The Band Perry‘s debut single “Hip to My Heart” was great. Their follow up, “If I Die Young,” even more so. But I had a chance to hang with them backstage on Friday night (Oct. 8) in Chicago and found out what their very first original song was: “Bunny Rabbits Are Nice.” Frontwoman Kimberly Perry wrote it for her bunny, Beatrice, when she was about 8. She’s 27 now and her songwriting has changed. A lot. But she says that she and her brothers Neil and Reid have been all about music 24/7 since they were 15, 10 and 8.
While she wouldn’t tell me the lyrics to the bunny ballad, she did admit that she has always been a poet. The free-verse kind, like you can hear in “If I Die Young.” It’s not completely without a pattern, but lines like “Sink me in the river at dawn/Send me away with the words of a love song/The sharp knife of a short life/Well, I’ve had just enough time” definitely don’t have the markings of a traditional country rhyme scheme. She says that the edgy song is, for her, about having a heart of contentment. “Even if it all ended right now, it would be OK because we make the most of the moments we have,” she told me.
The band’s mom, Marie Perry, told me that at a very young age, Kimberly understood music on a different level. “She’d listen to her favorite Mariah Carey song and she’d be talking about the production,” she said. “If we’d known it was going to turn out like this, we would’ve had five more kids. A drummer and a fiddler at least,” she joked. Marie and her husband always saw the potential in the three Perry kids. Kimberly had earned an academic scholarship to a university in Alabama, but her parents told her she was not going to college. “My mom wouldn’t let us have a fall-back plan,” she said. Now with a single that’s sold more than 500,000 copies, it turns out mother knew best. They didn’t need a fall-back plan after all.