At the beginning of 2017, Katy Perry's single “Chained to the Rhythm" debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track sparked the cycle Katy Perry’s fifth album Witness, which received mixed reviews, but would still land in the top spot on the Billboard 200.
Despite the album's success on paper, reactions fell short of Perry’s expectations and disappointed the pop star, who has enjoyed the limelight since her breakthrough in 2008. “Music is my first love and I think it was the universe saying: ‘Okay, you speak all of this language about self-love and authenticity, but we are going to put you through another test and take away any kind of validating 'blankie.' Then we’ll see how much you do truly love yourself,'” she told Vogue Australia for their August cover story.
The 33-year-old revealed that she experienced depression following the album, which included features from artists like Migos and Nicki Minaj, and had to learn how to manage without the large amount of validation she’d grown accustomed to over the years. “I have had bouts of situational depression and my heart was broken last year because, unknowingly, I put so much validity in the reaction of the public, and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected to...which broke my heart,” she said.
She headed to California’s Hoffman Institute, described on their website as “a week-long healing retreat of transformation and development for people who feel stuck in one or more important areas of their life,” in January to recover.
“For years, my friends would go and come back completely rejuvenated, and I wanted to go, too,” Perry explained. “I was ready to let go of anything that was holding me back from myself.”
In the end, Perry says she’s recovered and grown from the experience.
“That brokenness, plus me opening up to a greater, higher power and reconnecting with divinity, gave me a wholeness I never had,” she said. “It gave me a new foundation. It’s not just a material foundation: It’s a soul foundation.”