Kina Grannis started her career back in 2005 with her self-released album Sincerely Me. Today Kina has has amassed an intensely loyal online following, with her YouTube channel receiving over 150 millions views to date. With the release of Kina’s sophomore album - with all tracks written by Kina herself - FAULT sat down with the songstress to find out what it’s like to be part of a new wave of internet-propelled musicians.
FAULT: Does it annoy you when people refer to you as a YouTube celebrity when in fact you had released music and had record deal offers years before you had even created your account?
Kina: Yes sometimes it can be frustrating to be only known for one step of the many stairs of my career but then I understand that YouTube is a giant part of my career. As a platform it has been so good to me and allowed me to do so much that while it can be annoying that my early career is sometimes glossed over, I guess that comes with the territory.
What would you say was your biggest fear as an artist and when you look a few years down the line what do you just not want to happen to your music?
As a musician I think the biggest struggle is getting too caught up in listening to what people want versus what you naturally want to create. That’s something I struggle with in the YouTube world. I constantly read people’s comments and people have a lot of opinions which are good to hear but I want to make sure that for me I keep making music for myself and what inspires me and not get tainted by what’s big and cool.
Do you actually read the comments? Many say you should never read news about yourself, so on YouTube where there is and endless stream of good and bad opinions, it must be hard.
I try not to but I inevitably do and it’s a crazy thing. For the most part it’s just like Christmas morning and it’s so exciting but then there’s that one comment that’s just so devastating that it ruins your day and I remember that comment and the way it makes me feel is why I’m not supposed to read too far into every comment.
You have a lot of young fans and like any performer while you haven’t asked to be a role model, people still look up to you. As your fan base continues to grow, do you find yourself being extra cautious about what you say and do?
It’s definitely a weird thing, and when you realise it’s happened it’s like oh! I better be a good person all the time but I haven’t felt too much crazy pressure because I don’t live a crazy life. For the most part I’m doing things pretty safe but it is something you think about as I want to make sure I’m putting out a good image so I can make sure people are putting out the best image of themselves also.
Is it fair to have that pressure on you when really your job is only to be an entertainer and not a role model to thousands of young people?
It’s an interesting question, I don’t know if it’s fair or not but it’s just how it is so I’ve just gone with it and I have to be ok with that.
Who did you look up to for musical inspiration when you were young?
I think the first one for me what James Taylor, my dad listened to a lot of his music so I think that’s where I found my love for the acoustic guitar and another was a Belgian band called K’s Choice. They really showed me how powerful music can be and that’s something I’ve always strived for in my music – to make it important.
When you look at your career 10 years down the line, what is the long-term goal?
I’ve always been afraid of concrete goals as I’m afraid of not reaching them. I’ve always kept the mind-set of I want to make the best music I can and share it with as many people as possible. And I want to keep growing and doing greater and better things.
What is your FAULT?
I think one of my FAULTs is that I’m very indecisive. I just can’t make decisions.
Words and Photography: Miles Holder