Katy Perry is one of the biggest pop stars in the world, but 15 years ago, she was an aspiring musician with a guitar, writing songs and performing at Los Angeles' famous Hotel Café. Now, in 2020, Katy has returned to where it all began to perform an intimate concert during the iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series presented by State Farm, in honor of all of the essential workers who are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Perry explained of Hotel Café, "Fifteen years ago, this was kind of like my hideout/living room. This is actually Hotel Café in Hollywood. It's where I went to try out my new songs, and when I wanted to know if anyone actually liked them, besides my cat — may she rest in peace. So, it's kind of like my living room. It's my growing up space."
Joined by a pianist and guitarist (both socially distanced and wearing face masks), Katy performed stripped back versions some of her biggest hits from over the course of her career including "Roar," "Never Really Over," "Thinking of You," her new single "Daisies," and a gorgeous cover of "What A Wonderful World."
Katy explained that she knew she wanted to cover "What A Wonderful World" after watching a contestant cover it on American Idol, because she feels the song has taken on a new meaning during this pandemic. She said, "If you listen to the lyrics, it really explains the beauty of now and what we hope the future will be, and just how present we are to small and simple beauty right now. And how the world is coming together and we are helping each other out, and there is such a feeling of unity in all of this in a way, even if it is hard. So, I think this song is a great reminder of the unity that we share and the compassion that we share for each other."
One of the most special moments of the intimate remote concert was her performance of "Thinking of You" from her 2008 album One of the Boys — it's actually one of the first songs she ever performed at Hotel Café. She recalled of the song, "Speaking of 'going back to basics,' I'm back at the Hotel Café with my Taylor Guitar that I got when I was 16 years old, and that I actually wrote this next song on. 'Thinking of You' is one of the first songs I played here over twelve years ago at Hotel Café, off Cahuenga [Blvd] in Hollywood. And, this November, the Hotel Café would have celebrated their 20 year anniversary. But, the reality is, they likely won't be able to open by then. I know how you can help, and it would mean the world to me, and mean the world to Katy Perry of twelve years ago, as well. You can go to hotelcafe.com and saveourstages.com for more information on how to support the arts from the most grassroots level. Because the music must, and will, go on."
This episode of iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series presented by State Farm also honors all of the incredible essential workers, who are sacrificing so much on a daily basis to help others through this pandemic — basically, the ultimate in being a good neighbor. This week, a donation was made to benefit Meals on Wheels, an organization is working hard to help our nation's most vulnerable throughout the pandemic. As Katy explained during her performance, "Local Meals on Wheels programs are on the frontlines everyday focused on doing all they can to keep older Americans safe and nourished in communities across the country. Our elders deserve respect and to live with dignity."
Ellie Hollander, Meals On Wheels America President &CEO in Arlington, Virginia explained of the organization's mission, "Meals On Wheels serves as a lifeline for millions of our nation's most vulnerable."
Meals on Wheels volunteers are often the only people the elderly see all day. CEO of Meals on Wheels in Mercer County, New Jersey, Sasa Olessi Montaño, explained, "Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization — they deliver our meals daily. COVID-19 has forced us to take drastic measures. When they deliver, they no longer hand meals to people, the process is hanging it on the door, taking six steps away, and then waiting until the person comes to the door."
To find out how you can help Meals on Wheels during this time, head over to their official website.