You may have not known there was some interesting backstory to how Katy’s song “Firework” came to be. In her 2010 Billboard cover story, Katy admitted that the inspiration for the song’s themes and lyrics (as well as her plans for after she dies) came from an unlikely source: Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel On the Road.
“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 said at the time. “I want to be a firework, both living and dead. My boyfriend showed me a paragraph out of Jack Kerouac’s book On the Road, 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.”
The song’s producers also wanted to highlight how powerful Katy’s voice was. “We also knew that she was a better singer than a lot of people thought at the time, and we wanted to highlight that,” producer Tor Erik Hermansen said. And most of the vocals came from a late night demo recording session done in about 10 minutes. That made up about 95% of what you heard in the song.
As far as the fans in the video, they flew to Budapest, Hungary and received 38,000 applications to their open casting call, with nearly 300 locals being chosen to appear in the inspiring visual. The “sick girl” was perfectly healthy and shaved her head for the role, and the dancing crowds in the video’s grand finale consisted entirely of Katy Perry superfans who were genuinely having fun.