Christina Victoria Grimmie (March 12, 1994 – June 10, 2016) was an American singer and YouTuber. In 2009, she began posting covers of popular songs onto YouTube. After releasing her debut EP, Find Me (2011), her YouTube channel reached one million subscribers. After she reached two million subscribers, she released her debut studio album, With Love (2013).
Grimmie then became a contestant on season six of The Voice, finishing in third place. Adam Levine, her coach on the show, announced in the finale that, regardless of the results, he would sign her to his label 222 Records. Lil Wayne also offered to sign her to his label, Young Money Entertainment. She was signed with Island Records for a short time before being dropped.
Grimmie released her second EP, Side A, in 2016. That same year, she took on an acting role, making her first and only motion-picture appearance in The Matchbreaker. On June 10, 2016, Grimmie was fatally shot while signing autographs following a concert performance at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida.
Side B, a follow up to Side A, was made available on Spotify and iTunes in 2017, and in June 2017, Grimmie's second and final album, All Is Vanity, was released posthumously. In 2019, her YouTube channel reached four million subscribers, although it dropped below four million in 2020, settling at 3.94 million by May 2023.
Life and career
Christina Victoria Grimmie was born to Tina (née Milos) and Albert Grimmie in the Marlton section of Evesham Township, New Jersey, on March 12, 1994. Her mother worked as a receptionist until she was diagnosed with breast cancer; her father worked at Verizon Communications as of 2014. She had an older brother, Marcus (who served as Christina's road manager during her performances). Grimmie was of Italian and Romanian descent and grew up in Marlton, New Jersey, where she attended Bethel Baptist Christian School, Marlton Middle School, and Cherokee High School. Her father noticed Grimmie's talent for singing when she was six years old, and she started playing the piano at age 10. Despite having received piano lessons, Grimmie said she played by ear.
2009–2010: YouTube recognition and discovery
Grimmie began posting videos to her YouTube channel in 2009 at age 15, under the username of zeldaxlove64. Grimmie stated that she began a musical YouTube channel so that people could connect with her music, and because her friend persuaded her to post her videos on the popular video-sharing website. The first video she uploaded was a cover of Hannah Montana's "Don't Wanna Be Torn". She first earned recognition for her cover of Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." in August 2009. Grimmie's covers first gained attention and stood out due to her voice, personality, and interpretations of well-known songs.
Grimmie was homeschooled for her junior year of high school in 2010. That same year, she covered Nelly's "Just a Dream" with fellow YouTubers Sam Tsui and Kurt Hugo Schneider in a video which received more than 190 million views over the course of ten years. Later, it also became available on iTunes and Spotify. In 2011, she placed No. 2 in the MyYouTube competition, behind Selena Gomez. As her popularity grew on YouTube, Grimmie was discovered in 2011 by Gomez's mother, Mandy Teefey; Teefey and her husband Brian soon became Grimmie's managers.
2011: Find Me
Grimmie performed in the UNICEF charity concert, and also performed backup vocals for Selena Gomez & the Scene; she appeared on the first DigiTour in 2011, which was created specifically for YouTube artists. Gomez became her mentor. Grimmie appeared on the Billboard Social 50; she also opened for Selena Gomez & the Scene, Allstar Weekend and the Jonas Brothers during the Concert of Hope. She toured for six weeks with Selena Gomez & the Scene opening for them in the We Own the Night Tour.
She released an EP entitled Find Me, on June 14, 2011. The album was released independently and debuted at number 35 on the Billboard 200 chart in the US. Her debut single "Advice" was released to Radio Disney on June 11, with the music video, directed by Sean Babas, being released on July 19 on her YouTube channel. She appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show with fellow YouTuber Tyler Ward, performing a cover to Lil Wayne's "How to Love"; the episode aired on October 10, 2011.
On November 20, 2011, Grimmie performed at the 39th American Music Awards of 2011 pre-show alongside Taio Cruz to a special rendition of "Higher" and also won her first award. She also performed her song "Not Fragile" at the Coca-Cola Red Carpet Show along with Selena Gomez & the Scene. She and the band then appeared together in a commercial for Xbox's Kinect. Grimmie also appeared in a commercial for Doritos that same month. Grimmie was the special musical guest performing her hit song "Advice" on Disney Channel's So Random!, which premiered on December 11, 2011.
2012–2013: With Love
In January 2012, Grimmie moved to Los Angeles to pursue her singing career; she was signed in April to Creative Artists Agency. On Disney.com, she starred in the web show Power Up: with Christina Grimmie, which ran from March 29, 2012, until June 5, 2012. She also revealed that she would be working with a new band, Rising Tide, a teen group originally from her hometown area in New Jersey. A stripped version of Grimmie's original song "Find Me" was released on ITunes in June 2012, and reached the front page later in July. Though Grimmie's channel mostly focused on covers and original music, she also started pursuing other interests. By April 2013, Grimmie's channel had more than 375 million views and two million subscribers. She then opened for Gomez during the North American leg of her Stars Dance Tour, performing songs from her debut album With Love, which was released on August 6, 2013. On October 3, her music video for "Tell My Mama" was given its exclusive premiere on Billboard.com. Grimmie said the video is "about a guy that I start liking in school, and he's sort of a dangerous kid, and I am the type of girl that tells my mom about everything." In January 2014, Grimmie appeared on an episode of the podcast Shane and Friends; Dawson was a friend of Grimmie's.
2014: The Voice
Grimmie auditioned for season 6 of NBC's singing competition, The Voice, as revealed on her Facebook page. During the Blind Auditions, she performed Miley Cyrus' hit song "Wrecking Ball". All four coaches, Adam Levine, Usher, Shakira, and Blake Shelton, "turned their chairs" for her. She opted for Adam Levine after he told her that she had the potential to be a "huge star" due to her voice and stage presence. Selena Gomez supported Grimmie during her audition, and Justin Bieber, an artist Grimmie had frequently covered on YouTube, supported her during the finale. She finished in 3rd place, behind winner Josh Kaufman and runner-up Jake Worthington. Host Carson Daly later said he was "shocked" Grimmie did not win. All of Grimmie's performances were released on iTunes and Spotify as studio versions.
2014–2016: Post-The Voice and major label debut
During the competition, Grimmie's coach Adam expressed his desire to sign her to his record label, 222 Records; Lil Wayne also showed interest in signing her to Young Money Entertainment. She ultimately chose to sign with Island Records. She toured with previous contestants of The Voice, including season 5 winner Tessanne Chin, runner-up Jacquie Lee, Will Champlin, season 1 runner-up Dia Frampton, season 6 winner Josh Kaufman, runner-up Jake Worthington, and fellow season 6 contestants Kristen Merlin and Jake Barker. The Voice Summer tour started on June 21, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas. She was writing and recording music for her sophomore album, her third major release, and first release since being signed to a label. The lead single was expected to be released in July 2014, with the album following later in the year. Grimmie announced via Facebook that filming for the lyric video for the single started on July 6, 2014.
On July 11, she announced that her new single would be called "Must Be Love". On July 15, 2014, she announced via a live stream that the song would be released on July 31. "Must Be Love" was produced by Elof Loelv and recorded at ZAC Recording in Atlanta, Georgia.
In February 2015, Grimmie collaborated with Dove Cameron and made a music video for "What A Girl Is", an original song from Cameron's show Liv and Maddie. The music video was released on Grimmie's channel and Disney's YouTube channel. It was also promoted on the official channel. On March 4, 2015, Grimmie announced that she had been dropped from Island Records and that she was working on a new album set to be released in late 2015. The new single from the album, "Cliché", was released on March 16, 2015. On April 27, Grimmie released her second single, "Stay with Me", a collaboration with Diamond Eyes, which climbed to No. 5 on the iTunes Electronic Charts. The song also was included on 2015 UKF Dubstep, an album showcasing the top dubstep songs of the year. She was a contestant in the iHeartRadio/Macy's Rising Star Contest. On May 27, 2015, Grimmie was revealed as the winner of the contest, securing her spot to open the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival in September.
On July 2, 2015, she released her third single, "Shrug". In September 2015, she was one of 16 international artists, including Paul McCartney, to record the charity single "Love Song to the Earth", which raises climate change awareness. Grimmie returned to The Voice for season 9, to promote Kohl's fashion.
On February 21, 2016, Grimmie released her second EP, titled Side A, which consisted of four songs. Grimmie said Side B was likely to follow. She had hoped to release a second full-length album by the end of the year.
2016–2022: Posthumous releases
Grimmie had made a four-part video series for Side A comprising "The Ballad of Jessica Blue"; in July 2016, Brian Teefey announced that the videos would debut via Billboard then be featured on her YouTube channel. The first video, for the song "Snow White", debuted on August 11. The second video, for "Anybody's You", debuted on August 18. "Deception" debuted on August 25; "Without Him" on September 1.
Grimmie made her motion picture acting debut in The Matchbreaker, directed by Caleb Vetter. The film was released in selected theaters in October 2016 and released digitally in December.
Grimmie received her only Teen Choice Award in 2016, winning posthumously for Choice Web Star: Music. It was her third such nomination. The televised ceremony caused backlash among her fans, who said her name was used to promote the show, but never mentioned during the broadcast despite the inclusion of a tribute to victims of gun violence. Her fans also called out the Emmys for excluding Grimmie from their memoriam.
On February 17, 2017, Grimmie's family released the posthumous single "Invisible". "Invisible" is part of Grimmie's EP Side B, which was released on April 21, 2017. Following the release of Side B, Grimmie's first posthumous album, All Is Vanity, was released on June 9, 2017. On May 11, 2018, Grimmie's family released another single, "Little Girl", which Grimmie wrote and recorded to support her mother as she battled breast cancer. On September 15, 2020, Grimmie's family released her original song "Cry Wolf". In 2021, Grimmie's family released her original song "Back to Life", along with 3 remixes.
In 2022, "Rule the World" completed as a duet with vocals by Ryan Brown was released.