Katy Perry spoke to Variety for their Power of Women special about her Firework Foundation, philanthropy, her Vegas residency PLAY, motherhood, what makes her feel powerful, new music, and more.

Do you think that having these experiences helped prepare you for motherhood, seeing that unconditional love between a parent and child in such difficult situations?
I never really truly knew about unconditional love. Obviously my mother has that for me, but I didn’t really experience it in the first-person until I had my child. And that was just a whole ‘nother level. I think I see through the eyes of a child — like my life and my art always feels playful — so it’s amazing to be able to relate to kids even in your deep 30s. And they still want to hang and find you the most fun adult in the room. That is just the biggest gift in the world. So I think, yes, some of my previous work with kids and being an entertainer to kids as well has prepared me for motherhood, but nothing can prepare you for that wave of unconditional love.

Asked to describe the production of her residency, called “Play,” Perry offers three words: “Pop on ’roids.” Those who’ve attended her four previous tours, or watched Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show performance in 2015 (the most-viewed in NFL history), would know to expect colorful outfits and outrageous motifs. But Vegas, she promises, is on another level. To wit: When asked how many costume changes she’ll have, she responds: “Does that include coats and capes?”

“It is literally larger than life,” Perry continues. “Think: Super Bowl, but supersized. … This isn’t the next tour, next record, next era. This is an accumulation of everything. It’s probably the weirdest [show] I’ve ever done. Its humor is dark. It’s a little wrong — but a good wrong.”

And you can always escape to Vegas! You describe the “Play” residency as “the Super Bowl but super-sized.” Tell us more.
We had a lot of discussions about Vegas and the audience — what their vibe is, why they’re in Vegas. You are not on a religious retreat when you’re going to Vegas. Knowing your audience is something I really came to terms with. This isn’t the next tour, next record, next era. This is an accumulation of everything I’ve been able to offer and the hits and what the people like. People are there for their bachelorette. People are there for their birthday. People are there to party. People are there to be entertained and, I think, escape, which in some ways is so necessary for our stress. So, it’s going to be big, colorful and it will have a level of humor to it that is probably the weirdest I’ve ever done. … I feel like we have the most unique show that a musician has ever brought to Vegas.

It’s such a great gig. I’m doing 40 shows a year. I’m able to see my baby. I get to take her to school. I’m also going to be able to do a lot of other things. It’s not the world tour, which I will go on eventually again, but it’s great. I’ve actually never played on a stage that is the same stage, so I think that there’s going to be a lot of technical advantages.

In your career, you’ve sold over 48 million adjusted albums and your songs have accumulated 50 billion streams, yet you’ve never won a Grammy?
No, I’ve been nominated 13 times before. … To be honest, I always go by numbers, and they don’t lie. And I’m good with that. Everyone has an opinion and that’s wonderful, but numbers are numbers. Math is sacred.

What makes you feel powerful?
It’s not necessarily any of my achievements on paper. It’s just my day-to-day mental health and making sure that I’m happy.

Do you have plans for new music?
I’m always writing, so slowly but surely, I’m carving away at my next sculpture. It has so much love behind it. That’s the driving force, which is great because I feel like I’ve written a lot from the perspective of yearning and desire and sometimes not feeling like I’m enough. Or I write these empowering songs to help remind myself that I am. Now it’s like a blanket of love. I’m excited.
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