Tuesday was a big day for breakout singer/songwriter [artist id="3712474"]Christina Perri[/artist]. Not only was her long-awaited debut album Lovestrong finally released, but the song that made her an instant success, “Jar of Hearts,” was featured on the latest episode of “Glee.”
Of course, it’s not the first time Perri’s tune about letting go of a toxic relationship has been featured prominently on a television show. In fact, almost a year before Lea Michele gave “Jar of Hearts” a go during the prom-themed episode of “Glee” (named, appropriately enough, “Prom Queen”), Perri made a name for herself thanks to the reality competition series “So You Think You Can Dance.”
But before “Glee” and “SYTYCD” even came into the picture, Perri had a history that helped craft one of the most freeing songs about heartbreak in quite some time.
Born on August 19, 1986, the Philadelphia native learned music at an early age (she taught herself how to play by watching old Blind Melon videos) and had a fellow artist in her family. Her older brother Nick Perri was a guitarist in the band Shinedown.
At age 21, Perri did what so many eager young musicians do: packed her bags for Los Angeles. It was there she began producing music videos and got married. When both of those aspects of her life fell apart (she split from her husband after 18 months of marriage), she headed back to Philadelphia in late 2009. It was there that Perri, who has the names of all the members of the Beatles tattooed on her left wrist, would pen the song that ultimately changed her life forever.
The autobiographical tune about a bad boyfriend who returned to her life, much to her dismay, propelled her to move back to L.A. (Perri told Rolling Stone last year, “All of my songs are about me, and they’re usually about love.”)
While she worked hard as a waitress and recorded her music, the singer’s friend, dancer Keltie Colleen, passed “Jar of Hearts” along to “SYTYCD” choreographer Stacey Tookey. Tookey, along with contestants Billy Bell and Kathryn McCormick, crafted a dance routine to the song, which immediately became a favorite among viewers.
The “SYTYCD” featuring “Jar of Hearts” (whose shattering lyrics like, “Who do you think you are/ Runnin’ ’round leavin’ scars/ Collecting your jar of hearts/ Tearing love apart” came to life in a whole new way) aired June 30, 2010. Less than a month later, Perri (who was in the audience for the “SYTYCD” show) signed a record deal with Atlantic Records.
Perri recalled to MTV News during a recent interview, “I flew to New York City, I signed a record deal like, boom, boom, boom, boom. And it hasn’t stopped, which is a good thing, and I’m trying to stay grounded and focus and keep doing what I’m doing every day.”
Julie Greenwald, the chairwoman and COO of Atlantic Records, recalled to RS (which dubbed Perri “Band of the Week” on October 26, 2010) when it came to her record deal, “I’ve never seen something move so fast.”
Since then, Perri’s career and her song have taken off in big ways. When “Jar of Hearts” was released as a digital single on July 27, 2010, it moved more than 100,000 downloads within the first two weeks, placing it on the iTunes charts, Billboard‘s Hot Digital Songs chart, as well as Billboard‘s Top 40. The song, which has spent a whopping 31 weeks on the charts, ultimately peaked at #17 on the Hot 100.
Perri not only performed her bona fide hit in the place where it all started, “So You Think You Can Dance,” but also other outlets such as “Conan,” “The Early Show”, “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Live at VH1.”
In September 2010, Perri, along with director Jay Martin, paid homage to the “SYTYCD” routine that put her on the map in the music video for “Jar of Hearts.” In it, Perri (in a white dress and combat boots), along with backup dancers (some of whom appeared on the reality competition), fight their feelings against the man who has been collecting his “jar of hearts.”
The video, which embodies the sad yet empowering nature of the song (the video has a blue tint to it), entered VH1′s Top 20 countdown thanks to its striking visuals, haunting melodies and aching lyrics. In fact, it did so well on the station, they placed it at #17 on the Top 40 Videos of 2010.
To date, “Jar of Hearts” has had nearly 18 million hits on YouTube.
But Perri hasn’t stopped there. The artist, who explained her rise to fame to USA Today as “a legitimate whirlwind,” brought her sound on the road when she toured with fellow heart-weary singer/songwriter James Blunt in 2011.
Now that “Jar of Hearts” has received the “Glee” treatment, it’s safe to say this star will only continue to rise.
What did you think of Lea Michele’s version of “Jar of Hearts”? Share your reviews in the comments!