Interviews, Pop — September 3, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Interview: YouTube star Kina Grannis returns for an encore Asian performance


She has more than 160 million views on YouTube, a #1 album on iTunes and even an annual event named after her… and now internet sensation Kina Grannis is returning to Asia for her “Elements” tour. kina-grannis-4


Her first tour of the region in three years, this current string of performances will be the first opportunity for fans to hear music from Kira Grannis’ new album “Elements“. The album shot to #1 on the Canadian iTunes chart and #2 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts globally. Not bad for an artist that just years earlier was performing in coffee shops and open mic nights struggling to get by.



The LA-based artist burst into the public’s attention after she won the Crash the Super Bowl competition, which saw her winning entry, “Message from your Heart”, capturing the imaginations of millions. An offer from Interscope records soon followed but was politely declined as it would mean compromising her own artistic independence. Now, with over one million subscribers and 160 million views on her YouTube channel it’s clear she made the right decision and the singer is now firmly at the forefront of a new generation of independent musicians who can make music without being backed by a major record label.


Her plans to return to Asia will see the songstress play in Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Manila. Kina will be playing alongside opening acts Imaginary Future and Singaporean mercurial talent Gentle Bones, and will be making her way back to the region after her recent tours of Europe and America. With her warm vocals and her exquisite music, Kina is set to delight fans across Asia.



We stole some time out of Kina’s busy schedule to find out how she’s feeling about the impending tour:


This is your first Asian tour since your ‘In Your Arms’ tour. How does it feel to be coming back?

I am so excited! Last time was so amazing–I had so much great food and met so many wonderful people. I can’t wait to be there again!


This is your first tour to Asia with your whole band. How does it compare performing as a group rather than performing solo?

Yes, I can’t wait to get to share my band with everyone! They really add a depth to the music that really helps convey the emotionality of the songs. Plus they’re just the best people! What I’ve learned from playing solo for so many years is how much I love that connection and intimacy with an audience, so that’s something I try to maintain even with full band shows. Also… little aside, this will be my husband’s–Imaginary Future’s–first tour in Asia as well. He’ll be opening up the shows with Gentle Bones.


Your tour will see you play in Jakarta, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Manila. Is there anywhere in particular you’re especially excited to play?

All of them! All these places are so unique in their own ways.


You’ve had over 175 million YouTube views, how important has YouTube been for you in reaching new audiences?

YouTube has been amazing. I struggled for years, playing open mics and bars and coffee shops, to share my music with the world before I stumbled upon YouTube. It changed everything. It connected me with the world.


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Who has been your favorite YouTube artist to collaborate with?

Too hard! They’re all amazing and, to be honest, they’re all some of the best humans I’ve ever met. I feel so grateful for the friendships I’ve made through YouTube.


Across your tour, you’ve been inviting audience members from each show to come on stage and sing “Messages From Your Heart.” How have your fans reacted?

Oh, it’s so fun! I love getting them on stage. I’d say the general reaction is a mixture of excitement and “OH NO WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” Haha. But we have a great time together!


What differences can audiences expect between the 2013 tour and this year’s tour?

More honesty, more emotion, more laughs, more great people sharing the stage with me.


How do you select what to play on tour?

For this tour, I’ve actually made an online survey so my fans in Asia can vote for what songs they want to hear! So the official set list has yet to be created.


What has been your favourite show of all time?

Picking one favorite is too hard, but one that’s always stood out was one of my shows in Amsterdam. I started playing “In Your Arms” and all 800 people started singing along with me at the top of their lungs. It was such a magical and emotional moment for me that I had to stop playing and collect myself before starting over.


How are you ever going to top the incredible clip for “In Your Arms?”

Don’t I wish I knew! Haha. I would love to someday… though I’m not quite sure how I’m going to make that happen yet!


Can you tell us about KinaCon and how the latest edition went?

It went well–lots of great food and great people! KinaCon is an annual event that was started by some of my Street Teamers back in 2010. It’s an awesome event where fans from around the world get together in Los Angeles for 3 days of festivities. On the last day, myself (and usually some family members) attend the banquet dinner where there are performances and speeches and, most importantly, I get a chance to spend some time with everyone.


Ellipsis Live presents The Kina Grannis Elements Tour Asia

  16 September
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