ho hey!

behind the video: sound of silence
(sept. 2009)

one thing my old apartment had was a teeny sauna. one thing my old apartment did NOT have was a closet. therefore, the saunlet was born. i didn’t actually call it a saunlet (sauna + closet), but that’s what it became. i never got the chance to use the sauna as a sauna, however i WAS fortunate enough to sit inside it once and shoot this video before it got completely filled to the brim with junk.

i’ve always been one to gravitate toward dark, melancholy, melodic music chock-full of harmonies, so of course i love this song. although i’m willing to bet the majority of the world also does, regardless of their moody or not moody musical taste, because it’s just that good. this was one of those instances where i wished i could have cloned myself and been all of them at once to fully feel how magical it is to sing these harmonies. i had to settle with layering on harmonies after the fact. it was still fun, but not as fun as being three singing kinas at once.

i recall slowly feeling like i was running out of oxygen during the shooting of this video, but it was very worth it. although maybe that explains why shortly after shooting the shout outs i very clumsily tripped on the lamp i was using and shattered it all over the floor. oxygen-deprived kina ftw!

anyway, it’s always been a favorite of mine, and that’s why i ended up putting a studio-recorded version on the re-release of my album Stairwells. you can check it out on iTunes below!


happy thursday, all! <3 kina

behind the video – white christmas

white christmas
(dec. 2009)

christmas time is probably my favorite time of the year. when my family gets together the rest of the world temporarily disappears… for a couple of weeks it’s just family time, being weirdos, eating food, singing, staying up late–nothing is better :)

my sisters and i (younger sister emi on left, older sister misa on right) have been singing together since forever. it’s what kept us entertained growing up while doing the dishes, long road trips, cleaning our rooms, etc, so any chance to sing with them is a happy time. and anytime not singing with them is also a happy time… just a much weirder looking happy time (see outtakes. and that’s the edited version! :/ )

the snow that starts falling in this video is thanks to my mother, known to many as “mama g.” she tore up toilet paper and enlisted my aunt to assist in the snow storm. she’s probably the most creative human in the world.

behind us is her collection of nutcrackers. some are cute. some are really scary. some apparently speak in tiny squeaky voices (see outtakes). they are a staple in grannis household christmas decor.

anyway, it is christmas eve where i am and i’m wishing you all the happiest of holidays! know that i am thinking of you all amidst my crazy family time and feel so grateful i am to have you in my life. here’s to happiness and health and bringing in the new year right! <3 now i'm off to go assist my mother in christmas eve dinner preparations before i get in trouble... all the best, kina p.s. i have never in my life experienced a "white christmas"--darn southern california!!

the christmas song

featuring the lovely joseph vincent!

behind the video: back to december – taylor swift cover

it seemed like an appropriate month to share this video! this cover dates back to october 2010. i remember a few things about this video… for one, i was perched precariously atop my staircase. thankfully this song didn’t require more rocking out, or that could made for a bad situation. two, it felt really natural. sometimes you really need to work with a cover to make it feel good, but this one was just easy and comfy and quite lovely to do.

some tidbits:

– i don’t consider myself to be a particularly jumpy person, but apparently i’m capable of mistaking my hair for an intruder. i do remember being genuinely freaked out in that moment.

– i feature some fun characters at the end of this video as my “halloween special”. oh the fun i had when i had more time on my hands! here’s a little introduction to them:

hammy: a hammerhead puppet that i fell in love with at disney sea in tokyo. how can you not love that face.

teeny bear: the teddy bear i had since i was a baby. isn’t he just the best?! in my mind he is one of the kindest sweetest people (yes) i know.

yay hat (making up teeny’s “cone”): i made this “yay hat” for the online release party i held the night released my album stairwells. it’s become somewhat of a staple in kina-related celebrations.

domo: who doesn’t love domo? this one was gifted by an awesome street teamer of mine :)

my pick: the orange (.60mm) dunlop! it’s always been my pick of choice… just feels so right.

mr. breadman: another gift from another awesome street teamer. when i first received it i mistook it for an actual bread roll and may or may not have attempted to take a bite out of him. yeah. NOT edible. but very very cute!

home – phillip phillips

behind the video: message from your heart

happy thanksgiving! i can’t tell you how grateful i am to have the opportunity to share my music with all of you lovely people. last week was my 5-year anniversary of sharing my music on youtube, so it only seemed right to choose “message from your heart” this week, the very first video i ever made.

at the time, i was living in austin, tx and pursuing music after graduating from the university of southern california. it was my first taste of getting to really identify as an artist and spend all of my time focusing on music. i was gigging every chance i could, between open mics, coffee shops, cafes and night clubs. i generally stayed up until around 4am and slept in until an embarrassing hour. for the most part i had no idea what i was doing or what my plan was, but the one constant was that i spent a LOT of time alone in my bedroom playing music.

it started out like any other night, alone and delirious and bored and… hey. my computer has a camera on it? maybe i should sing it a song? oh, maybe i should animate a little dancing heart? maybe i should become a crazy person and stay up until 8am editing a video for no reason whatsoever?

that’s basically how it went. purely for my own entertainment. but once 8am rolled around i had this incredible urge to share it, so i started a youtube channel, uploaded it to a private setting, sent a link to my family, and fell asleep. the responses didn’t come right away, so i started getting really uncomfortable and embarrassed and kind of wanted to go hide forever, but eventually they came in, and i guess they were positive (or neutral) enough for me to feel ok with it living there. i still had zero intention of ever sharing it with the public.

soon after, i caught wind of a contest called “doritos crash the super bowl.” all you needed to enter was an original song and video. i entered “message” and promptly forgot about it. a couple weeks later i got a call from the lovely people of doritos notifying me that i’d made it into the top 10 finalists. i was shocked! and so it began, the beginning of what would spark everything i’d accomplish in the next 5 years. i had to get people to vote everyday, so i started a campaign called “two weeks for kina” where i posted a video every day in exchange for people’s votes. i made it into the final round, and “two weeks” turned into two months of daily videos and sleeplessness and insanity. i never expected more than friends and family and a few nice strangers to get behind it… but then things started changing. the most incredible community of amazing and wonderful humans from around the world began to form around my videos and blogs (or “bla(h)gs, as i liked to call them). they became my family. the family grew and grew and eventually they named themselves “kinerds,” created “kination,” and all the while helped spread the word about my music and in general make my life a much happier place. then, one fine super bowl afternoon, my music video aired on tv in front of 97 million people and i was signed to interscope records. i was too sleep-deprived and adrenaline-filled at this point to register any of this, but i knew that something was changing, and from that point forward my life was going to be about music.

to make a long story short, i ended up leaving the label to make my music on my own. we had different plans for my music, and thanks to the new found support from all of you lovely people of the internet, i had the confidence to move forward with my vision on my own (though i wasn’t really “on my own” after all. kinerds ftw!)

i will never understand how i got so lucky, how this little video changed my whole life and brought so many incredible people into my world, how i stumbled upon such an amazing way to connect with people through youtube, how so many people have chosen to support me and my music and have allowed me share my music and my words and tour around the world. it’s madness.

this thanksgiving, i’m giving a special thanks to the little video that started it all AND most importantly to all of you who’ve made every step possible.

i am thankful for you <3 kina some tid bits about the video: - the heart: i cut the heart out of card stock, glued a tube of card stock to the back of it, inserted the tube through a background piece of card stock and then twisted it from the back to make it beat. go heart! - the tree painting: one of my best friends from high school, tina toosky (an awesome artist and now doctor!!), painted this for me years and years ago. it's actually based off of my song "next time" from my first album "sincerely, me." i love it very much. (the painting, not the song. not that i don't care about the song. err) - the guitar in the corner of the room: a little classical guitar i bought while traveling in costa rica. i wrote my song "cambridge" on it while i was there. - the keyboard in the corner of the room: i was borrowing this from a friend and wrote "stars falling down" on it with a crazy choir sample setting. - hippety heart: this is a shirt my mom designed for a dentist back in the day (she's a graphic designer), but growing up my sisters and i pretty much lived in this shirt. my mom also made up a song called "hippety heart," sung to the tune of "winnie the pooh". you can see video of my sisters and i singing it here:

Behind The Video: Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen Cover

Another vintage KG video, this one dates back to July of 2008! I first fell in love with this song when I heard the Rufus Wainwright version, then a friend introduced me to the Jeff Buckley version and I fell in love all over again. Both are amazing renditions of an already amazing song–hats off to Mr. Cohen for his incredible songwriting.

I believe I shot this video days after moving into my old apartment. I’m sitting on a bed frame with no mattress in it. Wasn’t the comfiest I’ve ever been. The song has 7 verses but I opted for a 5-verse version, singing only my 5 favorite verses (the first 5). In a way this helped me connect to the song better by limiting it to the verses that moved me most… and it also helped in that there were 5 billion words to learn and internalize and not mess up and it was a disgustingly hot summer day in LA and I could deal with having 2 less verses to memorize :) Heat and wordiness aside, singing this song is just the best. So conducive to just letting all that emotion out. It felt great.

Also, I have zero recollection of where that WALL-E toy in the shout outs came from or what ever became of it. RIP WALL-E toy.