The Real Meaning Behind ‘Firework’ By Katy Perry

In 2010, Katy Perry released the hit song “Firework.” Before dropping the single, Perry told MTV News that it was “probably my favorite song off the record,” describing it as “something I’m most proud of.” She divulged, “People are coming back and almost adopting it as their own anthem, and it’s hard, I think, to write an anthem that’s not cheesy.”

Perry admitted, “I hope this could be one of those things where it’s like, ‘Yeah, I want to put my fist up and feel proud and feel strong.'” She told the outlet, “I think ‘Firework’ is a real, I guess, it would be like the opus or my one song — if I had to pick a song to play — ’cause it has a great beat. But it also has a fantastic message.” In another MTV News interview, the singer shared, “I think that’s why I wrote it, is because I really believe in people and I believe that people have a spark to be a firework.”

The songwriter explained, “It’s just up to them, and a lot of times it’s only us that’s standing in the way of reaching our goals, fulfilling our destinies, being the best version of who we possibly can be, so that’s why I wrote it.” Aside from sharing her goal to motivate others through the song, Perry also opened up about what inspired her to write the track’s lyrics in the first place.

Katy Perry's ex Russell Brand helped her find inspiration

Katy Perry described “Firework” as “a song where I think my purpose to some people might change when they hear it” when she spoke to Billboard in 2010. She revealed, “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,” because she “wants to be a firework, both living and dead.”

She shared, “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.” At the time, Perry was dating Russell Brand. She explained that people can “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,” which lines up exactly with the song’s lyrics. 

Perry also discussed Brand’s book recommendation in a video that she shared on her YouTube page, recalling, “I was introduced to this guy by my boyfriend, who is a big fan, and he was just telling me about this book and how in the book, there’s a paragraph” that stood out to her. When she read it, she thought to herself, “that’s who I feel like I am, who I want to be, who I want to surround myself with… those type[s] of firework people.”

Katy Perry wanted to inspire people with 'Firework'

Katy Perry described those “firework people” as those who “make life worth living 110% and I think that writing the song ‘Firework,’ having that inspiration, knowing that everybody can be a firework. It’s just all about you igniting the spark inside of you and making people go ‘aww’ every moment of your life like doing it with purpose every step” (via YouTube). She said that she’s “really proud of the song,” in addition to admitting that it “would probably be my favorite on the record.”

In another YouTube video, she said, “I think that in life people are challenged to get to where they want to be, to reach their goals. And, hopefully, they can hear this song and find out that those challenges aren’t really difficult to get past.”

“With my story, it’s been so many, I guess ‘trials and tribulations,’ to like get to this place. It’s amazing to hear people get through things in life and reach their goals,” Perry remarked. She dedicated the music video to It Gets Better, which is a “nonprofit organization with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth.” She tweeted that she did so “because everyone has the spark to be a FIREWORK.”

While the “Firework” lyrics have a very clear message, there are many layers to the song, which is why it still resonates with so many people a decade after its release.

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