How one unexpected dance catapulted her into a promising career

Few young artists can point to one particular time on one particular evening as the precise moment they broke through to a national audience. But for then-unsigned and unknown singer and songwriter Christina Perri, that moment came when her song “Jar of Hearts” was heard by millions accompanying dancers on the hit reality-competition TV show So You Think You Can Dance. “At 8 p.m. on June 30 of last year, suddenly I instantly existed,” she marvels. “It was so crazy. I couldn’t believe it for weeks. I thank the universe every night. I feel like the luckiest girl on the planet.”

The song’s download sales went through the roof instantly. Perri was quickly snatched up by a major label and went to work on her new debut album, lovestrong. She did her best not to let the pressure of sudden stardom interfere with the creative process. “I assembled the best team and band possible and made music 100 percent authentic to my heart, soul and guts,” she says. The album was completed in a whirlwind 33 days, a schedule that found Perri at times working in two studios on three different songs in the same day. Given the intimately personal nature of her music, the experience was emotionally wrenching. “It almost killed me,” she says. “It was also the most fun I’ve ever had. There were some days I didn’t think I could survive opening up all the stitches on my heart.”

Philadelphia native Perri has been writing songs since age 15, encouraged by the success of her older sibling Nick, former guitarist for Shinedown. “My big brother supports me, as does everyone else in my huge, amazing Italian family,” she reports. “He’s had some of the same experiences as me, so he’s been there for me if I’ve had any questions or fears.”

Perri moved to Los Angeles with what she calls “an arsenal of songs. But the 15 I chose for lovestrong are the songs that stood out to me the most. They’re the ones I fought for, the ones I couldn’t live without. They’re the songs I needed to put into the world.” Now Perri, 24, pronounces herself thrilled to be sharing those songs with her new fans. “My goal is to be happy, healthy, loving, honest and humble,” she says, “and to continue learning, being

myself and making music.”

–Chris Neal

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