“Harleys in Hawaii” by Katy Perry

Basically Katy Perry’s “Harleys in Hawaii” is centered on a recurring metaphor where the singer is comparing riding a motorcycle, specifically in Hawaii, alongside her sweetheart with the physical intimacy shared between the two of them. So for instance, when she says “swerving lane to lane, don’t hit the brakes”, that can be interpreted as not only alluding to them being on the road but also being intimate with each other. Indeed they are “cruising down a heart-shaped highway”, with the word “heart” clearly being symbolic of love. Also when she makes statements like “take me for a ride”, that may be understood as a double entendre, as in it also pointing to adult matters in addition to motorcycling.

Thus “Harleys in Hawaii” is basically two different storylines interwoven and being aired out concurrently. On one hand, it is actually based on Katy Perry’s joyful memories of riding around Hawaii, with her fiancé Orlando Bloom, on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But more to the point is that she is deeply in love with the person whom she is on this journey with. And once again using colorful metaphors (this time related to Hawaiian culture), she assures him that the affection she displays (specifically in terms of body movement) will make him want to settle down for life. 


So this track is quite clever in its approach. That is Katy Perry took one of her real-life romantic experiences in an exotic location and basically transformed it into a sensuous, albeit discreet, tune.

Lyrics of "Harleys in Hawaii"

Did Katy Perry write “Harleys in Hawaii”?

Yes, she did. She was one of the four songwriters who composed the song. The following are the other three writers of the song:

  • American singer, Charlie Puth
  • Swedish-American songwriter, Johan Carlsson
  • American songwriter and rapper, Jacob Kasher

And FYI, Charlie Puth along with Johan Carlsson produced the track.

What Katy Perry has said about “Harleys in Hawaii”

According to Perry the song was inspired by being in Hawaii and on an actual motorcycle with her significant other, Orlando Bloom. She revealed this during an interview on the famous Zach Sang Show. According to her, as she and Bloom rode on the motorcycle, she whispered to him that she was going to pen a song about the experience and title it “Harleys in Hawaii”. Based on this, we can safely conclude that the motorcycle she and Bloom were riding in Hawaii was a Harley. 

Katy Perry explains inspiration for "Harleys in Hawaii"

Release Date of “Harleys in Hawaii”

October 16th, 2019 was the day this song was formally released by Perry and her team. Its official music video was also released on that same day. And interestingly enough, within just an hour of its release, the clip garnered almost half a million views.

And by the way, “Harleys in Hawaii” came out as Perry’s third single from her fifth album. The first two singles from that album are:

Where was the music video for “Harleys in Hawaii” shot?

If you guessed Hawaii, then you are right. Yes, the video was actually shot in Hawaii! The shooting took place somewhere in July of 2019.

What’s the meaning of the word “DOE” on Katy Perry’s jacket in the video of “Harleys in Hawaii”?

The word/term/acronym “DOE” could mean any of the following:

  • First, it could refer to actor Orlando Bloom (who as of the making of the video is Perry’s fiancé). And why do we say this? It’s public knowledge/rumor among Katy Perry fans that “Doe” is her nickname for “Orlando”. So the “DOE” on the back of her jacket could be a tribute to him.
  • Second, it should be noted that “Doe” is a term in the colloquial setting used to refer to a feminine woman who is intimately attracted to both women and men. And why is this important? Because a few months prior to the song’s release Perry liked Urban Dictionary’s definition of the term “Doe”.

Does Orlando Bloom appear in the music video?


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