The Band Perry made a lot of inroads with its energetic first single, “Hip To My Heart,” but it’s the ballad they released as a follow-up, “If I Die Young,” that’s really getting the group a lot of attention.
The song is atypical — a slow number about death put out at a time of year when many artists try to put out happy, upbeat material — but that’s also part of the reason it’s worked. “If I Die Young” goes against the grain just enough that its spare arrangement stands out among other current songs. And when fans really focus on the lyrics, they discover it’s not a morbid assessment of death but actually a result of siblings Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry celebrating life.
“It’s just a moment in time when the three of us looked at each other one cloudy day in East Tennessee,” Kimberly notes, “and said, ‘You know, if for whatever reason, it all ends at this moment for us, even at our young ages’ — then we were 26, 19 and 18 — ‘even if it all ended tomorrow, we’ve gotten to live our lives completely. We’re getting to reach our dreams in a way that for whatever reason a lot of folks may or may not ever have the opportunity to.’ So for us, ‘If I Die Young’ was a statement of contentment and makin’ the most of whatever time we’re given, whether that’s two years or 20 years or 200 — as long as we’re making the most of it, it’ll be just enough.”
After their conversation, Kimberly wrote the lyrics in her bedroom at their house in Greenville, Tenn., and they very quickly worked out the chord progression and a basic arrangement in the basement as a group.
The song was influential in their career. It was the one that first got the attention of Republic Nashville, which signed them after they performed a live audition at the label’s Music Row headquarters. And now it’s caught the attention of the company’s New York office, which is so impressed with the song that it’s thinking about working it to pop radio stations and maybe even releasing it globally.
There’s already an audience for it overseas. The Band Perry has gotten feedback from fans in Europe and the Middle East, though the group still has a hard time claiming the song as its own.
“It felt like ‘If I Die Young’ was gonna come to Planet Earth whether it was the three of us that had written it or not,” Kimberly says. “But it just so happens that we had the pen and the paper in hand, and I’m just really excited that we got to bear that song.”
Partially because of “If I Die Young,” they’re hop-scotching all over the U.S. That’s particularly true this weekend. They perform Friday at the Mason County Fair in West Virginia, Saturday in Las Vegas and Sunday in Arlington, Wash.
And TBP is booked all the way through August of next year, though the band is having to keep some of its touring plans secret. Look for an announcement next month that will give them an opening slot on a tour for 2011.