Meet Atlantic Records recording artist Christina Perri. Her debut album premiered in the Top 5 of the Billboard 200 earlier this year, thanks in part to the hit singles “Arms” and “Jar Of Hearts,” which ended up getting covered on the show Glee. After a successful tour with hitmaker James Blunt, the young songwriter has her eyes on the summer festival circuit. “I’m not a huge fan of unnecessary huge words or poetry that doesn’t make sense,” says Perri. “Sometimes it’s just ‘I love you’ for me.”
Your debut album lovestrong debuted at #4 in the Billboard 200. What do you think lead to this?
I truly believe there was so much leading up to this. At 8pm on June 30th 2010 my single “Jar of Hearts” was featured on a show called So You Think You Can Dance, and from that moment until May 10th (the release of lovestrong) me and my band and my team and my label didnt stop. I started traveling the world meeting everyone I possibly could. I visited every radio station that did and didn’t play the song. i played shows and did TV appearances and continued to communicate with everyone on Facebook and Twitter and through E-Mail… I mean, it was bananas … and then all the press on release week happened like Glee and Ellen… and BOOM! it felt so amazing for all the hard work and got me very excited to continue kicking ass.
You’re from Philadelphia. Why did you settle in LA?
I moved to LA on my 21st birthday. my big brother who was living in LA already suggested it, and i had nothing in Philly but a blurry future and too many heartbreaks … so I just moved. Just me, my guitar and my big fat dream. I knew that musicians, writers, actors, crazy people and palm trees lived there … so I thought I would fit in. It was very scary and I cried a lot from home sickness. But the songwriting came and made me feel better. And now, LA is home.
Tell us the inspiration behind “Jar Of Hearts” and “Arms.”
“Jar of Hearts” is about strength. It’s about the moment you’re finally over the person you still shouldn’t be loving. It’s victorious. “Arms” is about being scared to death to fall in love. Seeing and feeling it happening and refusing to let the wall drop … but love wins and you let yourself be loved.
What moves you to write a song?
Whenever I’m so overwhelmed with an emotion I think I’m going to explode I need to run to an instrument … fast. happy, sad, loved, broken, lonely, strong, whatever emotion, I sit at the piano or guitar and I start writing.
What’s a song on your new album you really want people to hear, and why?
I really want everyone to hear “Tragedy”… it’s the oldest song on the album and I’m most proud how its identical to the very first version i wrote when i was 15. All we did was add a beautiful arrangement, but it’s probably the best representation of the inside of my heart.
What’s a lyric you’re particularly proud of on the album?
Oh man. I’ve never thought about it, or separated them. I’d say I’m most proud of my song “Backwards” lyrically.
Are there any words you love, or hate?
I love words that make you feel … as simple as they may be … like heart, hurt, woo, strong, broken, breathing … I’m not a huge fan of unnecessary huge words or poetry that doesn’t make sense … sometimes it’s just “I love you” for me. I want to connect with a song and relate to it. they’re my favorite.
How do you typically write songs? Words first, or melody?
I sit at an instrument and I start singing. Sometimes I have to go back and work on lyrics, but it normally all comes at once.. and i believe if I didn’t get to the pen fast enough the song would fly right through me onto someone else. I try to get it all out in one sitting or I may never go back to it, and I have to record it while I’m writing it, or I’ll never remember it. I believe there are thousands of unfinished songs of mine swimming in the unfinished songs sea.
Do you find yourself revising a lot, or do you like to write automatically?
I write and revise and try not to think all at the same time. if its an idea I’m proud of and love playing, I go back to it and maybe show a friend … but it normally doesn’t even get to that level with out a little revising along the way.
What’s a song you wish you’d written?
“Don’t You Remember” by Adele, “Raining In Baltimore” by the Counting Crows, “Only Trust Your Heart” by Dean Martin, “Fix You” by Coldplay … I could go on!