Rest in peace, Christina. Today, you're singing in a better place -- far from this evil world. ...
'The Voice' standout singer performs March 16 in Toronto
Preview by Joshua Maloni
Somewhere in Arkansas, Christina Grimmie is eating chocolate chip waffles and analyzing her first few tour stops with "Fight Song"-stress Rachel Platten. When asked how the road trip is going in its early stages, Grimmie offers an unexpected answer.
"It's been really, really, really great," she said Monday, en route to a gig the next night in Nashville. "A lot of fans coming out - more than I expected, actually. Lots of support there."
Her wonder at the turnout is, itself, a surprise considering Grimmie's accomplishments.
Two years ago, she finished third on NBC's hit music competition "The Voice," performing each week in front of more than 10 million. Last fall, she was selected as Macy's iHeartRadio Rising Star for 2015, and performed at the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Today, she has more than 3 million YouTube subscribers and nearly 370,000,000 - that's 370 million - video views. More than 2.85 million have "Liked" Grimmie on Facebook, and she has 633,000 Twitter followers.
"To know that those numbers have grown to that extent, and that I'm still being supported by that amount of people, is kind of, like, ridiculous to me," Grimmie said, laughing.
"They've really watched me grow and grow up as an artist. They kind of grew up with me, which was cool. I was 16 when I started YouTube, and now I'm almost 22. I'm going to be 22 March 12. So, it's kind of awesome. And to see them out on the road right now - to kind of meet all these people - is awesome."
Christina Grimmie on stage in Niagara Falls in 2014.
Grimmie is especially excited to interact with fans these days, she said, because, unlike "The Voice" tour, where she mainly performed covers, she's performing her own songs.
"It's super cool," Grimmie said. "I really love that I'm getting to sing all these new, original songs. All the songs that I'm really doing for each of these shows are completely new - brand-new material that I just released recently. So, it's cool, because I got to produce and write 90 percent of this EP, which is cool. I've never really produced my own track and put it out there.
"That's super cool to be on stage singing stuff that I honestly thought would never see the light of day. I kind of just had it on my laptop for a while; saved to my computer. I didn't ever think that I'd really release it. But now that I'm on tour - now that I'm singing it live for people - it's super, super cool. Really, really exciting."
Last month, Grimmie released a four-song EP fittingly called "Side A."
"I decided to call it 'Side A,' because I didn't really ... want to sum up just half of an EP with an actual title," she said. "I wanted a title that would kind of hint at a second - like 'Side B.' That will eventually be coming out down the road. But I wanted to call it 'Side A' because it's simple. It's not really telling too much about it.
"So, basically, each of these songs - again, I didn't really think would see the light of day - I just kind of wrote them on my own time; in just kind of, like, that personal space. So, it's really cool to be out on stage singing them for everyone and really sharing my emotional standpoint."
Grimmie said the songs reflect upon the past few years and "just my personal experience. And things that I've kind of gone through and dealt with that I've never really had to deal with before. You know, personal stuff; career stuff. Whatever it is. I was just kind of putting it all back into the music that I was writing."
Grimmie said, "We're really excited for the rest of the tour."
She and Platten perform March 16 at The Opera House in Toronto.
Grimmie said it's cool "performing for a different crowd every night. Meeting the fans after the show - just hearing feedback, especially now, because it's brand-new music that I'm singing. I like to hear what they have to say about it."
When her tour stops wrap, Grimmie said she'll start spinning "Side B."
"So, 'Side B' is probably going to come out within the next couple months," she said. "Obviously, I need to get home from the tour first, and get back in the studio. But, I already have a couple songs that I've kind of been thinking of releasing with it.
"But the idea is not going to be too far different from 'Side A.' Just maybe a little more. ... OK, so I feel like 'Side A' is a little sad. You know? Because that's just kind of in the place that I was; writing it, I was a little sad and emotional.
"But 'Side B,' I kind of want to have a mixture of, you know, maybe the sadness and then some happiness sprinkled throughout there, because I don't want the whole record to just be kind of depressing!"
To sum up, "You can expect some more music straight from Grimmie's laptop!" she said, laughing.
To order "Side A," watch videos or connect with Christina Grimmie on social media, visit http://christinagrimmie.com/.
Watch a preview of "Side A":