Christina Perri has been waiting what feels like a thousand years to dedicate her voice to a daughter.
While the "Jar of Hearts" singer may have taken a momentary hiatus from putting out new tunes after the release of her 2014 album Head or Heart, it turns out she had signed her voice over to motherhood. Perri and her husband Paul Costabile welcomed their first child, a daughter named Carmella Stanley, on Jan. 17, shortly after they tied the knot on Dec. 12, 2017, in New York City.
Using her experience with becoming a mother to “tiptoe back into working and putting out new music,” Perri, 32, is announcing her latest and greatest project: a lullaby album.
“Putting out new songs that I sang to her all year feels so authentic and genuine as to where I’m at in my real life. I am a huge fan of when people are authentic of where people are at,” she tells PEOPLE about her album Songs for Carmella: Lullabies & Sing-a-Longs, which is set to be released on Carmella’s first birthday.
“I just didn’t want to jump into a new project that wasn’t related to how amazing my life is right now due to my daughter,” she adds. “That’s the biggest and best thing that’s ever happened to me, so I didn’t want to pretend that didn’t happen.”
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The album will feature “the 10 songs I’ve sung to her every day of her life so far,” including an original song called “You Mean the Whole Wide World to Me,” a lullaby version of “A Thousand Years” and some Disney covers and classics.
“I really wrote ‘You Mean the Whole Wide World to Me’ for Carmella two months after she arrived and it’s really the only song I wrote all year because, creatively, it’s just so challenging when you’re tired and in baby land,” she says.
“Even when I play her this song and the others on the lullaby record, she really gets most excited when I play her this song, so it really is her song and it just feels right to release it first,” the new mom raves.
And whether her precious baby girl is sitting in her lap in the rocking chair or the studio chair, Perri says 10-month-old Carmella “lights up, dances and sings” to the sound of her mother’s angelic voice.
“She really sings along with me and my husband,” Perri explains about how Carmella reacts to her singing.
“I really wouldn’t be surprised if she grew up to be a singer,” she adds about their mother-daughter similarities. “I don’t want to put that on her, but she’s been singing in her own little language for months and sings instantly when she hears this record.”
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While using her voice to serenade her daughter has been effortless, Perri says the “most challenging thing is breastfeeding and not sleeping” — two aspects of motherhood “you absolutely cannot prepare for.”
“When I was pregnant, I did every preparation possible — went to all the classes, read all the books and all the blogs — so my mom and all her friends really thought I was going to have a grasp on it,” she reveals. “Experiencing the lack of sleep and breastfeeding are two of the most challenging things I have ever experienced in my whole life.”
“It’s equally the best and the craziest thing at the same time because you made this little person that’s looking at you and you’re so grateful that you’re doing these things for her, so it’s super worth it and fulfilling, but at the same time you get real weird when you haven’t slept for six months,” she continues. “Carmella started sleeping through the night at 8 months old, so for eight months — close to nine months — she didn’t sleep through the night one time.”
Considering a baby who’s talking, nearly walking and hitting milestones faster than ever, one thing Carmella will never be able to outgrow is the love her mother has for her.
“The most surprising thing is how much you love this little person — you also can’t prepare for that!” she says. “It’s like the Grinch: Your heart grows five sizes when you meet this little person. Every month, you love them more and more and more, and the more they become who they are and their personalities start showing, you just melt.”
“We’re just obsessed with her,” the proud mom admits.