YouTube sensation Christina Grimmie: The 17 year-old singer talks about her new album and opening for Selena Gomez on tour


Christina Grimmie, one of YouTube’s most popular musicians, almost never joined the site at all.

“My friend convinced me to put a video up, when originally I did not want to,” the quirky 17 year-old tells EW. “I did on July 17th, 2009.” That was the day that Grimmie posted a video of herself playing piano and singing “Don’t Wanna Be Torn” by Hannah Montana.

As she frequently posted new cover videos to her channel, zeldaxlove64, Grimmie developed a small online fanbase, and what started as a frivolous hobby quickly became a much bigger project. “More and more, I made it a routine to post videos, and now I’m doing pretty well for myself, I would say.”

Well, that’s an understatement. Grimmie is now the veritable queen of YouTube musicians, with 974,000 subscribers, an EP of original songs (called Find Me) available on iTunes, a single (“Advice”) getting airplay on Radio Disney, and a plum opening spot on Selena Gomez’s upcoming summer tour.

That’s a pretty impressive slate for any artist, much less a teenager without a record deal. How did Grimmie achieve so much success in just two short years?

She started by solidifying her status on YouTube. Grimmie continued to post videos of herself singing pop songs in her Sonic the Hedgehog-adorned bedroom, and as her pageviews went up, opportunities gradually presented themselves.

Fellow YouTube superstars like Kurt Schneider, Alex Goot, and Tiffany Alvord asked Grimmie to collaborate with them, and some of her most popular videos, like a Kurt Schneider-produced Miley Cyrus medley and a cover of “Just a Dream,” (below) resulted. “Those definitely boosted me because [Kurt] did have more subscribers than me at the time,” she remembers. “He still does!”

It just so happens that some of Christina’s videos ended up on the computer screen of Mandy Teefey, Selena Gomez’s mother. “Selena’s mom, she saw me singing ‘My Heart Will Go On‘ by Celine Dion, and then she saw the Miley Cyrus medley, and that led her to ask Brian [her husband] to go out and find me.”

After getting in touch with Christina through her brother’s YouTube channel, Brian Teefey met with Grimmie in May 2010 and became her manager.

Grimmie flew out to California for a month of vocal lessons in mid 2010 and began to record a demo shortly thereafter. That demo never actually happened, and many of the produced tracks she recorded (a few with her YouTube buddy Schneider) simply became tracks on her EP, which she continued to work on through early 2011.

Grimmie got to have a big say in the songwriting process: “I love writing,” she says. “I got to write on six or seven of the eight tracks, with help obviously… however, I did write ‘Find Me’ and ‘Unforgivable’ on my own.” She adds, “I didn’t want any songs about dancing and partying, because to be honest, there are way too many about that. I’m a 17 year old girl, and I want to sing about things that I care about, not just dancing and getting drunk and blah blah blah. I wanted to write with feeling and emotion.”

Part of what allows her that kind of freedom is her independent status, and she’s not looking to abandon her YouTube roots anytime soon. “To be very honest with you, I never, ever want to leave my channel. I don’t even want ChristinaGrimmieVEVO. Not to be a control freak, but I want to be able to be myself and be fun and be goofy and sing on my channel.”

Christina’s next step is to prepare to hit the road with Gomez, where she will be promoting Find Me, which debuted at number 35 on the Billboard 200; she says she’s planning on playing some originals and covers, and she has “a really cool medley up [her] sleeve” as well. Check out one of her originals, “Liar Liar,” below:

Music Mixers, have you heard about the YouTube star? Do you think she can parlay her internet success into a legitimate recording career?

Other YouTube musicians on
Karmin cover Lil Wayne’s ‘6 Foot 7 Foot': So what now?
Nick Pitera sings a Disney mega-medley: Watch ‘One Man Disney Movie’ here!
Youtube star Kina Grannis’ newest track, ‘The One You Say Goodnight To’
YouTube delights: Five singer-songwriters you should get to know

Follow Grady on Twitter

Comments (192 total) Add your comment
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  • Regina George

    What a fantastic singer she is.

    • Anthony

      Christina who? Never heard of this girl before or seen her on Youtube.
      Judging from the clip above, she seems like an ordinary teen singer, which we had tons and tons of. Nothing special, in my opinion.

      • Ian

        Her mouth looks weird when she sings. It’s like her teeth are trying to escape.

      • Maddie

        Actually, she’s very awesome! you should really check her out before you say that she’s ordinary. I’ve been watching her videos since the begining and she’s come a long way with her talent!

      • Cher

        get crazy with the bedazzler

      • Lisa S

        The creepy EW staff is going to fawn over this child like they do with the others. Gross. PedoBear isn’t happy.

      • Aaron

        Hey can you sing better, most likely not so don’t judge someone who can.

      • katie

        why dont you ring us when you have a album and is going on tour with selena gomez :) and then you might be able to actually judge her.

      • DJASM

        you my friend are wrong cause this girl is nothing like the other everyday music stars, this girl can sing. if you don’t believe me go check out her channel on and see for yourself.

      • Lexi

        You’ve obviously never heard her sing. *cough @sshole cough*

      • Tyra

        Christina Grimmie is anything but an ordinary singer. I fell in love with her voice after seeing her first cover “Don’t Wanna Be Torn”. I’ve been subscribed to her ever since. She has had a HUGE impact on my life,she’s encouraged me to follow my dreams. She’s my role model, inspiration, and motivation for everything that I do and I am very proud to be her “Frand”.If you haven’t seen her latest video she posted about a sneak peek of her new music video then you most likely don’t know what a “Frand” is. The only way to find out is to watch her videos…I LOVE YOU CHRISTINA, KEEP RAWKIN!!!!!!XD

      • Tiffany Shek

        she is special. she has something special in her voice. shes all over youtube.

      • mars

        ur retarded she brings something special every time

      • ilArmani

        If you dont think Christina is special… What’s special for you? Her voice is amazing, and I’ve never heard a better teenager.
        Of course, there are many teenagers singing on youtube, and theyre good. But, not as good as Christina. I dont know how you could “she’s nothing special”.

        Sorry, but I love Christina and her voice.

      • Nicole

        Freak. You’re too computer stupid to know her. She’s awesome.

      • E.S

        Seems like you don’t even know what special is !

    • Lisa

      I wouldn’t say she is fantastic. Above average at best.

      • Aaron

        she’s very good.

      • maggie

        definitely a step above mediocre

      • Shashwat

        u better watch all her videos before commenting

    • MMAE

      And EW continues to cover people who are nobodies.

      • Aaron

        everyone is a somebody.

      • maggie

        really Aaron?

      • Lisa S

        really Aaron? KUM-BA-YA.

      • lily

        um excuse me? that “nobody” has a solid fanbase and is on tour with one of the hottest disney stars out there. she has an amazing voice and is down to earth unlike most stars getting their fifteen minutes of fame. She’s definetly a “nobody”

      • xgvc

        ive listened to Tiffany Alvord, Megan Nicole these girls were YouTube sensations who did covers of songs as well but i can say Grimmie has something pretty special and if you havent even given this girl a chance then what right do you have to bash? you cant say it’s your ‘opinion’ when clearly you dont have any basis, just that she’s an “”””ordinary”””” teenager

    • Amy

      What with the whole “Emo” she has going on? I mean, are kids still doing that? If she wants to succeed, get rid of that 90’s, immature look.

      • Katie

        maybe beacuse her hair looks epic like that…shes not ”emo”…-__- pretty sure her hair can be like that for her to ”succeed”…cause she already is ”succeeding”…

      • Cher

        this look is so 2005, fyi

      • Tori

        90’s? Stfu if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Half the kids these days are emo

      • Lisa S

        Katie, never comment again.
        It’s “epic”? Grow up, you fool. It’s not emo like the first idiot said, but you brought it down to a whole new pathetic low.

      • Aaron

        he who calls out a fool needs to look at themself before judging another.

      • katie

        lisa S her hair is E.P.I.C.and if you have a problem with that i dont really care :) fool?..are you serious?? THAT the best you could come up with!?..lmaoo..and sorry to burst your bubble..actually im not sorry but i commented LOOK!..I just commented AGAIN! O.o and thanks aaron :) lol

      • Blonde South

        That whole emo trend is still going on, it may have been more popular 2006, 2007, 2008, but it is still going on because the next group of kids haven’t found a new alternative style of clothing and music to latch onto yet. I don’t know what this has to do with the 90’s.

      • Miranda

        Yeah she looks and dresses like she wants to die.

      • andrew

        really? “are kids still doing that?” do you still put clothes on in the morning? its a fashon, a lifestyle and a statement, “get rid of the 90’s immature look” this isn’t immature, mr. gaga is immature, this is loveley and you are simply jealous madaam

      • andrew

        blonde south its not a “trend” trust me its been around and it will be around wether it be called goth satanic or emo by the public, the group will always exist granted it cought fire a while ago and flared up, it will always exist :)

      • katie

        are you seeious Miranda??..ohh yeeah cause super mario ans zelda shirts are a dead givaway that she wants to die..-__- how does she look like she wants to die??..i actually NEVER saw her not smiling in her videos..just sayin

      • Blonde South

        andrew, I see what you are saying and agree, it is a lifestyle and it will always be around, but it is also still kind of trendy at the moment. Many teenagers will move on from the trend and on to something else, like some other alternative trend, but if someone is really into the scene, they won’t just leave it because it’s not trendy anymore.

      • kiara

        90’s is immiture?? look at now a days. plus its more like in the 2000’s so if you think 90’s is immiture, look at your parents.. laugh at that. plus her hair, AND headphones are epic. ;) so again, think before you say things, because in reality your also dising your parents, aswell, ya, now your immiture.

      • Alexa

        shes not trying to be emo, a while ago her and her friend wanted something different for their hair and got those layers, all of christinas fans love her hair so she has never changed it and its cute

      • Danielle

        Look if you don’t appreciate Christiana’s Modern looks and can’t support her in something she wasn’t looking for but was blessed with or if you can’t appreciate a teenager who isn’t all about looks or boys or all trashy like the rest of the stars are these days then go ahead live your nasty trash-loving lives and leave the people who actually do support her WELL ENOUGH ALONE

      • Jessi

        She has said specifically that she is not “emo” She is doing very well where she is, and im sure it has nothing to do with her hair.

      • Hannah

        Shes not emo just cuz she has the haicut duznt meen she is…so if your gonna say something like that, really? just dont even open your mouth. Christina Grimmie got talents so all you people that dont really like her well buzz off no one really cares what you have to say. GO TEAM GRIMMIE

    • Aaron


      • katie


    • Laura

      omg are you kidding? listen to some more of her stuff. she’s AMAZING! have you heard her version of “firework” or “grenade” or “telephone”? they are phenomenal

  • Kaci

    Whoa. She looks like a dark-haired version of Alyson Hannigan in that photo. She should play another Lily doppelganger on the show!

    • Amanda

      lol That’s exactly what I thought! The only reason I actually clicked the article was to see the photo. She looks like Lily in the flashbacks when Lily was going through her goth/emo phase in college.

  • Lena

    Christinaaa ,

    U RAAAWK !

    I love u.

    Got ur TShirts , Album & Watchin’ ur vids all day long.

    Would u mind following me on twitter @ATeenThought or at ma Fan Acc. @GrimmieMusic ?
    – Would be so amazing.. I think i would not survive ;D

    LOVE U <3

  • Sandro

    She deserve it :) I have been following her for a while now and she has always been herself… I’d say some “natural” talent in a fake show biz…

  • Dom

    She is so awesome! :)

    Since she started on youtube i always said she would be become as popular as this :) -> and she did :) i am so proud of her

  • Anna

    I didnt need this article to tell me shes the queen! I already knew it! TEAM GRIMMIE FOR LIFE!! ♥

    • andrew


  • Annie

    Meh, I don’t see anything great from her. She should keep on singing, but I doubt she’ll make it big judging by how many singer like her are out there today and none of them usually make it.

    • Katie

      well thats nice to say….-__-..she already has made it good

      • Cher

        well if you can’t make it in indie you can always fake it.. nobody is going to really notice under all that pretentiousness anyways

    • lily

      she’s better than the girl she’s going on tour with (selena gomez) she’s better than miley cyrus’ should i go on?? she’ll definetly make it big..and she’ll be happy to thank the people that thought she wouldnt make it..

  • Captain

    I don’t subscribe to her but I’ve seen several of her videos and she’s quite good. I love her cover of “Jar of Hearts” she reminds me a lot of Kate Voegel.

  • Katie

    I love her so much! :)
    I love how she dosent want a ChristinaGrimmieVEVO :)
    Shes gonna stay true to herself..<3
    I REALLY hope Selena does a Europe Tour and Brings Christina!..that would be pretty epic! XD

    • Lisa S

      How old are you?
      If you’re over the age of NINE, you need to grow up and stop calling everything “epic”. It’s pathetic.

      • Emma

        If YOU’RE over the age of nine, Lisa S, quit getting on this site and complaining. Honesty. What’s pathetic is what you’re doing.

      • Lisa S

        Emma = dirty wh0re

      • katie

        omg i didnt know that there was an age limit for “epic”!..someone should of told me!..thanks emma :)..the only thing i called epic was her hair and about the Europe tour!..i didnt call her shirt epic and load of other things that would make up “everything”..but Chtistina is EPIC :)

      • Yoda

        Inappropriate your rage over the use of the word “epic” is.

      • andrew

        im 23 and i use epic, get over yourself

      • katie

        nearly everyone i know uses epic..and im not gonna stop just cause im over the age of EPIC EPIC EPIC EPIC ANDREW IS EPIC AND CHRISTINA!..:) buuh byee

      • Tori

        “Epic” is the newest slang word that EVERYONE is using. YOU are pathetic if you can’t respect what’s happening in the English speaking world.

  • Jensen

    EW, since you decided to do a story on a Youtube singer, you could have at least chosen a good one. Not hating on the girl, but there are WAY, WAY better singers on Youtube than her.

    • sha

      i disagree loads! she is amazing, a unique voice, to find better then point me in there direction… sorry has to be said i know people don’t like her, everyone has haters but i think she is grate

    • Aaron

      She’s by far the best I’ve found and I use Youtube a lot, of course there are going to be better singers but are they going to be like Christina probably not.

    • Anya

      I think they chose to do one on her because she’s touring with Selena Gomez. She’s on the verge of making it or, well, not making it.

    • andrew

      better then that justine chick, god i hate her -_-

    • Danielle

      Look if you don’t appreciate Christiana’s Modern looks and can’t support her in something she wasn’t looking for but was blessed with or if you can’t appreciate a teenager who isn’t all about looks or boys or all trashy like the rest of the stars are these days then go ahead live your nasty trash-loving lives and leave the people who actually like this girl


    Look at all these teens commenting here. With their stupid smiley faces.

    • Katie


      • K

        :) :) :)

    • Teen

      :) :)

      • Tween

        :) :) :) :) :) :)

    • MeLaanie

      Look at all these haters who have nothing better to do with their lives then to leave sh–ty comments on great singer because they’re jealous monrons…

    • Anya

      :D :D :D :D :D :D :) ;) :) ;) :D :D


      :D :D :D :P :P :P :) :) ;) ;) :O :) :D ;) :P

    • andrew


  • Cfa

    Youtube sensation? I’ve never heard of this girl before, and I watch a lot of Youtube. Besides, there are other artists who get a ton load of views and sound better. You choose an average Youtube artist, EW.

    • Katie

      thats just YOUR opinion…it was someone elses opinion that shes a youtube sensation and in MY opinion shes WAAAY better than anyone else on youtube and shes NOT ”avarage”…-__- smh

    • Grady Smith

      There are tons of great YouTube artists! No need to think that this is our only article on the subject! (Check out those links underneath the post) That being said, Christina has 154 million video views, an album that debuted at no. 35, and is going on a nationwide tour with Selena Gomez. That’s pretty remarkable for a YouTuber!

    • maggie

      look, I’ve never heard of this kid before until today.. what are you guys going on about?

      • a

        Maybe you’re just sheltered.

      • MeLaanie

        then maybe you just need to get your head out of your ass …

    • kiara

      she has almost a million subscriber, that must say something, and if you think there are better ones, why dont you name some.-_-‘

  • kiki

    I’m so proud! I love her! She’s amazing and she deserves all of it! & Everyone seriously needs to stop being asses. She’s talented get over it & Stop saying she’s above average cause that’s pure bull. & She’s not ‘emo’ She just wears her hair like that, so quit stereotyping. Christina you are AWESOME! You deserve all the good things you have coming! ,333

    • Katie

      same…lol…and i agree boutthe ”emo” thing!..smh -__-

  • Wendy

    she is awesome.grimmie got a rare talent..aww..get rawk!!

    • Cher

      get bent

      • Madun

        please help me out guys! watch Christina Grimmie(speed drawing) by chtpeengllroducaion . help me get christina to watch my video. please thumbs up so every one can see this please!!

  • Ryan

    ” I want to sing about things that I care about, not just dancing and getting drunk and blah blah blah” A real person in the music industry…who would’ve thunk :)

    • katie



      Anyone else think it ironic that she says , “I didn’t want any songs about dancing and partying, because to be honest, there are way too many about that.” and she touring with Selena Gomez and ALL of SELENA GOMEZ’s songs are POINTLESS and about partying dancing and having fun. Haha she dissed her own tourmate.

      • Miranda

        Oh btw thats me Miranda who posted that sorry wrong username :D

      • kiara

        some of her songs are about dancing, but they also have a meaning. like “who says” thats for sure as heck not about partying and dancing. she also has a LOAD more that have meanbing…-_-

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