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Christina Perri's Turn of Fate

Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2011 11:07

Christina Perri

Lani Lee

Christina Perri released her debut album 'lovestrong.' in May.

It's only been a little over a year since Christina Perri's life and career took a 180 literally overnight.

According to information compiled by Rolling Stone, the then-23-year-old's best friend Keltie Colleen (the Rockette from Season 15 of The Bachelor) suggested using "Jar of Hearts" to choreographer Stacey Tookey for a routine on So You Think You Can Dance. And, before the show was even over, Perri, an unsigned artist at the time, had caught America's attention. The single climbed the iTunes chart and sold over 200,000 downloads in three weeks. She has since signed a deal with Atlantic records and her debut album lovestrong. was released May 10.

Perri employs a voice that sometimes has a tinge of angry girls Avril Lavinge or Alanis Morrisette and slight expressions of Regina Spektor, but a quirky bar piano sound and vocals that wax over it with honey and varnish. For the record, the singer-songwriter from Philly known for her piano bar bluesy voice smoked for 8 years and quit – as of July 12 2011 – one year, five months and four days ago.

"It started to affect my singing, voice, health, and just wasn't cool anymore," she said. "Quitting was the raddest thing I ever did." 

A semi-self-taught pianist and self-taught guitarist, Perri's list of influences is endless, from her contemporaries like Adele, Blind Melon and Sara Bereilles to Nina Simone, the Beatles and James Taylor. She has Johnny Cash's signature tattooed on her arm and the Fab Four's names around her wrist. 

A few weeks after a string of spring tour dates in support of James Blunt and while touring in Europe, Perri developed a nodule on her vocal chord. After about a month of the silent treatment, vocal rest and therapy, she has recovered in time for her North American tour, which is sold out  in venues all over America, including Scottsdale and Tucson. And her show in Boston was upgraded to a larger venue due to ticket demands. 

Since then, she's kept her voice going through her various social networking outlets, posting everything from photos of herself at the hair salon to answering Twitter questions via a dry erase board and a webcam. Perri also released a karaoke album so fans can sing her songs. Although it was the label's idea to release it, Perri said she loves karaoke. 

"I am that dork that will plan her birthday party at a Japanese karaoke hall in L.A.," she said. 

While on the subject of Perri's dorkiness, the Twihard singer is a Team Edward kind of gal who actually wrote a song about him released on her debut album lovestrong. called "My Eyes." No response from Stephanie Meyers just yet, but Perri said she's working on some Twilight-related things and hopes a meeting is in store.

She's had a relatively fast journey to the release of her debut album. Her first single, "Jar of Hearts," climbed the iTunes charts while she was still an unsigned artist and has since gone platinum and was even covered on an episode of "Glee." The song was kind of an all-access pass for her, earning her the chance to work with producers who've handled The White Stripes and Regina Spektor (Joe Chiccareli, Michael Brauer). The velocity of the attention came as a shock for Perri but she takes "growing up so fast" in stride.

"I wouldn't change a thing," she said. "Not in my life, career, love life, or tears, words or experiences. I believe in fate and the universe and all that hippie stuff, so I believe everything happens for a reason. Everything has helped me grow, and I feel like a lucky artist in the music industry and for that I wouldn't mess with it."

While Perri recognizes the role "Jar of Hearts" played in her career, she definitely doesn't think it has run its course and it's her favorite song to perform live. 

"I don't look at 'Jar of Hearts' as my 'hit song,'" Perri said. "I notice that a lot of people sing along when I play it, and I hear it on the radio but, to me, it's one of my children like the others. […] I think artists tire of their hit songs because they think too much about it. 'JOH' still makes me feel better, not tired."

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