Smile

Album: Smile (2020)
Charted: 73

Songfacts®:

  • During this life-affirming song, Katy Perry sings about how she'd lost her sparkle because of failures and rejection. She eventually overcame her challenges after realizing that such setbacks often turn out to be "God's protection" and "every tear has been a lesson." Now, Perry is grateful for her journey to redemption and has a smile so "big and bright, need shades just to see me."

    "I wrote this song when I was coming through one of the darkest periods of my life," said Perry. "When I listen to it now, it's a great reminder that I made it through. It's three minutes of energizing hopefulness."
  • Perry named her sixth album after this cheery anthem because it sums up its theme of overcoming depression. "This whole album is my journey towards the light," she explained, "with stories of resilience, hope, and love."
  • Katy Perry wrote "Smile" with Ferras, Benny Golson and Starrah, plus its producers Josh Abraham and Oligee. Naughty By Nature's Vin Rock, Kay Gee and Anthony Criss also get credited because the song heavily samples their 1999 hit single "Jamboree."
  • A demo version of "Smile" featuring vocals by the rapper Diddy leaked in early May 2020. It's unclear why his contribution was later removed.
  • Katy Perry released a kooky performance video for "Smile" in which she gives a modern maternity spin on clown attire. Clad in a colorful polka dot outfit, the pregnant pop star performs the song against a backdrop of several giant clown hands, and at one point balances on her giant smiling face. The joyous visual matches the clown theme on the Smile album's cover art.
  • The official music video was directed by Matthew Cullen, who also filmed Perry's clips for "California Gurls," "Dark Horse" and "Chained to the Rhythm." The visual finds the pregnant pop star discovering a gaming system in her home and getting hooked on a circus-inspired video game with characters animated by Nathan Love.
  • Perry garnered criticism for releasing a single (and album) titled "Smile" during the coronavirus pandemic. Asked by The Guardian if she's bothered by such opinions, Perry replied. "If we don't have hope, it can get really, really dark, and this song is not just ignorant escapism happiness. Even though some people are going through that darkness, hopefully they can hear that one person made it through."

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