Christina Perri Talks Tattoos, 'Twilight' and Life Since Her Debut Tune Became a TV Hit
By Ashley Iasimone Posted Nov 23rd 2010 10:09AM
When PopEater reminds Christina Perri that it's been little more than four months since her single 'Jar of Hearts' hit the TV show 'So You Think You Can Dance,' she's momentarily at a loss for words. "When you just said that, I was like, 'Not uh,'" Perri says. "It feels like it was so long ago. My whole life has changed, but all for the better and in so many ways, I can't even begin." The girl behind the song is a tattooed, bluesy singer with a love of her craft, a recently released EP, and an upcoming album that may or may include a tune that unveils her fandom of a certain fictional heartthrob vampire. PopEater catches up with Perri about living in a "crazy bubble" since her break into the music industry, letting go of one of her vices and setting some 'Twilight' goals.
On June 30, 'Jar of Hearts' was on 'So You Think You Can Dance.' On July 1, you quit your job as a waitress and went on to get a record deal. Now that it's just over four months later, how has your life changed?
I cannot believe it's only been [a little over] four months. I started counting little dreams that were coming true, and then really genuinely lost count and had to kind of make all brand-new dreams because in that first month, I felt like everything I'd ever dreamed came true. It's definitely surreal, and I'm still in it -- recording my EP and then the EP coming out and doing insanely well, I'm going to be playing Conan O'Brien in like two weeks, I'm doing pre-production for my album. It's just one thing after the next. It's still blowing my mind. I'm super grateful for all of it and definitely still in the crazy bubble.
I also probably haven't slept for four months. I've been all over the country, and it's just been phenomenal. But at the end of the day, I think my most favorite thing is that I get to wake up and play music. I have so many friends that are still waitresses and waiters and with their day jobs and stuff. As cheesy as it might sound, [I love] just not having to wake up and go to work at a job doing something else, covering up my tattoos. I get to wake up every day and be me.
What tattoos do you have?
I have a bunch. It's funny, I counted them because so many people were counting them for me and they were way off. They were like, "She's got 150 tattoos." I don't. I have 34. They're pretty much everywhere. I've got one in every direction you look -- between my fingers, on my arms, on my chest, on my back, all over.
Which tattoo is your most recent?
The last one I got was Banksy. I got it on my whole side, which was such a nightmare because it's all solid black and it's a girl holding the eight black balloons. It signifies my eight wishes -- I made eight lifetime big wishes. The little girl is like me. I was in such pain. It was like six hours, and 25 minutes into it, I was like, "Why did I do this?" But I had to finish. It's really silly when you're in it, and it takes like a whole day, but then you're like, "Oh right, 'cause it looks awesome."
Do you find it a bit bittersweet that so many people can relate to a song that is about something as painful as 'Jar of Hearts'?
Totally. I go to all these places, and I've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people who like the song and to play it for them. They come up to me, and it's not like they come up and they're like, "This song about the sunshine and being on the beach all day. I love that song and I totally relate!" They're literally like, crying, and some of them are like, "I've just gone through a divorce, and this song made me" ... but that's normally the end of that sentence or story. [Then] it's always like, "I have hope now," or "I've gained strength from this." Even though it's really a kind of bizarre, sad, heart-wrenching topic, I feel like the main theme in the song, if you listen, is about getting stronger and not going back to that person that keeps breaking your heart. It's a weird one, but I like the fact that people end up feeling stronger after they hear it.
How is your first album coming along?
I'm definitely taking my time with each song and just making it exactly how I've always dreamed it to be. I'm so excited. Everything that's happened up to this point has been amazing. But as a singer-songwriter, making an album is really at the top of your list. A record deal is amazing, touring is amazing, but it's all ultimately to create this thing which is your soul and your guts and your piece of art, and to put that out into the world. That's what you're existing for, you know. That's really what I'm excited to do.
You recently tweeted that you haven't had a cigarette in nine months. What made you decide to quit smoking, and do you have any advice for others who are trying to quit?
I wanted to quit smoking for a long time. I mean, I feel like it's kind of silly when you're a singer and you smoke because [your voice] is your instrument. It's funny -- it's almost like I had a feeling some stuff was coming because I quit smoking in February, and that's when I met my manager and things started really happening for me. I wonder if it was like the universe being like, "Hey, you should stop now because stuff's about to get crazy."
I tried [to quit] a bunch of times, and I think there's two really important things. One, you have to really want to quit. Otherwise, your brain will just keep taking you back. So I think A) you should really want to, and B) if you're gonna use products like the patch, like I used, you should follow the directions on the box. I tried to quit with the patch like six times before, and I never actually did what the box told me to do which is silly because a doctor gives the directions on there. I don't know why I thought I was a doctor and that I could do it my own way. As soon as I literally followed the directions on the box, I quit.
You've mentioned that you got to meet Cher recently. How did that go?
[Laughs] That was one of the craziest moments in my life. I don't get starstruck. Anyone who really knows me knows I'm really loud and bold and just kind of crazy, and I did not speak. I think I said, "Hi, my name's Christina," and she asked if I was a Suicide Girl. There was no conversing going on because I was completely starstruck. I've never been like that in my whole life. It's Cher! She's so amazing looking, even up close. She's gorgeous. She looks like a picture. She was just like, in my face and she was touching all my tattoos on my arm, and I literally was like just completely out of breath. The photo [of us] is really funny because you can tell that I'm not breathing. I look like a total weirdo.
You're also a big 'Twilight' fan, right?
Yes. I am a full on Twihard. I read all the books in like a month, and I have the book covers framed on my walls. I wait in line at the box office to go see the movies to get a good seat. I pre-order the DVDs. I'm totally in love with Edward Cullen. I even wrote a song about him. I'm such a big dork.
Is that song going to be on your album?
It actually might be. I really am demoing it right now. It's hilarious.
Will you be trying to get on the 'Breaking Dawn' soundtrack?
That has been one of my dreams from day one, especially with signing with Atlantic and them being affiliated [with it]. Everybody on my whole team knows.
So, that's your No. 1 goal right now?
Right now, that is. I mean, that and making a really kick--s album.
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