INTERVIEW: We catch up with US artist Kina Grannis

Nov - 19 2014 | no comments

Having spoken with Kina Grannis in the summer, Pop Scoop!  thought it would be great to catch up with the LA-based  indie-pop singer/songwriter while on her UK tour this month. She tells us about about her music inspirations, the importance of social media, using her wedding footage in a music video and much more. 

It’s been a busy year for you. [With your sold out spring mini-tour, the release of your album Elements and playing the UK etc..] What has been the high point?

The current tour has definitely be a highlight. It’s the first time I’ve ever brought the band to Europe and they’ve just been some of the most fun shows we’ve ever played. I love the crowds in Europe… I don’t know what it is about them but they are just so warm and welcoming and energetic, it makes the show even more enjoyable.

What was the first spark that got you going musically?

Ever since I can remember I have loved singing. Something about it has always felt so natural and right to me.

Which music artists/acts are you inspired by?

Imogen Heap, Sigur Ros, Bon Iver…

How do you start writing a song? Does a tune, a harmony, a mood or lyrics come first?

The guitar, melody and lyrics usually come all at once for me–at least in the beginning of a song. It’s a very strange process that I don’t feel in control of at all. I have to just sit with my guitar and let it happen.

Which music artist’s/act’s career path would you ideally want as a model for your own?

I really admire the way Imogen Heap has handled her career. Her life seems really balanced, she’s not tied down to the traditional way of doing things, and I feel like she just does whatever excites her and feel good in the moment. I love the idea of not being tied down to a certain way of doing things and being open to evolving or trying out new things.

If you could collaborate with any contemporary music artist/act/producer, who would you pick?

Imogen Heap or Sigur Ros.

What are your thoughts about the importance of social media for today’s music biz (YouTube, SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)? How do you like to connect with your fans?

It’s so crucial, especially as an independent artist. For someone like myself, my fans are the entire reason I get to do what I love everyday, so it’s so important for me to let them know how grateful I am and involve them as much as possible.

The video for ‘My Dear’ is amazing. What was the idea behind using your wedding footage in the video?

Thank you! It was something that occurred to me very after the fact. We’d had a lot of footage taken at the wedding for our own sake, but I just started feeling like it was something I wanted to share. In making the new album Elements I really tried to bare all of myself and be super honest, so it felt right that this might be a good time for me to share another really special part of my life with everyone.

You’re currently on a UK tour. What does performing live mean to you? Do you prefer live audiences or studio work?

It’s one of the most amazing experiences. Getting to look out into a sea of smiling faces singing along to my words is one of the most incredibly moving things ever. I feel so lucky and honored to get to connect with people in that way. As much as I love being in the studio, nothing quite beats watching your music affect people live.

Do you have any rituals or routines you always do the day of / or right before going on stage?

Lately the band and I have been engaging in free-style rapping before the show. Things get weird.

Is there something you have to have while working in the studio (a mascot, a special drink/food)?

The theme during the making of Elements was green drinks and kind bars. Just healthy little snacks to fuel me through the day. Oh, and I almost forgot tea! My producer, Matt Hales, is from England… this meant we got to break at LEAST three times a day for tea. It was wonderful.

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And now for some Quick-Fire Biographical Trivia Questions. . .

What’s your favourite colour?
Black or grey or pretty colors in nature

And your favourite animal?
Too hard! All of them! And mini dachshunds, and tokay geckos and tiny cute things…

Do you have a pet?
Two cornsnakes. Hubert Cumberdale and Jeremy Fisher

Do you support a team or sports star?
Not much into sports.

What’s your favourite food or meal? Do you usually eat-out, take-out, or cook yourself?
My favorite food ever is sushi. When I’m not on tour we try to eat at home as much as possible.

Favourite film of all time?
Don’t have a favorite of all time, but I’ll say that the one that affected me most at the time of seeing it was Garden State.

First album you ever bought? (Was it a record/cassette tape/CD/digital download?) How old were you? Do you still listen to it?
Ace of Base – Happy Nation

What song do you have on constant repeat at the moment?
I haven’t been listening to much music while I’ve been on the road, sadly! Most of my music intake comes during my workout sessions with my drummer, Darla. She puts on a dance mix and then we jump around for 20 minutes. It’s great.

What’s the last book you finished? What are you reading at the moment?
Just finished Cloud Atlas. Currently reading The Secret History–so hooked!

What’s the last gig/concert/or festival you went to, which you didn’t perform at?
James Blake at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

X-Factor or The Voice?
Haven’t watched enough of either to make that judgment!

Your favourite item of clothing right now?
Fleece-lined hoodie.

Which celebrity, if you met them in person, would you turn into a total, embarrassing fangirl about?
Probably Imogen Heap. My version of fan girl would probably just be me silently crying to myself in awe of her.

What was the first poster you put on your wall as a young teen?
I probably had some Hanson memorabilia somewhere.

What’s your essential, can’t-live-without gadget?
iPhone.

What qualities do you value most in a man or a woman? Are they different?
Same in anyone. I really admire honest, kind, open minded people.

What’s your favourite journey?
Whatever one I’m currently on.

And finally. . . what is your life motto or favourite saying?
I’ve never really had one motto, I just try to stay open and inspired by the world and people around me and keep trying to be the best version of myself that I can.

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