Interview w/ Kina Grannis

Written by on December 9, 2014

Kina Grannis is coming to Portland! Yesterday I had a chat with Kina about her tour, the possibility of future collaborations with husband and tourmate Imaginary Future, her devoted fan base, and more. Read the interview, check out her YouTube channel, come to the show, and become a Kinerd.

***Imaginary Future opens for Kina tomorrow night (12/9/14) at the Star Theater. The show is all ages and ticket info can be found at ***

A = Anna Leuning

K= Kina Grannis

A: Thanks for taking the time before your show in Portland!

How’s the tour going so far? You’re touring with your husband, Imaginary Future, how’s it going so far? Is touring together the best thing ever?

K: Yeah, it’s been just so fun. Obviously, having him on the road with me just makes everything better and the band we’re travelling with and our tour manager are just the best people so we’ve just been having so much fun.

A: That’s so good to hear, I mean you guys collaborate a lot so I’m sure having the both of you on tour for both of your sets is kind of nice because you don’t have to substitute anything and your fans of course love it.

K: Yeah, that definitely helps.

A: Are you guys planning on forming an official duo of any kind in the future?

K: I mean it’s something that we’ve always kind of toyed around with the idea of doing, at the moment I think we’re just kind of so focused on our own things it’s not in the immediate future but I think that it is something that we would both like to do at some point.

A: Yeah, I mean, you guys sound so perfect together.

K: (laughs) Aw, thanks.

A: You’re welcome! I’m a fan of both of you and I know a lot of your fans through social media, you have a really, really devoted fan base, they’re really awesome you have a name for them, they’re called the Kinerds—how did you build such a devoted fanbase and where did that name come from?

K: It started quite some time ago. I started posting things on YouTube, I think it was seven years ago for a contest and I was just trying to give people something back in return for voting everyday and I didn’t really know that there was a community there on Youtube I just kind of thought of it like a video hosting site, and throughout the course of that contest people started showing up and kind of living on my website. I had this little chat room there and people would talk to each other and I got to know them and slowly it just kind of formed very organically and everyone kind of knew each other and eventually they named themselves Kinerds. I think kind of having to do with me being somewhat nerdy. In the vein of my awkwardness, they named themselves Kinerds and they’re just the best people ever and so over the course of time it has just built and built around this core that started back about seven years ago, they’re pretty amazing people.

A: Yeah—like I said, I know a lot of them through social media through Youtube like, you said, that community that’s there. They sent me a lot of questions to ask you through Twitter and Facebook.

K: Oh, awesome!

A: So, I thought I would kind of let them lead the interview—so, first question was what is the most rewarding part of touring?

K: Oh, man. I guess I would say two things. One, would be when, at the meet and greets, I hear something that someone shares with me that’s like really powerful or how my music has helped them get through something just because for me music has been really helpful and powerful in my life, so to hear that my music could be there for someone else is really, really moving.

I think my other favorite part of tour is just looking out on a crowd and seeing people happy and seeing people sing along it’s just the craziest thing, I mean I feel so lucky and so happy and it is still just a surreal thing to see.

A: What’s your favorite kind of audience?

K: My favorite kind of audience is an audience that knows when to be loud and when to be quiet. (laughs) And generally, I have great audiences, um but you know you want an attentive audience that’s listening and that cares obviously but you also want an audience that will laugh with you and that can be a little silly and make some noise and stuff like that so really it’s just an audience that you feel connected with. Like, sometimes if it is too quiet or too loud there is a disconnect—you feel like they’re either bored and they don’t care or they’re not listening so when they feel engaged and they feel warm and they’re giving you energy back that’s when it’s the absolute best.

A: So do you try to make that connection through banter or through focusing more on the music rather than engaging the audiences or talking or telling stories.

K: I have found, and I don’t know if this is because I come from this YouTube background where people really know me as a person, that it does help when I try to talk a little bit more and remind them “this isn’t a computer screen,” I’m not just sitting here playing songs, I’m a person and I want to connect with you too. I think that it tends to help when they realize “oh, she’s human and she’s kind of awkward, I guess we’re all okay.” (laughs)

A: It makes it so much more fun to be a part of the audience too when you’re feeling like I’m not just listening to the record I’m getting to know you and I’m sharing like a unique moment—that’s what a show is, it’s nice.

K: Well I hope so! (laughs) I hope people aren’t just like, “Please stop talking.”

A: “We came for the music, we don’t want to hear your stories.”

Both laugh.

A: Alright, so a few weeks ago I actually interviewed Imaginary Future, Jesse, your husband and the Kinerds asked me to ask him, several of them, asked me to ask him if he had ever considered shaving off his beard, so I was wondering what you thought of that suggestion.

K: (laughs) Well, he did once a long time ago and he picked me up from the airport and I kind of gave him this look of like uhhm who are you? (laughs) I mean, I don’t think it is anything he has the desire to do any time in the near future and I don’t really, I mean I like his beard and it’s not really a topic of conversation although I’m sure there might be a day someday when he’s like, “you know, I don’t think I need a beard anymore.”

A: It’s a pretty silly question, I’m sorry to ask. On a more serious note, can you tell me about your experience remixing your song the song, “The Fire”? It sounds incredible! You used fireworks?

K: Oh, cool, yeah so I did that with Fresh Big Mouf and he is just a genius and this was my third time working with him actually, I did my “Royals” cover with him and we did “Happy” and we did a Supremes song and for some reason I had this thing in my head that I needed him to Beat Scout “The Fire” it just seemed very fitting. Then this opportunity came along before I had the opportunity to approach him when he was basically like what if we remix “The Fire”? And I was like, well yes, I was thinking that same thing. So it was his idea to do it all with fireworks and explosions and stuff and I think he did such a great job I love his creativity with stuff like that.

A: Yeah, his work on your cover of “Royals” was really cool also. I didn’t draw the connection that that was the same person at all so I feel sort of silly now (laughs). Did you guys know ahead of time that you would be, not featured on The Grammys, but last year on The Grammys they showed the video of your cover when they announced Lorde’s song.

K: Yeah, that was the weirdest thing ever. I had zero idea, I had not been alerted whatsoever. I had wanted to watch The Grammys that night but I was out and I couldn’t for whatever reason and then all of sudden my phone’s blowing up and I’m getting all these texts with the word “Grammys” and I’m like what, what are you talking about? (laughs) I’m like, “this doesn’t make any sense!” And they’re all like, you were just on The Grammys, I just saw you! Um, so I had no idea but it was a very fun surprise.

A: Yeah I freaked out when I saw it because I was like wait what—because it made me think that you were nominated but it was just very confusing.

K: (laughs) Yeah, I know it was kind of confusing! I think a lot of people were like, “I’m so proud of you for winning a Grammy” and I’m like well, not quite but it was cool. (Both laugh).

A: Like, “you saw me on The Grammys? I am on my couch at home… how did this happen?”

K: (laughs) Right, exactly.

A: That’s fantastic; well it was a cool surprise anyways.

K: Definitely.

A: I have one last question. I have been curious about this for a while, I’ve been following your music for quite a few years now, and I think everyone who follows you on social media knows that you are you’re really talented at finding and then holding cute lizards and other tiny things. (Both laugh) I just wanted to know how do you do that? Are you related to a Disney princess… Or do you carry treats…?

K: (laughs) No, ever since I was really little, it’s just been something that I love to do. So on the one hand I think that just the practice, like I’ve caught hundreds and hundreds of lizards in my life, but I also think that I’m looking for them you know? I’m not thinking about it but my eyes are just searching for any living thing and then once I find a living thing it’s like can I hold that living thing? (both laugh). But I just think it is in my consciousness more so my advice to any people that want to hold more animals is just look for them more and try to catch every one you see. (both laugh) someday it will work.

A: That’s fantastic advice—do you name the animals?

K: No, I’m not really a namer. I just hold it and kiss it and then let it go.

A: (both laugh) Well that’s good too! Thank you so much, I’m looking forward to your show in Portland!

K: Me too!

A: Well thanks again, have a good day, have a good show!

K: Thanks!


Remix of her single “The Fire” w/ Fresh Big Mouf:






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