American singer-songwriter Christina Perri moved to Los Angeles from Philadelphia with one suitcase and a guitar. She was hoping to follow in the footsteps of her older, musician brother Nick Perri, the former lead guitarist of Shinedown. Her breakthrough came when "Jar of Hearts" featured on the June 30, 2010 episode of So You Think You Can Dance. Choreographed by Stacey Tookey, the song was danced to by Billy Bell and Kathryn McCormick on the show. The track was rushed onto iTunes in light of the exposure and it immediately landed at #20 on the overall chart.
Perri learned about the song's placement on the nationwide televised dance competition, following a particularly grueling shift at a Café in Beverly Hills, one that had her daydreaming about dramatic ways to cease employment. "I was being yelled at all day. I got into my car and I wasn't 100 feet from the café when I got the call. I screamed. Then I cried. Then I called my mom."
The song's music video was directed by Jay Martin (Death Cab for Cutie, Cold War Kids, Wolfmother) and was shot on a soundstage designed as a New York City street. The clip features So You Think You Can Dance All-Stars Kathryn McCormick and Allison Holker (who both danced to Christina's song on the show) as well as Keltie Colleen, Peter Chu, Chelsea Thedinga, Chantel Aguirre and Eboni Adams. SYTYCD's Stacey Tookey choreographed the dancers.
Perri's co-manager Tom Gates told Billboard magazine that it was Perri who came up with the idea for the video. "When we were flying back from all those meetings, she was all keyed up and I just wanted to sleep," he recalled. "I told her she should spend the flight writing a treatment for the video if she needed something to do, and when I woke up at LAX, she had done it."
Perri admitted to PopEater that it's bittersweet that so many people can relate to a song that has such a painful meaning. She explained: "I go to all these places, and I've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people who like the song and to play it for them. They come up to me, and it's not like they come up and they're like, 'This song about the sunshine and being on the beach all day. I love that song and I totally relate!' They're literally like, crying, and some of them are like, 'I've just gone through a divorce, and this song made me'... but that's normally the end of that sentence or story. [Then] it's always like, 'I have hope now,' or 'I've gained strength from this.' Even though it's really a kind of bizarre, sad, heart-wrenching topic, I feel like the main theme in the song, if you listen, is about getting stronger and not going back to that person that keeps breaking your heart. It's a weird one, but I like the fact that people end up feeling stronger after they hear it."
Perri penned the song about a serial heartbreaker she once dated. The singer stated in her blog the story behind the tune: "I wrote the song after I went home to Philadelphia for the holiday last December. I sat in my childhood bedroom and hid from the boy (with the jar of hearts) who wanted to see me. My heart wanted to see him, my head knew better."
As a result of this song, Perri's fans would often send her jars with hearts of some kind - not real ones (we hope).