How many people can point to a moment in their lives and say “That was it — that was the exact moment when everything changed”?
Twenty-five-year-old singer and songwriter Christina Perri — not to be confused with pop diva Katy Perry, despite their similar names and music genres — is one of the few who can. With certainty, Perri can single out the instant when she changed from struggling musician to rising music star.
In June 2010, while Perri was waiting tables in Beverly Hills and trying to get a foothold in the music industry, her emotional break-up song “Jar of Hearts” was featured on Fox’s popular TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
A month later, 100,000 copies of the song were sold, and Perri was signed by Atlantic Records.
In May 2011, she released her debut album, “lovestrong.,” which mostly features ballads that tell of love, heartbreak and pain, just like “Jar of Hearts.”
Critics recognized Perri’s potential and drew comparisons to singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Entertainment Weekly magazine complimented Perri on her “sweet and full as custard” vocals, while The Philadelphia Inquirer praised the young musician’s ability to “[draw] the audience into her tales of romantic woe and wonder.”
“Jar of Hearts” has been featured on TV shows such as “Glee” and “Switched at Birth,” while another one of her tunes, “A Thousand Years,” was picked up for the movie “Breaking Dawn,” the last installment of the popular “Twilight” vampire series.
Although she achieved popularity quickly, Perri’s musical journey began when she was still a child. The first time she performed in front of a crowd was at a Holy Communion when she was only 6 years old. Two years later, she began taking piano lessons.
That, however, didn’t last long, as her piano teacher allegedly gave up on her when the young, headstrong girl simply changed the ending of the songs to her own liking.
Perri then settled on playing the guitar, and started writing her own songs at the age of 15. But it took her another eight years for that fateful night of “So You Think You Can Dance” to give her an opportunity to break through.
“While all of this was happening, I barely slept because I was afraid it was just a dream; that I’d wake up and none of it would be real,” Perri is quoted as saying on her official website. “One minute I didn’t exist in the music world and the next minute I did.”
Although Perri only spent a little over a month in the recording studio to create her debut album, she said it was an emotional experience for her, given the nature of her songs for which she had to revisit past not-so-happy moments of her life.
“In the vocal booth, I had to go back to the place and time that made me feel so vulnerable and rip open old wounds to sing each song, sometimes two songs in a day,” she said.
“Emotionally, it was the hardest 33 days of my life, but it was worth it because the result is that this album is 100 percent me.”
She said she wanted to be as honest as possible on her album, and share a little bit of her soul with her listeners.
“They’re all songs I felt I needed to give away,” she said. “My intention for my music is pretty simple: I want to make people feel less broken and alone.
“I looked at the album as a whole piece and the two themes that stood out were love and strength.
“It really titled itself. Writing about love is just who I am. I’ve tried to write about other things, but ultimately this is what comes out of me.”
Perri will perform at Tennis Indoor Senayan in South Jakarta on June 5 as part of her lovestrong. tour that will encompass Australia and Asia.
Tennis Indoor Senayan, South Jakarta
Tel. 021 7007 7979
Tickets from Rp 250,000