Christina Perri: And her 75-year-old alter ego, Judith

Christina Perri is Big In The States (like, insanely big - 415 million combined YouTube hits and counting) after one of her songs got used on So You Think You Can Dance. It was Twilight soundtracks and big emo ballads a go-go ever since. Her second album Head or Heart is out in a few weeks, and I met her what feels like a lifetime ago up in Atlantic Records Towers. She is, as her song states, only human and a very humane, friendly, chatty one at that. You can read my actual journalism in the next issue of GT, but here’s some fan-pleasing unpublished chit chat about her tats, my lack of tats and her alter-ego, who happens to be a 75-year-old woman called Judith.

I was gonna talk about your tattoos today, I know everyone does. But you’ve covered them up today…

Yeah today they’re kind of covered. You can almost see through the lace. I have about 70.

Oof. Thats a lot. What have the best fan copycat or tribute tattoos been?

I think the best ones are my lyrics, because that just always makes me happy. When I see people get my signature or my face, I get really freaked out. Because Ii’m like ‘you poor thing, please don’t do that’. Then again, I have Johnny Cash’s signature on my arm, so I do understand having a favourite but for me the ones that really really make me happy are the lyrics, ‘cos that’s my little piece of art that I did share with the world and I’m always honoured when i see anything like that. Then there’s girls that definitely have the same tattoo in the exact same place, which again is a form of flattery so that’s real sweet. There’s a couple of actual portraits of me and I’m like ‘awwww’ not my favourite but then again, whatever, I still think it’s cool but I just feel sorry for them.

Portrait tattoos are always amazing because they never quite look right.

Portraits are tricky. But seriously, all power to them, obviously I don’t think it’s awful. All power to them, everyone has their own free will. But yeah. I like the lyrics ones the best.

Do you have any of your lyrics on you?

Not of my own lyrics. I have Shakespeare, I have John Paul George and Ringo just their names, I have a couple of sayings like ‘Nothing is random’, ‘Bitten’ is my Twilight tattoo that’s in the font of the books. This one Jason Mraz drew of me and him and he put it in my car and wrote ‘me & you’. I’m trying to think - I have ‘head’ and ‘heart’ in Italian on my hands.

What are you going to do when you run out of space?

I don’t think I’ll run out of space. I’ve got a lot of skin. Here’s the thing, this cheeseburger that I got the other day, that’s small and so if I continue to get little tiny ones.... I can’t get massive ones because then I’ll ruin years worth of little ones. I’m sort of planning it out. Kinda.

Can I say you’re addicted then?

100% addicted yeah. There’s a line I crossed years ago. There’s an invisible line that’s like ‘hey, I can cover them!’ and I have two, now I have 70.

I find myself doodling on my skin but have never gone through with it.

Zero tattoos? I love people with none. Because I feel like you either have none of lots. People inbetween freak me out, like people with one…

Commit people, come on!

Please! I don’t enjoy people with one tattoo, and then I make fun of them. There’s no way. You’re going to get another one. Like Michael Buble I just saw him, he’s got ‘Noah’, his baby on his wrist. And I was like ‘cool, next time I see you, you’ll have two’. and he was like, ‘oh I do have...’ and I was like there you go. Everyone has got an idea. So people with no tattoos, I love that. Because that says something, it’s really good, I’m really spontaneous and don’t think before I do a lot of them, that’s why I don’t even have a list of ones I’m waiting to get, if i’m thinking about it I just go and do it.

I always wanted to get one to remind me of a time in my life and to actually regret it. You are with a tattoo for life and your feelings will change.

Yeah, there’s a lot that I wouldn’t get twice.

I almost got a cartoon panda, now I’m glad I went for the non-tattooed option.

Awww, oh my gosh. Well, one day. You know what, my dad got his first tattoo when he was 65. So you’ve got time. You could get your first one when you’re an old man. Never too late to start.

Since nothing is random, what’s the name of your penguin?

The one I carry around with? It doesn’t have a name! I called it Ceeps Penguin. It’s just Ceeps, c-e-e-p-s ‘cos that’s what everyone calls me, it’s my nickname. My band came up with it and now everyone calls me that. So it’s ceeps penguin pillow. I just call it penguin. I think the truth is, if I named it and I lost it, I would feel awful. This is my fourth one because I lose it on tour or I forget it at a hotel, one time I left it on the airplane, I was devastated. but if I lost it and it had a name, I would really really be sad.

It’s kind of amazing that there are three in the world out there.

I know, somebody has got my penguin pillows that’s for sure, they don’t know how loved and beloved they were. But now I learned that I can’t name them.

Did ceeps come out of nowhere?

Well I always sign my emails CP my initials, and I think at one point my drummer called me Ceeperoni, Ceepizzle and all these silly names, but Ceeps ended up sticking really well.

Is it useful to have that as an alter ego?

Well, I have other alter egos…. there’s this really old lady version of me we call Judith. Because I’m really dorky and sometimes I answer the phone like [adopts high pitched voice] ‘helloooooo' and that’s Judith. I also really love the vocal chords and reading science books about that. Actual medical books I like reading for fun, that’s Judith. When everyone goes out to drink on tour and I’m like ‘please be careful’, that’s Judith. So I wish I had a cooler alterego. I feel a bit lame now that my alter ego is 75 years old.

That’s amazing, you should do all your interviews as Judith.

Ahah! Easily. But Ceeps is a really good representation of me on tour, I’m very silly. So no, I don’t have a different one, I should come up with one.

Christina Perri dot com.