True meaning behind ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry is much darker than you might think

The former American Idol judge revealed the truth back in 2010

Katy Perry once revealed the meaning behind her track ‘Firework’ as well as the literature that inspired its lyrics.

Things were wildly different in 2010; Justin Bieber had just released his iconic hit ‘Baby’, 127 Hours had put us off solo-travel and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World had rewired our brains forever.

In the same year, Katy Perry, now 39, had roped Snoop Dogg into appearing in the steamy ‘California Gurls’ music video and released her dance-pop, self-empowerment song ‘Firework’.

Taken from her third album, Teenage Dream, ‘Firework’ eventually reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and later sold over one million copies in the United Kingdom.

Co-written by Perry and a songwriting team comprised of Stargate, Sandy Wilhelm and Ester Dean, ‘Firework’ debuted live on The Late Show with David Letterman and remains a firm favorite with the singer’s fans.

However, many KatyCats – the moniker given to the Perry’s followers – still don’t know there’s a heavy meaning behind the uplifting song.

At the time ‘Firework’ was released, Perry sat down with Billboard and admitted that upon her death she wanted to be cremated and placed inside of a firework.

“Basically I have this very morbid idea when I pass, I want to be put into a firework and shot across the sky over the Santa Barbara Ocean as my last hurrah,” she told the outlet in 2010.

Explaining her idea further, Perry admitted she’d come to the decision after one of her boyfriends showed her a paragraph from Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel, On the Road.

Firework was released in 2010. (Capitol Records/Katy Perry/YouTube)


Firework was released in 2010. (Capitol Records/Katy Perry/YouTube)

She added: “[It’s] about people that are buzzing and fizzing and full of life and never say a commonplace thing.

“They shoot across the sky like a firework and make people go, ‘Ahhh.’ I guess that making people go ‘ahhh’ is kind of like my motto.”

In March 2022, Perry clarified exactly what paragraph from On the Road she was talking about before claiming her fans had been singing the lyrics wrong all these years,

Taking to Instagram, the Californian posted a video from American Idol which saw her correcting Luke Bryan on the words to her song.

“It’s not ‘up, up, up’ and its not ‘uh, uh, uh’,” she told the now 47-year-old singer.

“It’s ‘awe, awe, awe’ – A.W.E. Yeah it’s ‘awe, awe, awe’ everybody get it right.”

Following the clip, she shared a screenshot of the Kerouac quote she was referring to.

It read: “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

In the caption of the post, Perry wrote: “For the official record. It’s awe not up. It’s Firework not Fireworksss.”

Katy Perry exited American Idol earlier this year. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Katy Perry exited American Idol earlier this year. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Perry has served as a judge for seven seasons of American Idol, joining in 2018 alongside Bryan and music legend Lionel Richie, 74.

Last month, the ‘Dark Horse’ hitmaker bid farewell to the talent show after previously telling Jimmy Kimmel: “I feel like I need to feel that pulse to my own beat.”

At the time of writing, it has yet to be announced who will replace Perry on the judging panel.

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