Kina Grannis is Offline, On Air
Published: Monday, April 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 19:04
Breaking into the music business has never been harder for artists. The music industry is experiencing a huge shake up and it has to do largely with the way music is consumed. Kina Grannis knows this quite well, as her success is due to her online fans.
Grannis didn’t have to mail out her demo to a dozen labels and cross her fingers. She didn’t have to play in coffee shops and wait for years for a record label to notice her. She simply filmed herself, uploaded her music onto YouTube and things fell into place.
The internet can be a very fickle place, but Grannis’s fans know her as the girl with the acoustic guitar who sings directly to them. From her bedroom to theirs, she shares her music and they get to respond instantly.
It’s been a crazy ride for Grannis, who is finishing a tour in Europe, Asia and Australia. She also recently played on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Ellen. Her heartfelt songs have captured the attention of the music industry, but as far as her fans are concerned, she is still just as approachable as ever.
College Times: You're currently touring Asia and soon to be in Australia. How has it been so far?
Kina Grannis: It's been amazing! I've never been to any of these places before so I'm really taking it all in – great people, great food. I'm a happy camper.
Has music always been a part of your life? Is anyone in your family a musician?
Always. Growing up there were always a lot of instruments around my house for me to mess around on, and singing was something I've always loved doing since I can remember. Both my sisters and I grew up playing classical violin and we sang together whenever possible – usually while doing the dishes or cleaning our rooms.
Who are some musicians you look up to?
So many. James Taylor, K's Choice, Sarah McLachlan, Bon Iver, Imogen Heap.
Before you started uploading content to YouTube, did you use it as a way to find music?
Actually, before I started YouTube I was pretty oblivious to the fact that there was music to be found there. It wasn't until I started posting videos that I discovered the huge community of musicians on YouTube. How would you describe YouTube as a platform for displaying your art? I think YouTube is the most versatile platform for sharing my music because not only do you share a song, but you share a visual and can have a conversation with your listeners.
Feedback is immediate on YouTube, which is pretty unique. How does that work out for you?
For the most part, it's one of the best things ever. Uploading a video generally feels like Christmas morning to me. The giant influx of Tweets and comments [is] super exciting until you get to that one negative comment, and then I make a vow to myself to never read comments again. Has it made you closer to your fans? Definitely. It allows me to have a conversation with them.
You have meet-ups with your fans fairly frequently. Why is that important to you and what are they like?
It's important for me to connect with them and show them how grateful I am of their support. It's one small thing I can do to say thank you and spend some time with them. Generally, [the meet-ups are] a little hectic, but super fun, giant love fests.
You're touring quite a bit this year. What else do you have in store for 2012?
Working on my new album and running a half marathon as a part of Run Team Kina, a charity I started for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Kina Grannis, Martini Ranch, April 10, 7 p.m., $15 adv, $17 dos, $20 VIP