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Christina Perri

Kickstand Productions Proudly Presents

Christina Perri

Sleeping At Last

Sat, May 19, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Castle Theatre

Bloomington, IL

20.00-23.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Christina Perri
Christina Perri
In July 2010, a struggling singer-songwriter and musician named Christina Perri had a life-changing moment when she was asked to perform a song she had written, a defiant break-up anthem called "Jar of Hearts," on the Fox show So You Think You Can Dance. The raw, emotional quality of her performance connected with viewers and catapulted the 24-year-old Philadelphia native into the public eye. "Jar of Hearts" went on to sell a million downloads and land Perri, who was then supporting herself as a café manager in Beverly Hills, a deal with Atlantic Records.

"Jar of Hearts" is just one of 12 brutally honest gems that Perri unveils on her debut album lovestrong., a title she says reflects how her heart feels today. "I looked at the album as a whole piece and the two themes that stood out were love and strength," she says. "It really titled itself. Writing about love is just who I am. I've tried to write about other things, but ultimately this is what comes out of me."

Perri lays herself bare on lovestrong., using her soaring, bittersweet voice and expressive piano playing to sketch out her stories. Some, like "Penguin" and "Arms," are happy and hopeful, some, like "Bang Bang Bang" and "Mine," are fun and playful, and others, like "The Lonely" and "Jar of Hearts," are downright wrenching. The common thread? "They're all songs I felt I needed to give away," she says. "I have been writing songs since I was 15, so I reached into my arsenal and picked the ones I felt others should hear. My intention for my music is pretty simple: I want to make people feel less broken and alone."

Perri sets lovestrong.'s hopeful tone with the second single "Arms," a towering acoustic-guitar driven tune that builds to an urgent crescendo as its tale of the fight between the heart and the mind unfolds. "Your heart wants to be loved, but your head is telling you that you shouldn't be with that person," Perri says. "The song is about that struggle and finally giving in and letting love win."

It didn't really register how emotionally raw the album was going to be until Perri's 20th day in the recording studio. "In the vocal booth, I had to go back to the place and time that made me feel so vulnerable and rip open old wounds to sing each song, sometimes two songs in a day," she says. "Emotionally, it was the hardest 33 days of my life, but it was worth it because the result is that this album is 100 percent me. It's heartfelt, real, bold, honest, vulnerable, hopeful, strong, poetic, bluesy, gritty, pretty, and simple."

Produced by Joe Chiccareli (White Stripes, Tori Amos) and mixed by Michael Brauer (Coldplay, Regina Spektor), lovestrong. boasts a bold creative vision that is very much in keeping with Perri's spirited personality. A petite, tattooed ball of energy with an engaging smile, she has always embraced life to the fullest. Her adventures have included touring the world as an assistant to a rock band, spending a year at a prestigious university, producing popular music videos, making olive oil in Italy, and even serving as a fashionista barrista in Beverly Hills.

On June 30th, 2010, Perri got word that "Jar of Hearts" was going to air on So You Think You Can Dance as a backdrop to a memorable piece choreographed by Stacey Tookey. Viewers began downloading the song from iTunes in droves, sending "Jar of Hearts" into the Top 10 on the iTunes Pop chart and into the Top 15 on the Overall chart overnight. Impressed, SYTYCD's producers invited Perri to play the song live on the show two weeks later. After Perri performed the song on July 15th, "Jar of Hearts" landed at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, at No. 1 on Amazon's digital singles chart, and sold 200,000 downloads in three weeks. "While all of this was happening, I barely slept," Perri says, "because I was afraid it was just a dream; that I'd wake up and none of it would be real. One minute I didn't exist in the music world and the next minute I did."

Perri had actually been preparing for her big moment since she was a child. The daughter of hairdressers (whom she describes as "not musical, though my mom can whistle in many octaves"), Perri first sang in public at her Holy Communion at age six. Piano lessons began at age 8, but her piano teacher "fired" her (as she puts it), because "I would change the endings to the songs when I didn't like the way they were written." Eventually, Perri picked up a guitar and taught herself to play. She was in London working as a gofer for her brother's band Silvertide when she got word that she had been accepted to Philadelphia's prestigious University of the Arts with a sizeable scholarship. She attended for a year, but took a leave of absence to visit her father's extensive family in Italy. "I was 19 and I needed to soul search," she says. "I was still writing music, but I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life."

Still searching, Perri moved to Los Angeles with a suitcase and a guitar and recommitted herself to being a singer and a songwriter. She posted YouTube videos of herself performing her own songs, as well as covers, and shared her struggles in her uniquely humorous way. A video of one of her original compositions, "Tragedy" (which is included on lovestrong.), caught the attention of Bill Silva Management, who signed on to represent her. And so began Perri's charmed odyssey. She will hit the road for spring tour with James Blunt as she awaits the May 10th release of lovestrong.

"Every day something happens that blows my mind," she says. "Being able to wake up and play music is more than I've ever dreamed my life could be. I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences, my hope, my strength, my guts, and my heart with the world."
Sleeping At Last
Sleeping At Last
Very rarely does a band strike the ideal equilibrium between indie credibility and commercial viability, but it's a sophisticated scale balance that Sleeping At Last has mastered across the entire decade thus far. With its third national release Storyboards, the critical charmers from Chicago are just as comfortable calling upon legendary arranger Van Dyke Parks as they are appearing on "Grey's Anatomy" with the goal of relating to its astute audience topping any accolade amassed on either side of the dial.

"We're attracted to melodies that are pretty relatable and listen to music that is slightly obscure or under the radar, but find both sides coming together in an organic way," observes front man Ryan O'Neal before bassist/keyboardist Dan Perdue interjects. "All of our favorite bands are always forward thinking and ground breaking, but also accessible, which is the hardest balance to find. But being forward thinking doesn't mean anything if no one wants to listen to you and it's obviously not all that exciting to sound like everything else out there."

As indicated by a recent trip to Chicago's Electrical Audio Studio (owned by Nirvana/The Pixies mastermind Steve Albini), Sleeping At Last have once again upped the artistic ante in this ambitious, self-produced affair, while concurrently maintaining relatability on all planes. It's an intricate web that builds off the surging soundscapes of 2003's Ghosts and the lush atmospherics of 2006's Keep No Score, coupled with previously uncharted instrumental expeditions and glorious orchestration.

"Every time we go into the studio, we want to stretch ourselves musically as much as possible and we've noticed that each record seems to have a couple tracks that hint at the direction we'll explore on the next," suggests O'Neal, citing the addition of varied string arrangement styles, the folksy ukulele and a plethora of earthy but exotic adjunct instruments throughout Storyboards. "This time out, the results are really intimate where we're utilizing a lot of really specific sounds and also working with people we've never had a chance to work with before that we really admire."

And those visions have certainly caught the ear of several world class heavy-hitters, including the aforementioned arranger Parks (Brian Wilson's SMiLE, U2, Tim Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, Ringo Starr), multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Ryan Francesconi (Joanna Newsom), plus longtime string collaborators Susan Voelz (Poi Dog Pondering) alongside woodwinds master Paul Von Mertens (Wilson, Wilco, Paul McCartney), and Jeremy Larson (also a lauded solo artist in his own right). Add in engineers Greg Norman (Pelican, Russian Circles, Guided By Voices) along with mixer John Goodmanson (Death Cab for Cutie, Sleater Kinney, Nada Surf), and the group's third venture is truly a charm.

Ample evidence comes in the form of "Clockwork," the group's most elaborate track to date under the arrangement direction of Parks. Though it possesses his brilliantly unconventional qualities, it's also textbook Sleeping At Last thanks to a series of sweeping rhythms and ethereal explorations.

"At first we just gave him a really simple demo of just the vocals and pianos and he just ran with it from there," Perdue muses in a highly complimentary regard for Parks' wizard-like prominence. "There are three violins, two violas, cellos, flutes, bass clarinets and just this overall rush of sound that is really one of a kind."

Fans of modern day indie icon Joanna Newsom will also notice Francesconi throughout several songs on Storyboards, including "Slow & Steady" and "Side by Side," which benefit from the shimmering juxtaposition of banjos, mandolins and even the exotic Bulgarian tambura. Longtime friend Larson adds stirring strings to supplement "Chandeliers," which is just as pretty as it is punchy.

Throughout the eleven interwoven tracks on the aptly titled Storyboards, themes of reflection, introspection, renewal and optimism are prevalent, in addition to an underlying affinity for nature. O'Neal and Perdue are both animal appreciators, practicing vegetarians and frequently support the Humane Society both on and off stage.

"My approach to lyric writing is pretty much like an audio journal where I write about whatever's happening in my world, but the themes are universal and subject to interpretation," unveils O'Neal. "No matter where you're coming from, I think everyone can find common ground of having experienced a really difficult period, but realizing there's something better on the other side of that hurdle. Those are the type of emotions I hope these songs bring to people in hopes of realizing immediate struggles sometimes add up to more important parts of the larger picture."

And as Sleeping At Last plots an extensive tour behind the album (following on the heels of road time with the diverse likes of Switchfoot, Yellowcard, Something Corporate, Zwan and even Alanis Morissette), identifying with fans remains the band's primary focus.

"We don't like to call our listeners 'fans' because we pretty much befriend anyone who's kind enough to talk to us and truly consider them 'friends,'" adds Perdue. "We want to keep building upon this foundation we've laid and growing to be better musicians. And we sincerely thank those who've follow what we do because they afford us the ability to keep doing what we love."
Venue Information:
The Castle Theatre
209 E. Washington St.
Bloomington, IL, 61701
http://www.thecastletheatre.com/