Though we may not have access to the album as it marks 20 years of existence to inform us about Katy’s artistry before hitting it big, we can turn to those who knew her when for some insight. With that in mind, E! News spoke exclusively with some of Katy’s earliest collaborators about the girl they knew way back when. And what they had to say just might surprise you.
Raised by Pentecostal pastor parents Mary Christine (née Perry) and Maurice Keith Hudson, Katy spent her childhood immersed in the world of gospel music, as secular sounds weren’t entirely welcome in the house. By 9, she was singing in her parents’ ministry. At 13, she received her first guitar. Two years later, during her first year of high school, she received her GED and began pursuing a music career of her own.
After making her way to Nashville, where she began recording demos and learning to write songs, she caught the attention of Red Hill Records, an youth market-focused imprint of Pamplin Music. They signed her to a deal and she got to work on what would become her first album.
One of the writers Katy was paired with was Tommy Collier, who co-wrote and produced two of the album’s 10 tracks. “I met her and her mom in a meeting and listened to a little bit of stuff that she had been working on,” he recalled. “And eventually I ended up getting with her and writing some. Katy knew about three or four guitar chords. She had a great voice. It was just kind of like a jazzy vocal, you know, with good sound and everything like that.”