36 hours ago…Christina Perri was an unsigned artist who had been working hard in Hollywood. Her brother is a member of Shinedown and she tracked some Diane Warren demos which apparently led to a respect/friendship. But for at least four years, she toiled picking up some fans here and there and working to make something happen.
So what’s the story here? To hear a friend of mine and Futurehit.DNA believer tell it, there were a couple of things ready to connect for Christina, but the Futurehit.DNA layer helped take it over the edge. Lemme explain…
I have been long time friends with Barrett Yeretsian. He’s a really cool producer, writer and multi-instrumentalist from Hollywood. Sick-cool drummer. See for yourself! Anyway, I met him while he was working with an unsigned band called Beat & Path. The song that Barrett produced and co-wrote called “Goodbye Beautiful Day” became a huge hit on Yahoo! Music both with that band and a later band that Barrett formed called Aviatic. Anyway, we’ve kept in touch and I’ve watched him grow as a producer/songwriter over the years with many projects getting good bites as an indie but nothing that broke thru. He was one of the first people to get Futurehit.DNA (even reading a late draft at my house in Nashville because he couldn’t wait) and quickly embraced the ideas in his songwriting and production.
As he tells the story, he connects with Christina in LA and she had already written the rough version of “Jar Of Hearts” and brought it to Barrett to see what he might do with it. With Christina and his writing partner, they proceed to tweak it, and Barrett finalizes production utilizing the Futurehit.DNA filter. Here’s my tweak of where they worked the filter well: The intro is barely one second long. The song starts with spare piano and vocals giving the song space to build. The opening lyric engages with a dynamic phrase (“I know I can’t take one more step towards you/Coz all that’s waiting is regret”). Right around the two minute mark (2:15 to be exact), the arrangement on the bridge shifts down dynamically as the piano enters an upper register and the strings and harmony vocals are taken out…keeps the listener engaged. Also, the song extends the bridge much longer than typically found in today’s pop songs, along with some lengthening of the outro. This naturally elongates the song past four minutes. Considering the sparsity of the song (only piano and strings for instruments) and difficulty of making a song long with no instrumental passages, the song is probably 45 seconds longer than it might have been. But these subtle shifts that fit neatly allows the song to be longer thereby owning more of the listening experience. All Futurehit.DNA techniques.
Christina has a friend of a friend who works at So You Think You Can Dance. Those hookups are valuable…never underestimate them. This person heard the original version of “Jar Of Hearts” and certainly liked it a lot. But it wasn’t quite ready for prime time TV. And believe me, as someone who works in TV you can be best friends but if it’s not ready for broadcast it’s not going on. But once Barrett applied the Futurehit.DNA filter along with his years of production skills, it became a natural to be on the show. From there, it appeared on the show alongside songs by established artists like Lil’ Jon and Florence And The Machine. But 24 hours later, this unsigned song with virtually no prior fanbase beat them all on iTunes.
I don’t know Christina yet and I look forward to meeting her. And certainly Christina’s talents with the original song, both as writer and singer, provided the core that made it a hit today…not my book. But I and many others in the business know lots of folks with equally good talent who can’t catch a break. Heck, she couldn’t catch a break for four years. It wasn’t until the Futurehit.DNA filters were added as the final layer before it got its shot. And when it got its shot, it more than rose to the occasion. And adding the layer to your independent song might elevate that too.