This week, I was lucky enough to interview musical legend Christina Perri. Inspirational, charismatic, and altogether a down-to-earth, lovely person, she talked to me about her new album, Ed Sheeran, fans dressed as penguins and standing up for the things she values the most. By Maverick TIERNEY REARDON.

Hi Christina! I'm a writer for TEARAWAY magazine. I'm fourteen, and it's so exciting to be interviewing you. This is my first interview.
Oh, you're only fourteen – that's so rad!

Are you enjoying your Head or Heart tour around North America?
I am having the time of my life. My band and crew are so much fun, and all of the cities have been so nice. The shows have been great; I'm so happy right now.

The album is essentially a series of answers to the question: In love, is it better to trust your head or your heart? When writing Head or Heart, did you already know what your answer was?
No and yes – by the way, that is such a good question. I wrote the first song for album two on October 23rd of 2012 – a song called Trust. I had a full-on 'eureka' moment. I thought to myself – oh my god, that's exactly what I want to ask: Which matters most in love – your head or your heart? I was living in Los Angeles, a relationship had just ended, and I had a revelation – I realised... that it was me that I didn't trust, not someone else. Everything changed that day. I wrote for six months, and every time I wrote a song I'd ask myself: Is it a 'head' song or a 'heart' song? So, I think the correct answer is to trust both. But... I'm sort of bringing everyone along with me as I try to figure it out.

That's such a cool story! Each of your songs seem so deeply honest and personal – how do you feel about sharing these songs with the world?
I just don't know any other way. I am such an honest person – I'm literally the worst liar on the planet, and I am an over-sharer, of course – super dorky. I've just never been dishonest. Right now I feel comfortable enough to be myself, because in my first album it went well enough that people were reactive to my honesty. Every time I play a show, I can see people's faces – I look at them, and they believe me, and I think to myself, thank God I'm telling the truth, because I don't know what I'd do if these people didn't believe me. So, I think I give everyone in the audience the faith to feel better, and to feel less alone when they realise that I went through it too, and I realise that I've done that 13 times in all 13 songs. It makes for a really honest experience – for the listener, and for me. I feel better after every show, and hopefully the audience does too.

What was it like teaming up with Ed Sheeran for Be My Forever?
Ed is the most wonderful guy on the planet. He is so talented and so sweet. We have been friends for a couple of years now, because we have the same record label. Ed was my first choice when I wrote the song. He loved it, and he said that he would happily sing this [but] he was on tour with Taylor Swift for the whole year. So, nine months after I wrote the song, we were at Los Angeles at the same time, so I invited them to the studio. He came, and we sang the song – one take – and that was it.

That's so cool! Ed Sheeran is awesome. So, what is your strangest fan experience to date?
The fans that dress up as penguins are pretty hilarious. It's really sweet; my fans are very, very sweet people, and they just want to hug me and tell me about their love life. I always love meeting them. Everyone knows how much I love penguins, so sometimes they come to shows dressed as penguins, and it's always ridiculous, but ridiculously awesome.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?
The first song I ever wrote was called The Perfect Man for Me. I was 15, and I had just fallen in love for the very first time, and my god, I was so ridiculous  – over the top, dramatic – and I wrote this song. And then he cheated on me, and so the second song I wrote was called Tragedy.

After listening to your album, what is the message that you want people to walk away with?
I would hope that they could get a little closer to trusting themselves, because that is was writing, recording, mixing and matching this album is doing for me every day; I'm getting a little bit closer to trusting me. And if that can happen to someone else, that's awesome!

What is the song that means the most to you?  
All 13 songs are kind of like my children, so it's really hard to pick one as my favourite. If I had to choose, I would say Trust, because it's the first song I wrote for the album, and I credit that song to every other song that I wrote. I also really, really love Be My Forever and I Believe and Human.

In interviews, what is the most annoying question you're asked?
Ooh, good question! You've got such good questions!

Haha, thank you!
The most annoying question would be probably... about my tattoos. It's not so much annoying – I can never tell if they're being judgemental or just curious. When they ask me if I like my tattoos, I'm like 'Of course I do. I have them!' Also when people ask me why I have them. I mean, that's not really that relevant, you know? It's because I do.

How does Head or Heart differ from your first album, Lovestrong?
The biggest difference... is the sonic elements of each album. The first album was recorded in 33 days, with one band, in a room with all real instruments. Head or Heart was recorded over a year, with lots of programming, all different players – and in all different countries; in America, the UK. So, I think overall, it sounds bigger. I think it sounds better, personally. I'm a little bit more proud of Head or Heart; for taking my time and making it exactly the way I wanted it to be.

Your song, Sea of Lovers was originally a poem. Do you think that poems are stronger than songs, because they stand without music?
That's so cool – I don't even know how you knew that! I didn't even know I'd told anyone that. It's the first time I'd ever changed a poem to a song. I wrote 49 [songs] for the album, and every song I wrote a different way. I don't know if I think it's stronger, but it was really interesting, because I had to write the melody to the length of the words. I thought that was really cool.

Are you planning to visit New Zealand sometime soon?
I sure hope so. I'm planning to come over to that part of the world, I think in November.

We hope so too! So, you make a point of being honest in your songs, and being true to yourself... have there been any moments in your career when it would have been easier to do what someone else wanted, but you stood your ground?
Yes. So many times I can't even count. It happened a whole lot making this album... in the mixing, after I was all done writing and recording the songs. I thought they were perfect, and then all of a sudden there were all these people, and they were giving me all of these opinions. People will always tell you how they think you should look and sound. Every time this happened I stood my ground, I did what I believed in. I fought very hard for exactly what you'll hear on that album, and it was so difficult. Sometimes I would cry myself to sleep and drink a whole lot of chocolate milkshakes... but I am so grateful and so proud of myself for standing up for my songs.

WIN! We have 5 copies of Head or Heart to give away. Click here.

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