You can’t chain Katy Perry to a singular style. As one of the world’s reigning popstars, the singer has experimented with everything from pastel purple hair to her current platinum blonde pixie cut with an unparalleled level of confidence —whether she’s singing about society’s numbness to world issues in “Chained to the Rhythm” or paying homage to the women in her home state in “California Girls.”
It’s celebrating your individuality by rejecting society’s status quo and staying true to your authentic self that’s the inspiration behind INDI, the latest addition to the singer’s growing fragrance collection. This new scent is housed in a sleek, rectangular, monochromatic bottle. Although the fragrance looks dramatically more minimalist than the singer’s previously kitschy playful scents, there’s nothing subtle about its notes. INDI is a blend of 11 different musks blended with sweet top notes of oriental plum and Italian bergamot. The warm feeling that reminds the women in INDI’s campaign video above of "comfort" and “home”? That’s thanks to a combo of fresh muguet and white cedar wood that mingle with amber and vanilla, the scent’s background notes.
We spoke with Perry to get an exclusive first look at her scent, which launches today at Walgreensfor $25. Keep scrolling to check out INDI, and to find out what fragrance the singer can pick out of a crowd, her first scent memory, and more.
Your new fragrance INDI is much muskier than your previous scents. What drew you to using 11 different musks as its base ingredients?
I’ve done gourmand and floral scents, and the musk to me is still feminine, but it’s not a traditional feminine. These days, I’m more drawn to a more androgynous approach to things, and I think that’s what this bottle is a little bit representative of. I think musk equals mystery. I think if you walk into the room and you smell mysterious, people will start to ask questions and start conversations. Therefore you can communicate, and quite possibly, meet the love of your life.
That’s true. You don’t want to give everything away at once because then you have nothing to learn about a person.
INDI’s bottle is a lot less kitschy and playful than your previous scents. What made you take a more minimalist approach and look with this fragrance?
I’ll always probably continue to do stuff that has a bit of kitsch to it and humor, but I wanted to go bit minimalist this time because I think we are in a bit of that world right now where it’s about clean lines, minimalism, and less is more, even though I’m kind of a “more is more” woman. This bottle younger and fresher and represents that. I think this is probably my favorite scent I’ve ever made. Of course, I love all of the ones I’ve made, but this fragrance is the one I find myself wanting to wear in everyday situations. I wanted INDI to be a little bit more art-based rather than kitschy, although I love Killer Queen ($26; walgreens.com) because its bottle is so beautiful laying on its side and felt really expensive. This still does feel really expensive and heavy, but it’s more clean and minimalist, which I think represents the times right now.
The campaign video for INDI features the stories of a handful of inspiring female influencers. How did you go about selecting these women to be a part of it?
One of the reveals about INDI is that it isn’t “indie” as in “hipster”. It’s INDI as in “individual,” and I think there’s something beautiful about being an individual and being different. I think that we’re all realizing and coming to the conclusion that we’re all different on this planet together. Until NASA takes us to Mars, we only have one place to live and we have to get along. I wanted to pick a real eclectic group of women that are strong, powerful, and represented all kinds of different people. This group of women represent the difference together. There’s Ren Spriggs who's transgender model, Blake Von D who lives in Chicago and is in fashion and an attorney, Marilyn Rondón is an artist in Venezuela, Felicity Hayward from London is a body activist, and Brianna Lance is a musician in New York.
I met all of them, but I found them by going online and seeing what they stood for on there. Then we kind of cold-called them by messaging them on Instagram and things like that to see if they wanted to be a part of it. I wanted an inclusive group and I think they represent that. It’s not about one woman, but it’s kind of like “I’m every woman, it’s all in me,” it’s not a one woman situation.
Circling back to scents, what’s your most vivid scent memory?
I have two of them. My first boyfriend who I dated who I gave it all to when I was 17 wore Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani. To this day, there’s been several times where I’ve stepped into a packed elevator and someone will be wearing Acqua di Gio, and it will instantly take me way back to my first boyfriend.
My first scent memory is the smell of my fresh diapers and my mom putting them on me. They had a little blue and red Mickey Mouse print. I remember the baby powder and the way that the actual diaper smelled. That’s pretty early memory in itself, but for some reason it’s vivid to me.
You promoted one of your new songs “Bon Appétit ” with an art prank at The Whitney where you became part of a feast full of food, what’s one food you could smell forever and not get sick of?
The moment I smell garlic hitting a pan, I’m like “Is it the holidays?” It makes me feel so cozy when someone starts cooking garlic. It’s like signaling dinner is ready and there’s something really primal about it.
Vanilla too. The vanilla in INDI is intertwined with 11 different musks, and we all know vanilla is an aphrodisiac and delightful to smell on a person. That’s why I wanted to intertwine it with the different musks to give it a bit of sweetness. I’ve wearing vanilla in all different forms since I was 11.
This fragrance is all about embracing your individuality. What are some self-care and wellness rituals you swear by when you’re feeling down to make you feel powerful.
I’ve been practicing transcendental meditation for over 5 years. A combination of that, and now I do yoga, which is lovely. I’ve never done yoga because I didn’t understand it and I thought it was boring and slow. The truth of the matter is that I wasn’t ready for it yet. I have a bit of an overactive mind and sometimes it can be too active so I short circuit. With yoga, I have to stop thinking about a 100 things and focus on the balance. The one center point, so I can bring my leg up to the position I want. So, it really makes me focus individually and fully on one thing and brings me very present because I’m always planning for the future, whether it’s for a tour or et cetera. The yoga makes you live in the present because if not, you will fall over from the lack of balance.
That and the transcendental meditation, which I’ve talked about in many capacities. The transcendental meditation really opens up my mind. When I do it, I feel like I can access many different neural pathways that were blocked or fuzzy and full of cobwebs. I have some of my best creative ideas from that.