Sarah Darling Strips Down Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ To Transform It Into A Sunny Country Jam

California is a state of mind, and country singer-songwriter Sarah Darling perfectly captures this after turning Katy Perry's high-energy bop 'California Gurls' into a perfect addition to your alt-country playlist.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
View gallery

There are many words to describe Katy Perry’s body of work, but “understated” is not usually one of them. It took country music singer-songwriter Sarah Darling to unlock the long-lost Fleetwood Mac deep cut at the heart of one of Katy’s glossiest hits, 2010’s “California Gurls.” And like Stevie Nicks at her witchiest, Sarah weaves a spell of sunsets in Santa Monica, capturing a total vibe that can otherwise only be felt when taking a nap under a palm tree while wearing a paisley shirt. The ethereal rendition is breathtaking, and Sarah deftly blends the low-key indie-pop with country-twang all before adding a dash of that classic Laurel Canyon folk sound.

It may seem like Sarah is jumping on the current zeitgeist – Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” is back on the charts thanks to the viral video from Nathan Apodaca, aka the “Cran-Rasberry drinking skateboarder,” and Two Minutes to Late Night recently covered “You Make Loving Fun” – but her version of “California Gurls” was created as part of Campfire Sessions, a series she began a year ago. “When I released the first Campfire Sessions song back in 2019, my goal was to share my own versions of some classic country songs in a stripped-back style,” she shares with HollywoodLife.

Feel the warmth of California, courtesy of Sarah Darling (Sara Kauss)

“Now well into 2020,” Sarah tells HollywoodLife,  I feel like we all could use a little sunshine!  That led me to bring my own fresh take on ‘California Gurls,’ one of my favorite Cali-inspired tracks by Katy Perry.  It was a really fun challenge to bring country elements to a song in an unexpected way. My hope is this song helps us all reminisce about a different time and place!”

Other acts that Sarah has covered in her Campfire Sessions include The Wreckers (“Leave The Pieces”) The Chicks (“Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Wide Open Spaces”), Lee Ann Woman (“I May Hate Myself In The Morning”), and Jo Dee Messina with Tim McGraw (“Bring On The Rain”). Sarah also plans to conduct several virtual concerts, the first happening on Oct. 24. Fans can also expect her to follow her successful Union Chapel holiday concert with a virtual performance. Fans can get more information about all these upcoming shows at

When your teenage dreams are of Santa Monica (Sara Kauss)

Sarah previously released Wonderland in 2019. The album secured the No. 1 album slot on the UK Official Charts. With only a few months left in 2020, Sarah has her eyes looking towards the future. She plans of gracing 2021 with new music, and, fingers crossed, a return to performing for her fans. Until then, they’ll just have to sit around the (virtual) campfire and listen as she spins tales of California, of sun-kissed skin so hot that it’ll melt your popsicle.

Sarah Darling’s “California Gurls” will arrive on all DSPs on Oct. 2. Click here for more info.