It has only been about a year-and-a-half since Christina Perri catapulted her career path from an obscure, struggling café manager in Beverly Hills to a reputable and compelling singer-songwriter and musician of Atlantic Records.
But with such whirlwind success by the age of 25, she has never felt more in her element.
“I feel really comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life,” she says. “The one thing I’ve learned the most is how to be myself. I’ve had to decide who I am so I wouldn’t stray, and doing that actually helped me grow up.”
And the repertoire of the Philadelphia-native keeps bolstering as Perri goes from an emotionally raw performance at the Uptown Theatre during Aloft Hotels presents Live in the Vineyard 8 to a coveted spot on Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part I nationwide cast and concert tour.
“I’m actually most excited about the fans,” says Perri, a self-proclaimed member of “Team Edward,” as she shows off her wrist tattoo that reads “bitten” in the title font of the book series. “I think ‘twihards’ are my people and my tribe.”
Perri is the only superfan, however, to garner an advanced screening of Breaking Dawn’s first installment, and to write the first single off the motion picture’s soundtrack: a warmhearted wedding ballad called “A Thousand Years.”
“I just felt this movie was super romantic and this song that I wrote was the vibe of the movie,” she says. “I wrote it about the purest type of relationship and marriage and all this stuff that I don’t know anything about. I had to jump into their relationship in my head. For it to be chosen is magic — It’s been my favorite thing ever.”
And love is the recurring, profound muse that fuels the majority of her songwriting process.
“My songs are all inspired by love, but even more so the feelings that come with love,” says Perri, who has been a lyricist since age 15. “Like the good and the bad, the fear and sadness, just as much as the excitement and butterflies — I think I have songs that cover all angles of that.”
This juxtaposition of light and dark has given her music a degree of edginess that is also apparent in her look.
Perri sets off her bright, captivating smile with a slew of 34 tattoos sprinkled about her back, arms, chest and even between her fingers. And her head full of voluminous chocolate-brown ringlets is given a rebellious flair with a bleached tendril that has become her trademark.
She also has a trademarked ability to provoke such a deep range of emotions with her songs, which have also served a therapeutic purpose for both artist and listeners alike.
“I sit down when I’m feeling crazy and a song makes me feel better,” says Perri. “If that could happen for other people that would be beautiful. If people can feel better in any way, whether that is feeling less alone or more confident, then I’d feel really great about that because that’s what my songs do for me.”
In the New Year, she hopes to bring her music to the growing fanbases in locales farther from home. For starters, she announced a six-city tour in the United Kingdom come mid-January, 2012.
“I feel so lucky to have little explosions all over the world,” she says. “My music came out really fast, I can’t even keep up with visiting all the countries. Now that I’m out there, I just want to meet everyone and thank them.”