It's been a rough few years, but Katy Perry is truly learning how to smile again.
In an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music, the pop star admitted that while she's finally found the silver lining with her forthcoming album, Smile (out August 28), things were dark for a while following the underperformance of her last album, Witness (released in 2017), which sent her spiraling into depression and self-doubt.
"The older you get, the more real life gets and the harder it gets to hold onto the pain that helped you create [music]," she told Lowe. "No longer is that pain helping you create songs. It's just tormenting your mind at that point, especially in your thirties, when things start to ache. Your body starts to not function. Your metabolism goes south. All things start to change in your thirties, but there's so much clarity that comes from it as well."
Perry explained that as a chart-topping pop star in the early 2010s, she was "getting pretty high off my own supply for a long time, and then it just didn't work after Witness."
"Like I said, it just changed by a few degrees from the outside looking in, but it was seismic for me. And I realized, 'Oh my God. I have given so much power out for validation and acceptance and love, and now it's not coming back to me,'" she shared.
Everything changed with Witness, which didn't seem to generate the same critical acclaim or public interest as previous albums, and paled in comparison to the chart performance of 2010's Teenage Dream.
"I used to really be able to fix my bouts of depression by just going, 'I'm going to write a freaking song,' or, 'I'm going to do this … I'll leave you in the dust. You break up with me, I'll show you. Here's a number one.' It didn't work anymore," Perry revealed.
"I broke up with my boyfriend. My expectations weren't met and the world didn't want to hear from me anymore at that moment," she continued. "They were like, 'That's enough. Thank you very much. You've given us something and we're good.' And I just couldn't get out of bed for weeks and became clinically depressed and had to get on medication for the first time in my life and I was so ashamed of it. I was like, 'I'm Katy Perry. I wrote 'Firework.' I'm on medication. This is f—ed up.'"
Thankfully, Perry bounced back. The hardship taught her to be kinder to herself and to appreciate the challenges she faced as they allowed her to become stronger and more resilient.
"I'm grateful for the pain because it pushed me towards the growth. And now, I feel like I'm not like a thirsty, desperate pop star that's just trying to like, hit a number. I feel like I've got more dimension. I have a baby on the way. I have a fiancé. I love my nieces. I love my soon-to-be stepson. I love life," she gushed.
Watch the full interview, below: