Singer performs July 11 at Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center in Niagara Falls
Preview by Joshua Maloni
Christina Grimmie misses her dog, Chloe.
"Oh, my puppy! I haven't seen her in forever, because of the tour," she said in a phone interview Wednesday. "Oh my gosh, she's like my best friend. I love her so much."
Grimmie, a 20-year-old New Jersey native, has been on the road almost three weeks with "The Voice" Tour, performing in Texas and Florida, and winding her way toward Niagara Falls, where she'll take the stage July 11 at the Seneca Niagara Events Center.
Thanks to NBC's hit singing show "The Voice," in which Grimmie finished third May 20, the musician has gained new friends, innumerable fans, national exposure and priceless industry contacts.
In the process, she's had to sacrifice some freedom.
"I really don't (have down time)," she said, laughing. "It's all part of the job description."
That's not a complaint. In fact, Grimmie is quite pleased with the way the past six weeks have played out, despite not winning the top-rated music competition.
"I am more than thrilled that I made the top three," she said. "In fact, I feel like it almost worked out better for me. I just have so many things going for me; I don't need the title of 'The Voice,' per se. I don't think that defines your success as an artist.
"For me, finishing in the top three, that alone is just a huge blessing, and a huge accomplishment. There's no way I could possibly complain about that."
In February, NBC used a clip of Grimmie's blind audition, in which she sang Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball," to promote the sixth season of "The Voice." She appeared in the season premiere and netted four "I Want You" chair turns from coaches Adam Levine - whom she picked - Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton.
Everyone instantly knew Grimmie would be a serious contender.
Well, almost everyone.
"I actually - believe it or not, I know this sounds really pathetic - but I never actually had the mindset like, 'Oh, I'm going to win,' " Grimmie said, laughing. "I kind of just had more of a, like - I think when I got to the live rounds, though, that's when I started to realize how serious it was. I was like, 'Wow, here I am. I'm at the live rounds in the top 12 now. I'm not messing around anymore.' "
Grimmie steadily improved throughout the season. Her song choices and stage presence seemed to get better with each live performance. Levine helped the singer make the most of her significant talent.
"That's kind of when I started to put my best foot forward," Grimmie said. "Adam was tremendous. He just really helped guide me as an artist and (with) song choice and everything."
"I don't exactly have the mindset, you know, 'Oh, I'm going to win,' " she said. "It was just more like, 'Alright, I'm just going to give it everything I have. Let's see if I have what it takes.' ... I wanted to, like, kind of save the best for the next couple or the last (performances), you know?"
"I was just taking it step-by-step; live round by live round," she said.
By season's end, Levine was so impressed with his protégé that he offered to sign Grimmie to his record label. She wound up signing with Island Records, the home of Florence + The Machine, Drake, Gotye, Leona Lewis and a small Irish upstart that goes by the name U2.
"I've actually got an album coming out, hopefully, by somewhere around the end of this year," Grimmie said. "And I also have a single coming out within the month."
Of the new material, she teased, "It's very fun, and it's very - I wanted it to be very me.
"I've done originals in the past. Some are very me; some aren't very me. I just really want to make this record something to put out there and be like, 'Hey world, hey people that knew me from 'The Voice,' this is Christina Grimmie's brand-new album, and this is what you're in for when you buy it.'
"Because I've been on tour, I haven't exactly gotten to write as much, but I'm kind of starting the process. As far as the single goes, it's just - it's a jam. It's fun, and I think people are going to dig it."
So far, "Voice" fans have been digging the live tour. The unexpected kinship between the performers, as seen on TV, has continued on the road. Somehow, in the midst of heated competition, the season six singers not only bonded, but actually became lifelong friends.
"I'm actually legitimately very surprised," Grimmie said of "The Voice's" relationship-building. "That's not to be a rude comment, but it's like, I'm just kind of surprised.
"We all have the same goal. We're all sharing the same stage, and we all competed at one point and, yet, somehow, we've never bumped heads. Never had any issues. There's been zero drama, especially since the tour."
"It's just a really great atmosphere here," she said. "Everyone's amazing."
Grimmie said tour-goers can expect to see more of what they saw from her on "The Voice."
"I bounce around stage a lot," she said. "I jump around. I get into my songs quite a bit."
Like her tourmates, Grimmie will sing a lot of cover songs. Her selections will, no doubt, reflect her diverse tastes. She is, after all, a musician who's constantly looking to evolve.
"I feel like the pop music industry, and the music industry, in general, is changing so much, and there's always different tastes going around," she said.
"For me, as a musician and an artist, I feel like there's so much stuff that I haven't played with yet; you know, there's so many different styles I haven't touched yet and I want to get into," Grimmie said.
"The Voice" Tour will stop in Niagara Falls Friday, July 11. Tickets for the 8 p.m. Seneca Niagara Events Center show are available in person or online at http://www.senecaniagaracasino.com/entertainment.
"The Voice Live" Tour