Perry was born in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California, USA. The middle child of two pastors, she grew up listening to gospel music and singing in church. She graduated from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California in 2003 and immediately moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18. After Steve Thomas and Jennifer Knapp signed Perry to their label Red Hill Records, she released her first CD Katy Hudson in 2001, a Christian gospel album.In her teenage years, Perry found a Queen album with her friend, and later said, "From then on, they have been my biggest influence". Also among her musical influences are Alanis Morissette, Heart, and Joni Mitchell, as well as the Incubus album Morning View. She changed her surname to Perry because "Katy Hudson" was too close to Kate Hudson. Perry is her mother's maiden name. Perry's biggest influence are 80's pop rockers Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, and Shirley Manson who Perry says, "Those women still don't care. They come out with vengeance"