It’s hard to imagine a world without Katy Perry’s catchy songs and bold fashion choices. But a former Disney Channel star says that Perry’s first record deal was almost hers instead.
Christy Carlson Romano is best known for her portrayal of Ren, the type-A older sister of Shia Labeouf’s character on “Even Stevens.” She’s also the voice of Kim Possible. Nowadays, Romano has a substantial YouTube following. On her channel, she shares career stories and even hosts a show called “Celebrity Kitchen.”
In a video titled, “How Katy Perry Got My Record Deal,” Romano reveals how she and Perry were “direct competition” for the same recording contract and how Perry got the deal that was originally meant for Romano.
Perry and Romano Recorded Versions of the Same Song
Romano, now 37, says in the video description that she had “multiple record deals fall apart” when she was in her early 20s. One of those failed deals involves record executive Jason Flom, a group called The Matrix, and Perry.
Flom was interested in getting Romano a development deal at Virgin Records and encouraged her to work with a group called The Matrix. “They were the kind of pop producers that were just icons,” Romano says of the group.
The Matrix had an already finished track called “Just A Song” that they thought would be a good fit for Romano. The demo singer on the track was a then-unknown singer named Katy Perry. Romano recorded her own version as well.
Romano was impressed by Perry’s vocals on the track. “I love her voice, she’s got range for days, she’s got texture. I think she’s amazing,” the Disney Channel alum says in the video.
How Perry Got the Deal
Shortly after Romano heard Perry’s voice on the “Just A Song” demo, the two singers met at a dinner. Romano was excited to introduce herself and express that she loved Perry’s voice.
The “Even Stevens” star couldn’t help but tell Perry that she was working with Jason Flom and was going to use “Just A Song” to secure a contract with Virgin Records. About a month after the dinner, Romano learned that she didn’t have a record deal and that Perry did.
“So, there you go guys. That’s the tea,” says Romano. “I don’t know if she (Perry) was just using her sense to say to herself, ‘Wow Jason is in the market for this kind of voice.’ Or maybe she had a conversation that had already started with him.”
Romano says that once the label had decided to go with Perry, she was essentially out of luck.
“Record companies aren’t going to take on more than a few of the same kind of singer,” Romano explains. “So that means that she was my ‘direct competition,’ if you will, in the running spot for Jason (Flom) to hire or take on someone for that record contract.”
How Romano Feels About the Situation Now
At the end of the video, Romano emphasizes that she has “absolutely no ill feelings” towards the “Teenage Dream” singer.
“Ultimately I am really really happy that I am not a recording artist,” Romano says. “This is a person, Katy Perry, who has dedicated her life to her craft. She absolutely deserved that record contract more than I did.”