It pays to have friends in high places. That’s where out singer Ferras finds himself these days. The singer, who made an initial splash back in 2008 when his song “Hollywood’s Not America” was used as the departure song on American Idol, has made his way back into the public eye thanks to longtime friend Katy Perry. Just last week, Katy announced the formation of her own label, Metamorphosis Music, and has Ferras signed as the first artist on the label. On top of that, she announced that Ferras will serve as an opening act on the North American leg of her Prismatic World Tour.
We caught up with Ferras during his hectic week to talk about his brand new self-titled EP, working with Katy, and what the years since his debut album have taught him.
David Atlanta: Congratulations on being signed to Katy Perry’s new label, and for getting your new EP out! You’ve been friends with Katy for a few years now. How did you two get together in this particular professional context?
Ferras: Well, like you said, Katy and I have been friends for a number of years, and I’ve just been working on my music ever since I parted ways with Capitol the first time in 2008. I started writing for other artists, and just doing my own thing. One day in Paris, Katy was like, “I want to sign you to this new label that I’m doing.” I was like, “Wait, what? What are you talking about?” (Laughs) And she was really adamant about making this happen. “I believe in you, and I think we can do this.” I was ecstatic.
So that just started the process, and it was about a year or more where we were just going through how we were going to do it, playing music back and forth and taking it slowly. But yeah, that’s how it happened. She just kind of threw it on me one day.
DA: So what is Katy like in this context, as opposed to just as friends or collaborators?
F: She’s really awesome. One thing about Katy that’s really great is that she’s super to-the-point and she’s not the kind of person to say, “Oh, I love it!” if she doesn’t, so I know whenever I go to her, I’m going to get a straight, honest opinion, even if it’s what I don’t want to hear. And we definitely have our squabbles here and there. If I’m super-passionate about something, and she’s like, “Really? How about you look at it this way?” It’s good to have that alternate opinion, because she does have a really great instinct. It’s one of the things I appreciate about her professionally and as a friend.
DA: As you mentioned, you were signed to Capitol before. What have you learned professionally since Aliens & Rainbows came out?
F: Everything. (Laughs) When I had my first record, I was really young and I wasn’t really ready for what it meant to go out and have a record. There were definitely things I wanted to say, and that’s who I was then. The amount of industry knowledge you get just having gone through that experience, and then being on the other side, venturing into songwriting for other artists – you live a lot of life in a few years, in terms of being a songwriter in that kind of world.
I think what I’ve learned is that you have to be really authentic to what it is that you do and who you are, and when you’re trying to be something that you’re not, it never really comes across in a way that people will resonate with. Not that I wasn’t before, but I’m just more open about who I am now. I’m in a really good place in my life, and there’s nothing that I’m hiding or trying to skirt around. In 2008, there was the gay issue. “Is he gay? Is he not gay?” Whatever. And I think we’re in a really exciting time right now, and I think you can be whoever you are and do whatever you do. That’s what I’ve learned, to not think about it too much and just go, and just do.
DA: Of course, you’re joining Katy on tour. What can audiences expect? Are you going to stick with new material, or can people expect some of your older material as well?
F: All-new material. I’m focusing on all-new material. I’m a totally different person now than I was six years ago, and that’s where I want to be in, that space. Celebrating what’s happening for me now, in the space that I’m in. I’m going to have a 30-minute space as an opener, and it’s going to be very cool. I’m probably doing seven songs, and rehearsing a bunch. It’s exciting for me. I’m also experimenting with getting out, up and away from the piano, and kind of jumping around the stage and feeling that energy. So that’s going to be a new thing for me, a little bit. I’m really excited.
Ferras opens for Katy Perry at the Prismatic World Tour. His EP, Ferras, is now available digitally. For more information on Ferras, visit him online at facebook.com/ferras or on Twitter (@ohferras).