Dressed in a bright red long flowing garment, Christina Perri enchanted the crowd at Tennis Indoor Senayan with more than her bittersweet vocals on Tuesday night.
The 25-year-old brunette, who was in town as part of her global Lovestrong tour, set a happy tone with her first tune, and it wasn’t long before she had the crowd moving.
“I remember the first time I responded to all of the Facebook messages and tweets. Everybody was from Jakarta. And I said to myself, ‘I can’t wait to go to Jakarta!’ ” she shouted into the microphone.
Perri, who catapulted to fame in 2010 after a friend sent a copy of her signature song “Jar of Hearts” to the choreographer of the US show “So You Think You Can Dance,” created goose bumps with her performance. With immaculate vocals and perfect accompaniment from her backing band, Perri’s rock ballad “Jar of Hearts” showed her self-professed hopelessly romantic side.
In a pre-concert press conference, she said the ballad was the most emotional song in her repertoire as it evolved from a painful break-up song to a tune that changed her musical career.
“Now when I play it, there’s this overwhelming sense of gratitude that I have because that’s the song that completely changed my life and made all my dreams come true.
“This song means a million things, so when I play it, I go to this really pure place. I already had it, I went through it. I’m OK and now I give it to you,” she said.
And that’s just what she did.
“You opened your hearts and connected with me. But this is not my song anymore, this is our song,” Perri told the crowd.
Her connection to the audience was obvious throughout the night. Whether Perri handed out red roses, got photos taken with the crowd, or engaged the audience in jumping or singing along, the Philadelphia native kept a close eye on her fans.
Her words resonated with the audience, resulting in “ohs” and “awes” from the majority of the mostly teenage crowd, some of whom came with their parents.
Her sweet and humble comments, like “I get so nervous,” showed a likable side to the songwriter.
“I almost believe it’s like a spirit that runs through me, and some days I catch it and sometimes I don’t. I write songs all the time. I have hundreds,” she told journalists.
But not only were her songwriting skills outstanding. Perri proved to be a talented guitar and piano player.
The song “A Thousand Years,” made popular by “Breaking Dawn,” the last film in the “Twilight” saga, garnered the most screams and even some chanting from fans. If the “Breaking Dawn” scene of Edward and Bella’s nuptials didn’t play out in the minds of fans, it may be because some were too busy shedding a tear to the song.
How does she feel about that?
“It’s funny. It took me a little bit of time to get used to that. I remember being a young girl and crying to the artists. I remember going to an *NSync concert when I was 13 and crying the whole time, so I understand the power of music,” Perri said.
“I personally can’t believe it’s my song that they are crying to, but at the same time … I’m singing about emotions and things I have gone through, so I feel something when I perform them and when I wrote them. So I think it’s a pretty cool reaction to have people feel something too.”
Although Perri’s only cover song “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes interrupted the artistry of her original playlist, it was a performance to remember. Given the immaculate vocals and Perri’s catchy songwriting, concert-goers must have returned home with the haunting melodies of “Jar of Hearts” or “A Thousand Years” in their ears and hearts that night.
Perri Thankful For All of Life’s Highs and Lows
When US pop singer Christina Perri, best known for break-up ballad “Jar of Hearts” and “Twilight” series theme song “A Thousand Years” expressed her excitement about performing in Jakarta, you believed her.
“I’m so excited to walk out on stage tonight, you have no idea,” Perri said at a pre-concert press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Perri kicked off the week-long Asian leg of her world tour on Tuesday at Indoor Tennis Senayan in Jakarta.
“You guys have been the most enthusiastic and energetic fans so far,” she said, adding that she has been receiving messages on Facebook and Twitter inviting her to visit Indonesia for almost two years. “It has been unbelievable. This has been the show I have been most looking forward to all year.”
It is Perri’s authenticity that makes her so believable. While working as a waitress in a Beverly Hills cafe, she became an overnight sensation in 2010 when “Jar of Hearts” was featured on the US dance show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
“What happened right after that was the crazy part,” she said. “They played the song and by midnight my whole life changed. I was on top of the charts in America.”
Although Perri’s success story is the one that every musician dreams of, her path to stardom wasn’t as simple as some might think.
She divorced in her early twenties after being cheated on, and later endured vocal chord surgery. But, she explained, the hardships happened for a reason.
“That’s a thousand percent how I look at it. I even look at all the awful things that happened as the greatest teachers and lessons I’ve ever learned,” she said referring the man who inspired that first break-up hit.
“If he hadn’t cheated on me when I was 17, I wouldn’t have written the song nine years later. It’s all connected. The lows support the highs, and it goes back and forth. So I would not change one millisecond of my life.”
What kept her going during those hard times was a firm belief in both herself and her music.
“Something was inside of me that kept me going. When I was having the worst time ever, when everything was going wrong, I would have this little voice inside my head saying, ‘This isn’t it yet, don’t give up,’ ” Perri said.
“When it would get really hard, I would kind of pray ‘Please let me do the right thing at the right time.’ Also, my family and friends always believed in me and that really helped.”
There’s a sweet humbleness about Perri. Combined with her bubbly nature, she revealed some personal insights during Tuesday’s press conference as well.
When asked about the meaning of a tattoo on her other arm, “To thine own self be true,” Perri explained that she got it as soon as she signed with Atlantic Records in 2010.
“I just remember the label saying ‘We’ll never change you. Never ever, we promise.’ And as soon as I signed, they said ‘We have some ideas.’ I was like woah, wait a minute. So I got that tattoo to remind myself every day to just be myself.
“I keep trying to be authentic. I feel the reason why ‘Jar of Hearts’ or ‘A Thousand Years’ connected with people is because I really meant it. I’m not trying to be anything for anyone else. ”
While she explained that all her dreams “have genuinely come true” in the past two years, there came a moment when she had to create new goals.
“All I want is to continue to do this. It’s connecting with people. I’m so lucky to do this for a living, to be myself and play my music. I just want to keep making people feel better. This is, what I think, is happening.”