Since her beautiful break-up song Jar of Hits became a massive hit, Philadelphia-born singer-songwriter Christina Perri has been on a wild ride. We chatted to the world-touring pop rocker when she visited Melbourne last week.
Welcome back to Australia, Christina! I understand that you’re currently on a world tour that stretches to Asia as well? Is it surreal to be taking your music to different regions across the globe?
It’s blowing my mind! Just two years ago, I was a waitress in L.A. dreaming about this, never imagining how this could come about. It’s hard to believe that this is real life.
What can people expect from the lovestrong tour?
Expect to feel something, expect to feel feelings that you were maybe pushing down. You know, these songs are not about getting drunk in a club or laying by the beach in the sun. They’re all my little love stories that I’ve gone through in the last 10 years.
I’m really vulnerable and open on stage, but at the same time, we rock our asses off – which some people don’t expect because they’ve only heard the singles and not the whole album.
Your first single ‘Jar of Hearts’ got its break on the US So You Think You Can Dance – can we expect some form of interpretive dance in your shows?
Oh my god, I wish! I’ve thought of a million different ways to do this, like, getting up with a Madonna mic and me flailing around. But no, it’s just me and the piano, which I think really comes across in the best way for that song. The audience now sing [‘Jar of Hearts’] louder than I do.
I noticed there’s an option to purchase special tickets to your shows where proceeds go to a charity of your choice – why is that important to you?
I’ve been trying to do something like that with this tour this year because I’m in a position where I can. I just wanna do whatever little tiny bit I can now, and it’s also good for the fans because they get these extra goodies and meet and greets.
You’re best loved for your breakthrough single ‘Jar of Hearts’, which made #2 on the ARIA charts. Are you surprised by how well it went?
Totally. The way that it happened was so organic and so [the success] has been surprising since day one! The radio relationship with ‘Jar of Hearts’ has been amazing – so many stations weren’t sure if they wanted to play it but then people started requesting. It’s just such a cool thing to happen in 2012 when things are so formulated.
If I had signed a record deal first, I know that the label wouldn’t have put that song out first or even fourth. [They] would’ve added drums and all this other stuff.
‘Jar of Hearts’ has been on Glee, performed on several high profile talent shows and there are so many people uploading their covers of the song on YouTube! Do you ever trawl the net for covers of your songs?
In the beginning I did because it was like, ‘this is so bananas!’ But then all the sudden it became too many to keep up with. I am so honoured that they chose to do my song on Glee and the guy who sang it on American Idol this year, I thought he did it better than me! I really love it.
Your album lovestrong is full of heart-on-your-sleeve type songs, what was it like to record tracks like ‘Sad Song’ and ‘Tragedy’?
The recording was tricky because I had to open my heart up and go back to 2006 or 2007, and bring back those feelings for the record. I remember drinking so much chocolate milkshake and crying through the whole [process] but if you listen to the record, I think you believe me because I really meant it.
Because you’ve been so open and vulnerable on this album, I feel like you’re the type of artist who people feel like they can share their feelings to…
Oh yeah! I get novels! I’ve even set up an email address (email@example.com) for people to send their stories to because I’ve been getting these really long Facebook comments.
[The mutual openness] has been there since day one and I’ve really embraced it. It’s what keeps me grounded and right-sized because I feel just the same as these people. I just do this for a living and they do that for a living, but we all feel the same emotions. When you connect with someone on that level, it’s a forever friendship. It’s that idea of when you’re honest and open with someone, you never forget it.
I write back to people. Even though I’m behind on that lovechristina email address, half the people will tell you I’ve written back to them.
What’s happening next?
Album two is already written and it’s coming out in Spring [translation: Australian autumn] 2013. I know it seems far away but I’m on tour from now until October but then from November to February, it’s just working on the songs. Hopefully, the album will come out globally at the same time because with lovestrong the release has been so staggered around the world.