In short, Katy Perry’s Witness rollout didn’t go as planned, between the poor reviews and the lack of hits. “My negative thoughts were not great,” she told the Los Angeles Times in a new profile ahead of her album Smile, out August 28. Eventually, she turned to her friend Sia — whom Perry had previously taken under her own wing as what Sia called a “pop-star concierge” after Sia broke out with “Chandelier” in 2014. “She had a real breakdown,” Sia told the Times. “She’s on stage with ten candied lollipops and clowns and dancers, selling the dream, the joy, the happiness — and that’s really hard sometimes when you’re not feeling it yourself.” Sia continued, “I didn’t realize that she was so reliant on that validation for her psychological well-being. She did say ‘I feel lost.’ I think it was a big kick to her ego, but it was the best thing that could have ever happened to her, really, because now she can make music for the fun of it. Getting No. 1s does nothing for your inside.” Sia eventually played re-matchmaker for Perry and now-fiancé Orlando Bloom, talking to each of them individually after they split for a time in 2017.
Perry previously opened up to People for a cover story published August 5, explaining that the weeklong Hoffman Process retreat, which focuses on negative thoughts from childhood, helped her. “It got me out of this desperate loop of being the best pop star ever,” she told the magazine. “I just really want to be a human being and have the dimension of life.” But just because she’s past focusing on hits doesn’t mean she doesn’t take pride in them: “I’ve had all the numbers, honey. Still set those records, honey. Talk to me when you’ve done that,” she told the Times. “Do I need to keep ringing that bell, or can I start ringing others?”