In many ways, 19-year-old pop singer/songwriter Christina Grimmie is a picture of indie artist success. Although unsigned, she’s released an EP and a full-length album, gained a global following, toured with her mentor Selena Gomez, and even won an American Music Award as a “New Media Honoree,” (an honor also awarded to hip-pop duo Karmin and rapper DeStorm Power)–all largely through building and maintaining a strong fan base through social media.
Grimmie first got her start in the public eye through her YouTube presence by playing covers of popular songs. In the past couple of years, she’s made the shift to performing mostly original material, establishing herself as a songwriter in her own right. Her debut full-length album With Love, released last month, is a product of that transition.
Grimmie is currently preparing to hit the road as an opening act for Selena Gomez. In the meantime, she was good enough to do a brief Q and A with MIMO.
MIMO: Let’s talk first of all about your new record With Love. Where was this recorded, and is there a common thread that weaves these songs together, in your view?
Christina: It was recorded at different studios and producer’s houses. It was fun making the record. I do think there are mostly positive messages within the songs; people need that.
MIMO: What was your favorite part of the recording process for this album? Do you have any favorite tracks?
Christina: I don’t like choosing favorites, per se…however, “I Bet You Don’t Curse God” really was a special song. The writing process, the message, even recording it was sincere and honest, and it means a lot to me.
MIMO: For an unsigned artist, you have quite a social media presence–nearly 2 million fans on Facebook and over 2 million YouTube subscribers. Tell us a little bit about how you have drawn a following that large.
Christina: I’m not sure! …I think the fact that my fans know I’m not gonna be a fake image or a fake musician. They know me, and as they grow with me they’ll see my little growth changes here and there and stick with me through anything. I don’t want to give them junk. I stick around on social media, I talk to them, make sure they know how much they’re loved and appreciated. Talent can bring you far, but not all the way: it’s the fans. The fans are everything. Love them like children!
MIMO: You’ve been transitioning out of doing YouTube covers into more original music, and “With Love” is an extension of that. Has that transition been challenging for you? How are your fans responding to your original tunes?
Christina: It was certainly challenging at first, but after you start to realize the reason you’re not covering music any more, the happier and more content you get. Why would I want to continue to cover other people’s music when I could be doing my own? That’s what my true fans want!
MIMO: You’ll be touring this fall with Selena Gomez. Anything special you want to share with your fans about what to expect with this tour?
Christina: Expect a new look, new sound, and some great tunes!