Christina Perri: Waitress of the Month

Christina Perri: Waitress of the Month

She began July 2010 waiting tables at Melrose Place Café in Los Angeles. She ended it singing live on So You Think You Can Dance and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. And she didn’t quit her restaurant job in between until the manager could replace her. That’s why we hope other aspiring artists who wait tables—you know who you are—get discovered like Christina Perri did.

Many of your front-of-the-house staffers are aspiring artists who dream of being discovered and leaving the restaurant world behind. Such a Cinderella story actually came true last month for singer/songwriter Christina Perri. Her song “Jar of Hearts” caught the attention of the producers of So You Think You Can Dance, who used a recorded version of it on the June 30th episode.

The song took off from there. Perri sang it live on the show in a subsequent episode, and was quickly booked for appearances on CBS’ The Early Show and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Her song zoomed into the Top 15 pop single chart on iTunes, where more than 100,000 downloads have been sold.

It’s a rags-to-riches story if ever there was one, especially considering that the singer hit it big despite having no manager, publicist or recording deal. But what happened to her restaurant job?

“It was just my day job, Perri told US magazine. “It was how I survived and was able to live in L.A. and do these things. I would work at the café from 9-5, and then I'd be in the studio from 5-11. I was working insane days that all kind of rolled into each other, but the more important thing was that I was working on my music. I just did the café job like we all do to survive. It was a really kind of cool moment where I realized I could just focus on my music now.”

So did Perri tell her boss at the Melrose Place Café to take this job and shove it as soon as she hit it big? Surprisingly, she didn’t.

“I always dreamed I would have this big dramatic exit where I'd hop into my limo and take off and be like, 'See ya later!' But it wasn't like that at all. The people I worked with were like family by the time I left. But I was like ‘Hey, so, I got this thing, and I’m going to cover one shift at a time until somebody can take over full time.' It was not dramatic at all.”

Would that all your waitstaffers who find a better job would leave your employ under such circumstances.

Perri is in the music business full-time now, capitalizing on her big break. She even hopes to form a brother-sister act with her brother Nick, former guitarist of rock group Shinedown. “We’re really close,” she tells USA Today. “We look alike, we talk alike, we think alike. We’re like the tattooed Carpenters.”