Petra Jarrar, 20, writes hook-drenched, danceable, optimistic pop songs. She sings them with swagger at NYC venues like the Bowery Electric and the Bitter End. Recently, the Fairfield native joined the fall leg of the High School Nation Tour, which brings artists and vendors to dozens of schools across the country every year. Jarrar performs her music in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee between Sept. 25 and Oct. 6; soon after, she'll relocate to Nashville to record her debut album.
Jarrar stopped by CTNOW to talk about her music and upcoming tour.
Q: How did you end up on the High School Nation Tour?
A: I played a rooftop party in Brooklyn in July. My friend got the job of her dreams, so she threw this huge party. She asked me to come and play with my band. There was a great photographer there who took some beautiful photos. I posted them on my social media, and Guitar Center got to see them.
They took the photos and they ran a campaign for the month of July, advertising all the gear we had in the pictures: amps, guitars, keyboards, drum kits. I then heard from this company called High School Nation about being an artist on their tour. It was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for at the time. I was deciding between going to school and trying to do music full time. I felt like this was a call from the future: "Yes, Petra, you have to go do this." I signed up to be part of the tour.
A few weeks later, Guitar Center called me back and said they wanted to partner with me on the tour. While I'm on the road, they're going to be showing behind the scenes, what it looks like to be on the road with me. They'll post pictures and videos. But it was all very much a twist of fate, which was really cool. I didn't even think playing a party for my friend could lead to such an awesome thing.
Q: What's your history with touring?
A: I've performed all over the world. My first tour was an international tour. We performed in Japan for about 10 days. We played a music festival in Kobe, but leading up to that we did several shows at several venues. They were all incredible. I've never seen audiences like I did in Japan. Even for my saddest songs, they were standing up and dancing, holding their phones up in the air. That was an awesome experience.
Right after that tour, in February, I got to go to the Grammys. I went there for the award show, which was an adventure in itself, and then I had a show at the Mint on Valentine's Day. But this tour is unique. It's literally being on the road, driving around the country for two weeks. It's going to be great. It's just going to be me and my guitar.
Q: What do you expect to happen on this tour?
A: I've learned after going on the road so many times not to have any expectations, because anything is bound to happen. Of course, there's a plan. There's a schedule that I'm following. But otherwise, I have absolutely no idea. I'm excited just to play in all these amazing cities and for all these amazing crowds. I haven't done the cross-country tour before, or even gone across the country. I've taken flights from coast to coast and from country to country, but to be in a car and see all these amazing places: that's what I'm excited about. I'm being very open-minded about it. Life on the road is very unpredictable in a great way.
Press Play is a column by music writer Michael Hamad exploring the underground musicians of Connecticut. If you have new music to share, send it to him at email@example.com.