Arts & Entertainment

Music Spotlight & Free MP3: Kina Grannis

In case you haven’t heard, the power of the Internet really is something to be marveled at. Let me explain. Today’s free MP3 and artist spotlight zooms in on the gentle folk-rock harmonies of “Heart & Mind,” off 2011’s “Stairwells” (One Haven) by singer/songwriter Kina Grannis, someone I’d never have heard of but for YouTube, the Super Bowl and an online contest involving Doritos.

After pumping out three self-released EPs, Grannis moved her music onto YouTube’s cloud, made her first music video and entered (and won) Dorito’s 2007 “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. This led to a metric crap-ton of subsequent videos on her increasingly popular YouTube channel, a massive Twitter following, a street team, the airing of her video for “Message From Your Heart” during the Super Bowl, and a record deal with Interscope.

Since then, Grannis has dumped the big label, self-funded and released three versions of “Stairwells,” charted on Billboard’s Top 200 and iTunes’ Pop Chart, released a new music video for her single “Valentine” (which was featured on Yahoo! Music and snagged over 7 million views on YouTube) and won anothercontest: Sirius Radio’s Coffee House Singer/Songwriter Discovery of 2010.

“One of the most amazing things that came out of the whole experience was the relationship that formed between me and my supporters online,” Grannis said in a press release.

Getting a bit more analog with her fans, Grannis earned her road warrior stripes by logging most of 2010 on tour, headlining sold-out shows at Los Angeles’ Troubadour and El Rey Theatre, as well as at New York’s Highline Ballroom. She also slotted a gig on 2010’s Lilith Fair, sharing airspace with Metric, Mary J. Blige and Sarah McLachlan.

Not bad for a girl with a guitar and a webcam. Sure, she didn’t reap Bieber-status rewards from her ‘Net-working, but then she’s not that kind of an overproduced musical commodity. Grannis’ music tends more toward the understated, wistful girl-with-a-song-and-a-broken-heart variety. Have a listen to “Heart & Mind,” streaming below. You can also nab a copy for yourself by right-clicking on the song title and selecting “Save link as…”

Listen to “Heart & Mind” by Kina Grannis:
Heart & Mind (mp3)

“I feel so fortunate to have been born at a time when there are so many different tools available to artists,” Grannis added in the press release. “It’s not that they allow you to make it on your own, it’s that they allow you to find the people who believe in you and support you, and together, really do something special.”

Want to join the digital legions of People With Who Believe In Grannis? Here’s her website (where you can also pick up a copy of “Stairwells”), Facebook page,MySpaceTwitter feed and the almighty YouTube channel that launched her career. You’d best get started on that. At the rate things are going, Oprah will coax Grannis off the ‘Net and onto her OWN network, and that’ll be it for online face time with our favorite Internet sensation.

About the author

Melissa Henderson

With a "See ya, hate to be ya" to the giant parking lot that is Los Angeles, Melissa Henderson sold the car, stuffed her husband into a suitcase and moved back home to Montreal, Canada, where they both now happily roam the streets by foot. She is also Very Busy not working on several unfinished novels.

Trained in journalism and linguistics at UCLA, Melissa has worked as a journalist and editor (news and magazine) since 2001. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Brand X, Up! Magazine, Soundspike and Greater Long Beach, among other publications.