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Flashback: Katy Perry Sings With Christian Nu-Metal Band P.O.D.

Before she was famous, the future pop star made this unlikely appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’

Suzy Exposito Oct 16, 2015

UPDATE: In response to other websites categorizing Katy Perry as a “backup singer” in reference to her collaboration with P.O.D., the band’s Marcos Curiel has shared the following statement with Rolling Stone: “This is revisionist history and disrespectful to our girl Katy who was NEVER a backup singer ”¦ We invited her to participate on our record as she was and is still is one of the few pop artists with strong musicianship roots ”¦ She paid her dues not as a backup singer but in a van going town to town. This is the problem with music journalism today ”¦ Shabby reporting. No research. No history.”

Katy Perry is one of the biggest pop stars of all time ”” two of her music videos have over a billion views on YouTube and she’s sold millions of albums worldwide. But nearly 10 years ago, she played her biggest stage at the time, on the Tonight Show, not as the solo artist fans know and love, but as a singer with Christian alternative metal band P.O.D. (otherwise known as Payable on Death).

 Unbeknownst to many of her diehards, Katy Perry first cut her teeth in the industry as Katy Hudson: Christian singer-songwriter and daughter of evangelical pastor Keith Hudson. Looking to win over the gospel market, she encountered several difficulties, including a poorly performing self-titled debut released on now-defunct Christian label Red Hill Records. But by 2006 she was going by Katy Perry and working with a variety of bands and recording vocal tracks.

Having already dominated both Christian and secular alt-rock radio, San Diego nu-metal band P.O.D. connected with Perry though producer Glen Ballard, leading up to their 2006 collaboration “Goodbye for Now.” Sporting side bangs and modest dress, Perry can be seen singing spiritedly in the shadow of dread-headed P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval on the Tonight Show; you can also see her in the official music video for the song below.

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“When we did that song ‘Goodbye for Now,’ we’re like, you know what would be cool is if we just got a cool female vocal,” Sandoval told Songfacts in 2012. And he’s [Glen Ballard] like, ‘I got just the perfect person.’ And here comes little Katy Perry. She’s a little studio rat, she’d just come around, and such a sweet girl. You could tell she came from a good family, and just wanted to show the Jesus tattoo on her wrist, and she was like, ‘I think I saw you guys in a youth rally so many years ago.’ I’m like, ‘That’s so cool.’ But here she was in Hollywood trying to do her thing and make her career.”

Only two years later, Perry did just that, signing to Capitol Records and embracing her future as a Top 40 heathen with her trysexual breakout hit “I Kissed a Girl.” Yet, all the pyrotechnics and awkward Super Bowl sharks in the world can’t make us forget this particularly odd chapter in the pop singer’s career.


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