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Christina Perri opens her heart

Photo credit: Lani Lee

Photo credit: Lani Lee

Concert preview

Christina Perri with honeyhoney

8 p.m. July 25. $15. The Loft at Center Stage, 1374 West Peachtree St.,
Atlanta.
404-885-1365, www.centerstage-atlanta.com.

In July 2010, fledgling singer-songwriter Christina Perri’s unknown song “Jar of Hearts” played on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

In the 12 months since, she signed a deal with Atlantic Records, recorded her debut album in 33 days, sold 1 million downloads of “Jar” (which also appeared on a May episode of “Glee”), shook hands with radio programmers nationwide while touring with James Blunt and Jason Mraz, watched her debut album, “lovestrong,” open at No. 4 on the Billboard album chart and now, has embarked on her first solo tour.

Up until then, Perri, who turns 25 in August, was a manager at Melrose Café in Beverly Hills, a tattooed songbird with musical aspirations that went unfulfilled for years.

Though she garnered pre-college experience as a gofer for her brother Nick’s band Silvertide (he’s also played with Shinedown and Perry Farrell), and eventually moved from her native Philly to the West Coast to jumpstart her career, Perri struggled.

Until, of course, that fateful moment of her song being passed to the right person at the right moment.

Now, the singer is promoting “lovestrong,” a collection of emotionally raw, melodic pop songs, with a headlining tour that comes to Atlanta July 25.

She called in recently from her tour bus to chat about her life at the moment.

Q. Are you nervous about your first headlining tour?

A. Not nervous, more excited. I’m completely stoked. I’ve been under wraps the past two months, but I’m really ready to sink my teeth in now.

Q. Tell me a little about the show. I guess you’ll be playing the whole album?

A. Yes, definitely, but we also have some surprises, some crowd participation. We’ve got a couple of covers up our sleeve. The show will be a little different every night.

Q. What did you learn from touring with Jason Mraz and James Blunt?

A. I learned a million things! There’s nothing like doing something for the first time. You make all the mistakes and learn a bunch. Both Jason and James are really calm dudes. There’s something about being around them and their people and their environment that was really helpful, to make sure people are relaxed and having fun. I also learned from Jason that cantaloupe is really good for your voice onstage ad he told me about this cool Chinese syrup that’s good for my voice.

Q. Since you’re such a big fan of Jason’s and you share the same management, have you looked into working with him?

A. If that ever happens, it would be amazing! He and I hung out last summer and jammed together in London. I adore him.

Q. You’ve had a pretty whirlwind year. Were you surprised when the album had such a strong debut?

A. I was excited and surprised in a way because you just never know. But we worked our butts off from June 30 to May 10. We didn’t stop, between the shows and radio appearances and traveling. It felt so awesome to see that when you work so hard, stuff can happen.

Q. Have you gotten any new tattoos to recognize your achievements?

A. I’ve gotten six in the past couple of weeks. I get little ones, mostly. I got a really big one a couple of months ago by Kat Von D [Perri will appear on Von D’s “L.A. Ink” show on TLC July 28]. It’s really big on my forearm – it’s my favorite painting, a girl with an exposed heart. I really believe it’s how I live with my heart outside my chest.

Q. How many tattoos are you up to?

A. I think I’m at 41. I started getting them at 15 and my parents did not know. I hid it from them for awhile and finally told my mom at church so she couldn’t yell at me. I got punished anyway [laughs].

Q. You’re proof that you can break through in a different medium other than radio. Do you look at your success as an example to your peers to never give up?

A. That’s my whole thing. I almost moved back to Philly so many times because I didn’t see it happening [in L.A.]. I wasn’t playing shows every night in bars, I was going about it a different way as a waitress. In L.A., you have to work all day to pay for an apartment. But something would keep me there, even if it was this little inkling. Some days it was just talking myself into giving it another shot. Other days, I’d look outside and a see a palm tree and that was enough. When everything did happen, I thought about all of the times I almost gave up.

Q. You’re really making an effort to connect to your fans through Twitter and your website. What are you hearing from them in relation to your music?

A. It’s so unbelievable what people write to me who I now feel connected to. They write about their heart feeling better or having the courage to love again. Really heavy, beautiful things. In turn, I’m inspired by them. It’s this relationship we’ve started.

Q. Even though the album just came out, do you find yourself writing all the time?

A. Yes, even if it’s just in my head, I’ll pull out the iPhone and just write little notes. I feel like the songs will fly through me to someone else if I don’t run to an instrument and get it down. I already have a couple of songs for album two.

Q. What’s your plan for the rest of the year?

A. I feel like I want to continue going places and meeting people. I’ll spend a chunk of time in Europe since I’m looking to put the album out there. The rest of the year will be more of this. I feel like I have so many more people to sing for.

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