Thursday night I had the pleasure of chatting with the 2015 Macy’s Rising Star, Christina Grimmie. Some of you may remember the 21-year-old Pop/R&B artist from her YouTube cover days and others might recognize her as the wrecking ball (literally, she sang Wrecking Ball) causing all four judges to turn around on The Voice.
Grimmie released her latest single on July 2nd, entitled Shrug, available for download now on iTunes. I had the opportunity to talk to Christina about her latest single and got to ask her a few questions that you, her fans, wanted to know!
Shrug is amazing, can you tell me a little about where the inspiration came from for that?
“Shrug is about those people in your life that you need to not listen to . The people you need to shrug off. I kind of felt like I didn’t have a song that really had that punch to it. I wrote that with several guys and we were just on a roll and we wrote it in 2 hours and I was like this is gonna be great, my fans are gonna love it.”
Shrug definitely had more of an R&B feel to it, is that something you’re trying to put a focus on in the future?
“Yeah, I love R&B. R&B vocally is my thing, I love it. I’ve kind of mixed the Pop and R&B as best I can but I love going all out in my shows and R&B music kind of allows me to do that vocally.”
You wrote Shrug in two hours, is that a typical process for you? Does it vary per song?
“Yeah it definitely varies per song and with the people you’re co-writing with. Disregarding if it sounds too Top 40 or what this person is going to think of it. I like to write with my fans in mind for sure, you know that’s just what the message is to me. I want to get a message across to them but as far as the music goes, I want what makes me happy in the end as well and Shrug is just a super jam!”
How do you deal with stage fright?
“I dealt with stage fright all my life actually. When I was little I always loved singing, I always wanted to be a singer. I’d always be in my room singing my heart out, doing my thing! And then I wouldn’t want to come out of my room for a good hour after! Just because I didn’t want my parents to be like, “Oh I heard you singing!” I hated that, I didn’t want to hear that I did good or that I did bad. I just never liked to sing in front of people, I was too nervous.
The very first time I did sing in front of other people was in front of my church and I was 12 years old and I ended up messing up a line in it and I kept going. After the song everyone stood up and clapped but I threw my microphone onto the pew and I ran into the bathroom!
But after that I just ended up growing and I felt like the more I performed the better I was and the more confident I became. So what I tell people is if you’re really thinking about becoming a singer but you have stage fright, the more experience you have, the better you’re going to be.”
How did that work when you initially started post your videos on YouTube? Did that help with your stage fright?
“It didn’t actually help or make it worse but I was in front of a camera, I wasn’t really singing to anyone necessarily as I’m recording it. However there is a huge awkwardness factor that weighs in while you’re filming sometimes. Back in my early days, if you watch my really early videos it’s really cringey! I’ll watch them and just the way I’m talking as I record – I’ll remember just how awkward I was. I was trying to say all the right things and trying to be a little comedic and it was just really awkward!”
How does it feel to have such a big international fan base?
“Yeah the international thing is just crazy! I got to tour in Europe a couple months ago and that was amazing! The turnout was crazy and I pride myself in that, in having the international fans. I’m trying to get out there and perform in more countries. My goal is to go around everywhere I possibly can and sing for them.”
So I hear you’re a bit of a video game junkie!
Someone was wondering what your current addiction is, someone mentioned Tokyo Ghoul? (I’d like to note I did not know what Tokyo Ghoul was before asking her this question, thankfully Christina was lovely enough to fill me in!)
“Tokyo Ghoul is actually an anime, an animanga, so that’s amazing. I absolutely love that! As far as anime goes I love Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist, stuff like that. And as far as video games go I’m obsessed with League of Legends, that’s my life other than music.”
Safe to say if you weren’t a musician you’d probably be somewhere in the video game industry?
“Actually I totally would! If I did not have any musical talent or musical interest whatsoever, I’d either be a professional gamer or a veterinarian.”
If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
“I’ve always wanted to have Skrillex remix one of my songs. I’ve literally been saying that forever! That’s something I really want to do so, so badly. As far as singers go, Christina Aguilera is my life when it comes to singing inspirations, I’d definitely love to do a song with her.”
With the release of Shrug a lot of your fans are wondering if you have any upcoming projects you can share with them.
“I have the Macy’s iHeartRadio Music Festival coming up. I’ll be opening up the entire event, which is crazy! So if anyone wants to go, that’d be great! It’ll be in Vegas on September 18th and 19th!”
For more information on Christina, you can check out her website at http://www.christinagrimmieofficial.com and follow her on Twitter @TheRealGrimmie for updates and be sure to check her out this September opening up for the iHeartRadio Music Festival!