In my head, I wanted to be Madonna, but the music I was writing on paper was not what you'd choreograph dancers in costumes to. It was more coffee-house stuff.
I was writing songs as a kid about leprechauns and Catwoman and teapots - whatever it is that little girls wanna sing about. The first song I wrote was called "Kitten." It was about a boy named Liam, who I was just crazy about.
I've been close friends with Katy since teenagers, before she was Katy Perry. She's always been a great resource for me to pull from and watch - from her choice of how public she wants to be about her personal life on down. I also watched her develop from the coffee-house singer-songwriter I knew to her be to playing arenas and killing it.
I'm a really visual artist, and I love writing treatments for music videos, photo shoots, fashion, and all the visual parts that go along with making an album.
I love really kitschy bad movies. Showgirls is one of my favorites. I saw House of Versace and died. I'm a big fan of made-for-TV movies because those are instant classics, naturally.
I had an epiphany where I realised that there are song titles everywhere - in advertising, in conversations with people at the grocery store - and every time I open my mind to that and find titles, I then weave a story around that.
I think the difference between a good song and a great song is... honestly, I think the lyrics, because if you have a really solid melody and solid track and everything is there but then the lyric is just okay, then you've got a good song.
It's really liberating and fun to be writing stuff for myself, and really have the freedom to say what I want to say and not really have to think about what somebody else is going to say or have to edit myself to speak from someone else's vision.
When I go and write with other artists - a lot of the time it's with them - it's like a therapy session almost. I ask them what they're listening to and what they're going through and what their influences are and I try to get inside of their head and step into their shoes for a second.
There's a feeling that you get when you write songs where... it feels like it's destined to do something. Then sometimes you get that feeling with a song and it never goes anywhere, that happens all the time too, so you never really know.
Sometimes I write a song and I'm down with it but I'm like yeah, whatever, and then everybody loves it and then it blows up. I'm like: "Okay! I didn't see that coming."