Christina Perri is a singer-songwriter known around the world for hit singles like “Jar of Hearts” and “A Thousand Years” but she hasn’t forgotten her Philly roots — growing up in nearby Bucks County. The 29-year-old will be coming home this Saturday to open up for the legendary Billy Joel at Citizens Bank Park as well as to visit with family. We chat with Perri about her favorite Billy Joel songs, her new album and four years of sobriety.
How does it feel to be opening for Billy Joel on July 9?
It doesn’t even feel real yet. I mean, here is one of my favorite people of all time. I think I know every word to every song he has ever written. I would be going to this show if I wasn’t performing in it. That is how much I love him. To be sharing the stage with him, I think I might die a little. I don’t know. I can’t imagine. It is going to be my favorite day of my life so far.
Do you have a favorite Billy Joel song?
Yeah. I love all the classics that everybody loves, but I think my favorite is “Don’t Tell Me Why” or “So It Goes.” He played “So It Goes” at the last concert I went to — because I do go to his concerts when he comes around. I hope he plays that again.
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Do you get to visit Philly often?
I do. I feel really lucky even though I have been on tour for the past six years. My family is in Philly and my family is number one to me. Whenever I play Philly, my whole family will come and that is a really easy way to see everyone. I always make sure I have a day off before or after the show so I can go home to my parents' house, have dinner with my grandmother and spend all the time I can possibly spend with them. I visit Philly a lot, I would say.
Where do you like to visit when you are here?
I can’t lie. I go to Steve’s Steaks the second I get into Philly. That is my favorite. I don’t go to the one in town, because that one is new. I go to the one on Comely [Road] and it’s right by my high school. That is my number one favorite cheesesteak place.
I read recently that you announced four years of sobriety. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?
Sure. I made that decision to stop everything. I didn’t really talk about it for a little while. I was kind of a me thing and I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk about it because I didn’t know what that would feel like and I didn’t know if I was making a promise I could keep. But I’m at four years and just feel so good. It felt like something I was really ready to share because I have such emotional conversations with people at my shows that I thought it could be one more I could have.
How has it changed your life?
I feel like my favorite version of me I have ever been. I didn’t even know that I could feel this right and this present and proud of my decisions. That is just the most obvious change in my life that I am present and I am right. I feel everything. When you are sober you feel the good stuff but you also feel the anxiety and the nerves, all these things. I prefer this version of me.
Christina Perri opens for Billy Joel on Saturday, July 9 at Citizens Bank Park.