By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
This past spring, just before her debut album, Lovestrong, was released, freshly minted pop star Christina Perri revealed on her Facebook account how she would choose to deal with the people who don't quite get what it is that she does. After Rolling Stone declared that Perri wrote "crapsongs" (a play on the album's conjoined-phrase title), Perri took to the social network to playfully offer that the inventive critic "very obviously hates love."
Thing is, in a somewhat surprising twist, Perri actually appreciates the critic's honesty.
"I've based my whole career on my own honesty and feelings," says Perri, while preparing for her first headlining tour. "So I believe in honesty one hundred percent."
At first, such replies seem to be a brave-faced defense mechanism. Not so: Perri is fully aware of her unlikely journey to success.
After a failed marriage, the 24-year-old Pennsylvania native was waiting tables in Los Angeles when her big break came. "Jar of Hearts," her addictive, haunting, openly spiteful calling card, rode the wave of being featured on an episode of So You Think You Can Dance on its way to becoming one of the biggest singles of the past 12 months. The placement earned the song a score of downloads, and then, literally within days, a deal with Atlantic Records. A few short weeks later and she'd performed the song for national television audiences with appearances on The Early Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan and, of course, an encore of sorts on So You Think You Can Dance.
"When this all happened, I was just wondering how I could spend more time on music and less time working in a restaurant," she says. "I didn't think about being a superstar. I just thought about making music. And, now that I've accomplished that, it's amazing. It's better than the dreams I had. Harder than I ever thought, too."
It doesn't take many listens to Lovestrong to notice a couple of themes that Perri herself acknowledges as the driving forces behind the record — the ups and downs of love and true personal experience.
"I write about what inspires me," she says. "Love. It's what I know and what I've gone through. They are my truths. Nothing skipped over, nothing covered up. It's just the way I express my art."
And she employs her pain and subsequent recovery to reach people who have experienced similar sorrow.
"I feel like I stitch up my heart a little more each time I perform," she says. "I feel whole again as a lover and as a girl for putting [my problems] out into the world."
Indeed, she's choosing to focus on the positives in her world these days.
"There's a lot of traveling and missing your family," she says. "But, it's amazing [reading] letters and comments about changing people's hearts. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm very grateful."
So much for being the angsty girl with all the problems, then.