Roar is a song by American singer Katy Perry for her fourth studio album, Prism (2013). It was released as the lead single from the record in August, 2013. Perry co-wrote the song with Bonnie McKee and its producers Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Cirkut. It is a pop song containing elements of arena rock and lyrics centering on standing up for oneself and self-empowerment. Some critics praised the track’s production while others felt that its lyrics contained “clichés”.
To promote the song, Perry performed under the Brooklyn Bridge at the end of the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, on The X Factor Australia, at the Sydney Opera House in late October 2013, and on the German TV show Schlag den Raab. Grady Hall and Mark Kudsi directed the song’s music video, which features Perry trying to adapt to the jungle where she survived a plane crash, and taming a tiger. It garnered generally mixed reviews from music critics. Roar was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
The song was a commercial success, topping charts in Australia, Austria, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, New Zealand, Scotland, Slovenia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. By the end of 2013, Roar had sold 9.9 million units (combined sales and track-equivalent streams) globally according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Roar has sold over 6 million copies in the US, over 1 million in the UK, and was Australia’s best-selling single of 2013 with 560,000 copies sold within the year. When Roar was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Perry became the first artist to have three Diamond certified singles in the country.
At the beginning of the video, Perry and her boyfriend (played by actor and model Brian Nagel) have crashed their plane in the middle of the jungle. Perry shows signs of worry, while her boyfriend takes pictures of himself and dumps his bags on her to explore. As it turns to night, they wander through the jungle as he throws things back at her. Suddenly, he is attacked by a tiger and Perry dumps her bags and runs off screaming. She approaches a lake and is almost bitten by a crocodile when she tries to take a drink. She sits on a rock and ends up with a tarantula crawling on her. As she looks into the lake while singing the chorus, she sees a reflection of a tiger instead of herself. Behind her in the darkness there are dozens of pairs of blinking eyes, but they are revealed to be fireflies which fly around her before forming an image of a roaring tiger in the sky.
Presumably a few days later, Perry has since made friends with a monkey and uses her stiletto heel to form a spear. She uses it to shoot a banana, which she gives to the monkey. In another scene, she bathes in the lake, with the help of an elephant who sprays her with water from the lake using its trunk. Perry helps a crocodile by brushing its teeth using a toothbrush she has salvaged, and tries to reach her clothes which have been taken by the elephant. At night, she holds a torch and explores a cave. Inside, she watches an animated drawing on the wall in which humans try to kill a tiger with fire; attempting to burn it as it grows stronger and shooting spears which it sends firing back towards them with its roar. The next morning, Perry emerges from the cave, wearing a leopard-print bikini top, a grass skirt, laced up legs and bare feet, displaying a boost of confidence and holding the spear she made earlier. She stands on top of a waterfall, overlooking the jungle, and then swings across the sky on a vine.
With the help of the monkey, Perry builds a cat toy which she uses to distract the tiger who ate her boyfriend earlier in the video. She lures it into an area of the jungle, and traps it inside. She comes face-to-face with the tiger and the two of them roar at each other, until her roar tames the tiger as it sits in front of her submissively. Afterwards, she is shown sitting on a giant grass throne, wearing a flower crown as the rest of the jungle animals sit around her, including the tiger, monkey and elephant. The tiger is shown wearing a collar that says “Kitty Purry”, a reference to her real-life cat of the same name. Perry takes selfies with the monkey on her boyfriend’s phone, applies lipstick made from berry juice, and gives the elephant a pedicure. She then awakens from sleeping in the plane, leading the viewer to think all the previous events have just been a dream, but walks out of the plane still in the jungle, stretching her arms and yawning with the animals sitting around her.