On This Day in #KatyPerryHistory… 17th December 2013, Dark Horse single was released
Dark Horse, featuring Juicy J, was originally released in September 2013 as a promotional single for Katy’s fourth studio album, Prism. It was later released as the album’s third official single on 17th December 2013.
Katy, in interviews, said she wanted the song to have a “witchy, spell-y kind of black magic-y idea”, so she wrote it from the perspective of a witch warning a man not to fall in love with her because if he does, she will be his last. The song was part of a competition sponsored by Pepsi in which fans could vote via Twitter on whether they would prefer either Dark Horse or Walking on Air to be released as the first promotional single from Prism.
Dark Horse was a commercial success, charting at number one in Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. It also reached the top ten in almost 20 countries including New Zealand, United Kingdom, Sweden and Venezuela as well as the Digital Songs chart of Billboard magazine. Billboard identified Dark Horse as cementing trap music’s place on the charts. Katy first performed the song live at the 2013 iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas in September 2013. The song’s first major television performance was at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in January, 2014. Dark Horse was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. The song has sold 13.2 million units (combined sales and track-equivalent streams), becoming the second best-selling song worldwide for 2014.
When Dark Horse had attained the top position on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart, Katy announced that she was working on the video. In February, 2014, Perry tweeted the video would be released “soon”. Later, she released a preview of the music video onto her Vevo account on YouTube, revealing the Egyptian setting of the video. Katy played a character named “Katy Pätra”, a takeoff on the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. The video was released in late February, 2014.
The music video was directed by Mathew Cullen, who previously worked with Katy on her music video for the song California Gurls. Katy’s idea for the music video was to combine Ancient Egyptian culture with Memphis, Tennessee hip hop: setting the video in ancient Memphis, Egypt as a nod to Juicy J’s Tennessee hometown. Speaking of Katy’s concept, Cullen said “That’s music to my ears — when an artist has a couple concepts that they want to mash up to create something fresh.”