10 things you should know about Kina Grannis

Kina Grannis.Contributed

Singer-songwriter Kina Grannis is one of the many recording artists to emerge courtesy of YouTube. Here’s 10 things about Grannis, 32, who will perform Monday, August 6 at Cat’s Cradle.

1. Grannis touches down at the Super Bowl

Grannis expertly utilized YouTube in order to enter and win the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest in 2008. The Southern California native’s video of the catchy “Message From Your Heart” enabled Grannis to perform at the big game and she was awarded a recording contract with Interscope.

2. Autonomy Trumps the corporate zone

The major label deal was spurned so Grannis could go the independent route. “I know (Interscope is) a giant, successful label,” Grannis told the Orange County Register in 2011. “I started meeting with them and their plan was something like, ‘OK, write a new album.’ For me, I already had an album written. Songwriting is something that’s super personal. The idea of sitting in a room with a stranger and trying craft a hit doesn’t appeal to me at all.”

3. Solo is the way to go

It was the correct move since Grannis prefers to write by her lonesome. There was no room for hit-makers on either of her albums, 2010’s “Stairwells” and 2014’s “Elements.” All 25 songs were crafted solely by Grannis.

4. The Grannis sound

Much of Grannis’ material is soothing, earnest and occasionally poignant. Grannis often recalls such sensitive singer-songwriters as Christina Perri and Tegan and Sara.

5. Holding court at the Ted

Grannis spoke at a TEDx event five years ago in Hollywood and the topic was “Finding Community through the Internet.” Grannis opened up about her desire to be a recording artist and how she effectively utilized YouTube.

6. Detained in Southeast Asia

It’s every traveler’s nightmare, being detained. Grannis took a page out of the classic film, “The Year of Living Dangerously.” While touring Southeast Asia in 2015, she and her traveling party were detained for three months due to complications with a work visa before being released. At the time she wrote that, “It will have all been for nothing — as if I’d been simply robbed of three months of my life.”

7. The songsmith is often inspired

Grannis writes constantly. Even while being detained in Jakarta, she crafted a number of songs, including two, “California” and “For Now.”

8. Grannis gives back

After her mother was diagnosed with blood cancer, Grannis decided to work with the Leukemia and Lymphona society. “The work that these charities do is incredible and it feels amazing to give back as much as I can,” Grannis told Arcadia magazine in 2014.

9. Love is Grannis’ greatest inspiration

Grannis and Jesse Epstein, her high school sweetheart and frequent collaborator, married in 2013. Epstein is a singer-songwriter in his own right. He performs as Imaginary Future and will open the Cat’s Cradle show.

10. And the winner is…

Grannis captured the O award for Best Web-born Artist at the 2011 MTV Music Awards. “I’m crying a little,” Grannis said via Facebook. “Thank you all for making everything possible.”

Kina Grannis with Imaginary Future

When: Monday, August 6, 8 p.m.
Where: Cat’s Cradle, 300 E. Main street, Carrboro
Tickets: $22.50 in advance; $25 day of show.
More information: 919-967-9053, www.catscradle.com

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