Winning hearts with love songs

Singer-songwriter Christina Perri's fans go to her for advice on matters of the heart

Singer Christina Perri tattoos song lyrics on her body.
Singer Christina Perri tattoos song lyrics on her body. PHOTO: YU TSAI

American singer-songwriter Christina Perri made her name with soul-baring love ballads such as Jar Of Hearts and A Thousand Years, so it comes as no surprise that her fans turn to her for relationship advice.

"It's so funny, all my fans are so cute," the 27-year-old singer from Philadelphia says in a telephone interview. "All they want to do is hug me and talk about love. So yeah, I talk to them all the time about it and I tell them whatever I think whenever they ask me."

She is currently riding high on her second album, Head Or Heart, which went to No. 4 on Billboard upon its release in April. It includes the hit single Human, which was in the Top 10 charts of local radio station HOT FM 91.3.

Perri had her big break in 2010 when she performed her tune, Jar Of Hearts, written about a former lover, live on popular American television show So You Think You Can Dance.

The song, which has since sold 3.3 million digital copies in the United States alone, led to a record deal with Atlantic Records, which subsequently released an EP, The Ocean Way Sessions (2010) and her debut album, Lovestrong (2011), that peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard charts.

Perri had her most successful song to date with A Thousand Years, written for the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011), part of the wildly successful vampire movie and book franchise.

The singer, who was briefly married to a video producer while she was in her early 20s but is now single, last played to her Singapore fans at Kallang Theatre in 2012. She is in the midst of an American tour to promote Head Or Heart.

She has good news to share with her fans in Singapore.

"I'm coming back, I think in November. You'll know as soon as I know but it's definitely on my calendar."

1 Your song from the Twilight movie soundtrack, A Thousand Years, has been used in many weddings around the world. What would be on your playlist if you get married?

Frank Sinatra is probably going to be on the playlist. The Way You Look Tonight is one of my favourite songs. Also the theme from The Godfather (she starts humming the melody), that's the song I want to sing with my dad, the father-daughter dance. And who knows, man, probably something from Paul McCartney. I haven't found the guy I want to marry yet, so I haven't picked a playlist.

2 Which other book-turned-movie franchise would you have liked to write songs for?

I love 50 Shades Of Grey, I love Hunger Games, there're a lot of cool movies coming out but they are always so one step ahead of everybody. The movie people reach out to the label, so I don't really know what's coming.

But if people ask me, I would be absolutely down to write for any other film, sure. I'm also a big fan of television shows such as Once Upon A Time. I love Parenthood and Game Of Thrones, all that stuff. Now I live on the tour bus, it's hard to read a book when you're bouncing around on the bus.

3 What is the story behind your new album's title, Head Or Heart?

The song Head Or Heart was the very first song I wrote for the album and I realised that I was going to tell the true story of what I've been going through, the journey of my heart.

I realised where I was when I was starting to write the album, I was absolutely confused. I did not know which to trust and I was upset that I didn't trust both at the same time.

So I wrote the album about my journey trying to figure out how to trust myself.

4 You have been travelling and doing shows all over North America to promote the new album. How is the tour going so far for you?

It's so wonderful, I can't even believe it. This is my first tour for the album but the 10th one in my career, and it's by far my favourite one.

For one thing, I feel like I've finally written the songs that I want to play live. The show is so much fun, there's so much audience participation, there's so much dancing, there's so much silliness. Also, my band and my crew are my favourite people in the whole world and all we do is laugh all day long. It's the best, it doesn't feel real like this is a job, no way.

5 You are known for engaging fans in meet-and-greet sessions after your shows. What is the most memorable fan encounter so far?

I always go out of the bus and meet everybody. I'd say the most memorable one is when a fan dressed up as a penguin. I'm obsessed with penguins, so they all bring penguin gifts but this girl from Washington DC came to my show dressed in a penguin costume.

6 Your fans are known to tattoo lyrics from your songs on themselves. How do you feel about that?

Pretty awesome. It's mind blowing, I can't imagine that. But I have lyrics tattooed, I have signatures tattooed on me, so I totally understand wanting to do that. I think it's just really sweet, I'm honoured when they do that.

7 What do you remember of your first gig in Singapore in 2012?

It was a sit-down theatre but I got everybody to come to the stage. I had to ask permission from the owner of the theatre but he was very sweet and he said "yes", and everybody came down to the stage and it was a lot of fun.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

Oh man, that's such a deep question. I don't know, I hope people remember me for my music, that's all.


Head Or Heart is out in stores.

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