Christina Perri's success has come in a phenomenally short amount of time. In only three years, the Philadelphian has gone from struggling barista in Beverly Hills aiming for a music career, to an Atlantic Records signee about to release her second studio album 'Head or Heart'.
After her first album,'Lovestrong', led Perri to an unforeseen success selling forty-eight thousand copies in the first week and peaking at #17 on the Hot Spot list, Perri is excited to share her second album with the world, and discuss her upcoming tour.
Contactmusic: Hi Christina, How are you?
Christina Perri: Hey, I'm good thank you, man!
CM: Your new album 'Head or Heart' is to be released in March, what can you tell us about it?
CP: I am extremely proud of this album; it was in the making for a year and I feel that people who might have liked my first album may like this album. The reason being that it is different where it should be and it really is bigger and better where it should be. I took a lot of risks with the album and stepped outside my comfort zone. I captured more dynamics with feelings and emotions that I have never written about before. Just everything about this new album seemed very next level to me and I didn't want to get stuck and I didn't want to change too dramatically so I feel like I landed somewhere in the middle with it, and I'm really excited about it.
CM: You mentioned taking risks with the album, can you elaborate a little?
CP: I come from the school of The Beatles; you enter the recording studio with one guy and you leave three months later with an album, so this was a different experience for me. I came to London to work with a couple of producers and I ended up just picking Jake Gosling, I knew little about him and I walked straight into his studio in Bagshot, Surrey, I did one song with him and I phoned everybody and told them I wasn't leaving. We did nine songs and it set the whole tone for the album. I kind of got what I wanted in both ways, and by that I mean I had a couple of guys who came in at the end. But there was already a tone as a reference for them so I didn't feel like it was going to be chopped up. I wanted the album to be cohesive, and I didn't want it to feel like an album full of singles and it doesn't. That's why I spent so long making it! It slightly terrifying how much I love this album, but I feel good about it when I go to sleep at night.
CM: With the first album, you were very emotionally attached and had to open up some wounds to find the feelings to write about them. Is this album the same or have you taken a different direction topic wise?
CP: No, emotionally this is still 100% me. I have no idea how to close off, I don't know how to lie or pretend. I'm very open and honest as a person I really don't know how to shy away from that. I might have gone deeper with this album but that's just due to some new things I went through, that gave me some new things to write about. But I certainly didn't try harder or try to do anything. I just said to myself, 'OK, I'm going to pretend that nobody is listening otherwise it's going to freak me out'. I just tried to clean the slate and tell the truth, that's what 'Head or Heart's' about. It's like, 'Hey, I haven't figured it out yet, why don't you take this journey with me as I try?'.
CM: You also have the single 'Human' to be released in the same month; March is going to be a very busy month?
CP: For sure, I know. I will be back in England too for release week and all that stuff but I know it's released in the states on the 11th March. I am honestly so excited to put it out there. There's this weird thing that happens in between the time of finishing an album and releasing the album; I feel this sense of vulnerability and I think that's quite common for other artists too. I mean, I am holding the album right now and I can't wait to give it to you. I'm really like, 'Please take this!'
CM: You worked with Elliot Sellers on the music video, you spoke very highly of him, what does he bring to the videos?
CP: Yeah, he's my main man. There's lot of things I like about Elliot. I remember when our budget started to get bigger and the project started to get cooler, I knew Elliot from day one, so why wouldn't I use him for the video, on this climb up this huge ladder? The first video I worked on him with was 'Distance' with Jason Mraz and he did such a good job, it's like doing something creative with one of your best friends! Everything he does is so photographic and gorgeous that I don't have to worry about how I look or the editing. I just love having that creative partnership with a video-director.
CM: The new single has a strong message of self and not being a machine. Is this a message to people about who you are even with the fame?
CP: Yeah, that's right. I mean, it's very new for me to not write songs about relationships and other people. I actually have three songs on the album that have to do with relationships about me. It might come with getting older. I'm starting to realise that it's not always someone else's fault; sometimes it's me. That could well be some wisdom I learned at 27, I don't know, but 'Human' is really about self-forgiveness. It's as simple as that; it's that moment in life when something falls apart and you have to forgive yourself before you try again. It can be anything, it can be your job, it can be a relationship; or it can be your hopes and dreams. Whatever the thing is, it's relatable to others and it's all down to interpretation. You have to find this part of yourself that you are OK with, and be just as you are, flawed or emotional, and it's all OK.
CM: It's fair to say that your journey has been a very fast-paced one onto the mainstream music scene; do you feel that you are finding your feet now or is it still a little crazy?
CP: You know, it's a little bit of both. Some days I'm like, 'I got this' and other days I meet Paul McCartney and I am like, 'WHAT?!' and I am up in the clouds again. There really is no way to know what's coming. Everything keeps surprising me and I have no expectations. I still have lots of wonder and spirit, and I'm trying not to get jaded!
CM: I read that you have forty tattoos - have you any ideas for any more or is it completely a spur of the moment thing?
CP: Yeah, I think that I am actually up to about seventy now, but it's very hard to keep up with. It really is such a spur of the moment thing, so much so that I don't have a waiting list. I will literally think of it, and it's like, 'Ahh, done!' Wherever I am, I'll just go get it.
CM: You have a new tour coming up in April, are you looking forward to being on tour?
CP: Yeah, I am so excited. I did nine tours in a row for album one, I was really tired after that. But I have been in the studio for a whole year now and the anticipation of being on tour with my live band and crew who I love so much as well as all the fun we have all day and night is something to really look forward to.
CM: How do you find the whole aspect of being on tour?
CP: Well, this is something that I really do know something about, having done it before. I know about doing promotions and travelling and in the studio with the mixing and matching has a certain element of stress to it. But, for some reason, touring really is my zone; it's where I feel very much in control. It's not stressful; it's why I do it, everything else feels like setting it up. What I really love is touring on a bus with my band playing shows every night and feeling the audience, feeling the presence of people actually listening to my music. Feeding my soul is what touring feels like for me and I absolutely refuse to have a bad time doing something I really, really love.
CM: I have some quick fire questions for you: tea or coffee?
CM: What's your favourite film?
CP: The Godfather.
CM: What was the last album you bought?
CP: The Kodaline EP.
CM: Do you prefer cats or dogs?
CM: Name one of your phobias?
CP: HA! I could name you like fifty! Up there are definitely spiders though.
CM: Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview Christina.
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