– This Week In Music – Kina Grannis – Singer-Songwriter

In this episode of This Week In Music, Singer-songwriter Kina Grannis and her manager Jonathan Kalter join Ian in the studio to offer insight into how Kina uses the Web to build a loyal fan base. She’s one of the most subscribed-to artists on YouTube with more than 400 thousand subscribers and 70M total video views. She’s used her popularity online to sell out shows around the world, from Largo here in LA to two shows at Highline Ballroom in NYC to around the world. 00:26 – “Valentine” by Kina Grannis 03:00 – How Kina got her start in music 05:45 – Kina describes writing and submitting “Message from your heart” and submitting it to Doritos “Crash The Super Bowl” contest. 08:00 – “Did you have another on-line presence prior to the Super Bowl ad?” 16:50 – Feeling an urgency to get an album out for your fans and deciding not to sign with Interscope. 23:08 – How does YouTube and other social media outlets come in to play in building your fan base? 29:40 – What tools are useful for artists online? 30:32 – Jonathan Kalter on walking away from a major label deal, and the excitement and struggles of doing so. 35:26 – Discussing adding the help of a team. 38:49 – How do we reach people that aren’t online? 40:18 – Is there a trailblazer in front of you or are you blazing a trail? 41:25 – Are there any techniques that you would share that other artists could adopt?

25 Comments

  • It’s great to see an interview of Kina getting into the details of her career and to hear from Jon’s perspective to see what goes on at the business end. It has made me appreciate her more for not only creating beautiful music, but understanding how much hard work she puts into the other aspects of being a modern musician. Even when speaking seriously, Kina is able to stay sweet and cute with her talky hands =P

  • I honestly believe that Kina will have a long and successful career because she is the real deal. She’s talented and she’s smart and clearly her manager knows what he is talking about. Sounds like she has a very good team working with her. Also, leaving Interscope was a brave decision, and I actually think that often independent artists make for better artists because they are able to stay true to their own vision and not compromise for the sake of commercial success.

  • Can relate to what was discussed around 38 minutes about the web world not being understood by the offline world! I totally hear that all the time. It’s like people think this is all ‘pretend’ or something when it is a bonafide media stream, just like TV, just like newsprint press etc. Crazy! It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one encountering this phenomena. Again, it’s all those ‘old school’ people still running the biz who really are not clued in to what’s ‘next’ in the evolution of media.

  • Would love to hear follow up on how Kina navigates the waters regarding doing covers. Since she is doing her own version and synch is involved, does she get a license to do each cover from HFA? I have hesitated to do covers due to the fact that the licenses are costly for streaming and some pub co’s have no deal w/ YouTube. How can one safely do a cover w/o getting a strike and not paying the hefty license fees associated w/ licensing from HFA etc?

  • It was really interesting to hear about the exact details about how Kina created this niche for herself in music. Her manager also seems to be a really smart guy that knows exactly how to market her while maintaining the sense of personal communication that Kina’s developed with her audience.

  • Maybe the best Kina interview I´ve seen. Well-thought questions. Jon seems a really smart guy. And Kina… well she is Kina. I´m so impressed by her combination of pure talent, lovely personality, sincereness and the level of motivation. Everyone should realize she works as hard or even harder for her success than any other artist out there. Nothing has come to her for free.

  • <3 Agreed, this is my favorite interview so far. I really liked the in depth history and series of questions. I am ALWAYS impressed that Kina will remember who we are at every show, even if it's been a little while. We love the music, but she definitely brings so much more to the table.

  • I have been following Kina on YT since the Digg video. I followed her through this whole story. Kina early success on YT with the contest and the Digg video was the exception but her story has been repeated many times on Youtube. Covers is how she built her audience like many on Youtube. The difference in Kina is that her original music was also very good. Also, Kina had it together business wise faster than most on Youtube most likely because of earlier experience releasing EPs.

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