‘One of the Boys’ is one of the greatest *sophomore* albums.
Lady Gaga’s debut album sold 75,000 times more than Katy Perry’s debut album, “Katy Hudson”. pic.twitter.com/87CooJdE30
— Music Facts News (@FactsMusicNews) May 7, 2015
Regardless of your opinion on the album, fans can agree that the Katy Hudson era spawned some priceless content giving a rare glimpse at the then-16 year old. Hudson‘s touring gig alongside fellow Christian music artists resulted in this gem of a home video below:
This interview during the middle of her tour supporting ‘Katy Hudson’ is another must watch for any stan. Knowing now that it would take another seven years before her next album, ‘One of the Boys’ to be released, it’s interesting to hear what Hudson had to say when asked about her next career move:
We could go on and on with links to various performances, interviews and articles during Hudson‘s formative years. Instead, we’ll leave you with the following: a complete breakdown of every track from ‘Katy Hudson’ from the singer-songwriter herself, originally published on the now defunct website KatyHudson.com.
Trust In Me: I was feeling a little depressed at the time, and was thinking about all the things I’d done wrong. I felt like I was oil and God was water, and I just wouldn’t mix. I started writing about this and God placed a peace in my heart. I really felt He was saying, “Don’t worry child, trust in me.” I just had to open my heart to the healing process. It’s funny how sometimes we think that we can be so horrible that God would turn His back to His own. I guess we will never really understand His mercy until we see His Glory.
Piercing: This is an aggressive song because I hate how people are so blinded by the so-called “necessities” of life, when truly nothing on this earth will ever satisfy you. I wanted to write a song about how people are so infatuated with the things of this world. We wrote about how everyone is so blinded with what they want, but they don’t know what they really need.
Search Me: I was struggling with the fact that I would have the huge responsibility of how others would be affected through what I was doing or saying on stage. I don’t want to put on some kind of front that everything is good when it’s not. I wanted to keep it real, but still give people hope. I was trying to figure out how to combine the two, so I put my gifts on the shelf for a period of time. I looked back and realized God was with me through this season of my life. He knew one day I would wake up and remember the amazing gift I was given and how so many other people would love to be on the stage that I had been letting collecting dust.
Last Call: The title practically explains everything. I was reading the book called “Last Call For Help” by Dawson McAllister and my dad came home one day and said I was supposed to write a song about someone’s “Last Call.” He didn’t even know I was reading that book. I was thinking of all the stories in the book of how the kids were desperate for help and had tried so many areas. I wanted to do my own hotline so I used the number of the church my dad pastors – 899-3833. I made the character realize that this phone call to God for help was the best one he ever made.
Growing Pains: I think this is what kids want to say, like it’s their anthem. I think they don’t like being written off as if they don’t know much about God or what they really believe in. Sometimes older people can easily stereotype this generation because of what it has been told – basically, the lies that say we aren’t any good, or all we will do is drugs and get into a bunch of trouble. It’s not true. I haven’t ever seen an age limit on who God can use. I don’t have it all figured out, but for me, I want to share what I know, and give everything I have been given, because that is my calling.
My Own Monster: After asking kids in a joking kind of way if they still had nightlights, they responded with a cheer, after I exposed one of my more personal secrets with them – that I too struggle with fear. One night I realized I needed God “to help me, to hold me,” as the chorus says. Growing up, my parents would tell me to pray when I got scared, and to tell the devil to flee. I remembered all that and wanted to write about how I find my refuge underneath His wings. You can’t open up to fear – it’ll eat you.
Spit: My mom titled this song, and now she really thinks she’s cool (ha ha). This song was written when I was in the eighth grade. I wrote it because of the hypocrisy at my Christian school. I was wondering how people would change and shape up if Christ was here attending my school. I was like, if Jesus came back as a simple high school kid, how would you act in front of Him? Don’t you understand the pain He feels when you do these things – basically spit in his face. It’s a mockery. but there’s the truth. When you ask Christ into your heart He’s there, in your heart, wherever you go. He sees it all. I want people to understand that it hurts Christ when they ignore Him and live their lives. The pain is like crucifying Him again and again. But can you believe it? He forgives everything.
Faith Won’t Fall: I was just thinking about faith and how it’s so sufficient in every situation in the Bible. When Daniel was in the lion’s den or when Peter walked on the water, they had the faith to look past their problems. A lot of times I’ll get distracted and lose focus in my relationship with Christ. I try to keep on and have that persistent faith to get me through things, and even that small little mustard seed of faith always moves my mountain.
Naturally: I believe that some teens have their loneliest moments during this times of their lives. I think they are going through the trials of growing up and all that comes with it, whether it be issues with parents or thinking they are the only ones going through what they are going through. They don’t realize that they have a Best Friend that has never let them down – someone that is on their side. He understands it all.
When There’s Nothing Left: This song is a crisp, clean, simple “love note” to God kind of song. I was thinking of how many instances we have these love stories about couples doing whatever they have to do to be together – they would even die to be together. I wanted to write about a more famous love story, one that did do everything so that we could be together eternally. I wrote as though I was in love romantically with Him, like I would always give Him all of me when I didn’t have anymore to give.
Do you own a physical copy of ‘Katy Hudson’? Do you think it should eventually be released on streaming services? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @PopCrave!