the past

Watch Footage of Katy Perry When She Was a 16-Year-Old Christian Singer-Songwriter

Katy Perry wasn’t always a walking neon dreamsicle, giving serious side eye with her new bestie Sam Smith and wearing all-denim homages to 2001-era Britney Spears at the VMAs. In 2001, she was a 16-year-old Christian singer-songwriter who was repeating the ninth grade for the second time, and she wore un-ironic denim jackets. Videographer Jim Standridge discovered footage he shot of Perry during her first tour in 2001, when she was doing a show in Portland, Oregon, to celebrate signing with Red Hill Records, with whom she would release her first album, Katy Hudson.

Standridge put together a 13-minute clip (from 90 minutes of footage), in which we see Perry practicing guitar riffs, putting her hair in pigtails, and calling herself a “pizza face.” Back then, she was into Patty Griffin and Nichole Nordeman (a Christian singer-songwriter), but like the Perry we know and love, she was still into makeup. “Everyone thinks I’m a superstar, like a rock star, but that’s not how I am,” she said. “I’m just some little kid from California who plays the guitar and sings.” My, my, how they grow.

See 16-Year-Old Katy Perry Before She Was Famous