What does it means to be the biggest pop star on the planet in 2013?
In this week's cover story, Katy Perry gave EW an all-access pass to her crazy world (spoiler alert: we saw her boobs), as we spent a week criss-crossing the globe with her from L.A. to London, Berlin, and New York.
"You're gonna see all different kinds of things," Perry warned in L.A. at the outset of our trip. And she wasn't kidding: Closing out the mammoth iTunes Festival. Sipping champagne with a giant German gentleman with bedazzled eyebrows named Bubbles (he's a member of the superfan contingent known as Katycats). Late-night tea in a London hotel lobby with a rock icon. Twitter accounts named after her breasts. Near-constant jet lag. Being Katy Perry (or even just being her plus-one) is an exhausting, exhilarating ride.
Perry's openness extended to our multiple interviews with the singer where she talks about everything from God to falling in love to what she thinks of her pop-star contemporaries:
On current boyfriend John Mayer, the inspiration for the Prism track "Legendary Lovers": "I actually wrote it in an email one time, and after I wrote it I looked we had a long courtship before anything was [public], just writing letters to each other and seeing 'legendary lovers,' it sounded so nice. Some things float into my mind, and I process them, and [then] I make songs about them."
On headline-grabber Miley Cyrus: "She's what, 19 or 20? She's just living her life. She's super young, and there's no directing book on how to do this. Each of us find our own way, and some of us make it out alive and some of us don't. I mean, Madonna was naked [too]. The thing is, people come to me and ask me, out of default, what I think about all these girls, but at the end of it all I shouldn't be considered the behavior police, because I'm not always going to be on my best behavior!"
On her perceived rivalry with Lady Gaga: "Gaga and I like to publicly dismiss it because it's not healthy. You want to feel music. You want it to resonate and relate to you. You can't look at it like a competition because you ruin the reason why you love music. But I think that sometimes our fan groups are so big and strong, they use it as ammunition."
For the full story, find the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands this Friday. And go to our Facebook page to watch an exclusive interview with Katy talking about her current style influences (The Craft and Empire Records, anyone?).