Thank you to Kwan Nam for this discovery!
Kina Kasuya Grannis (born August 4, 1985) is a guitarist and singer-songwriter from California. She is half Japanese and half English, Irish, French, Scottish, Dutch and German. Grannis was the winner of the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest. As a result of winning, she earned a recording contract with Interscope Records and had her music video played during the commercials of Super Bowl XLII. She recently won Best Web-Born Artist at the 2011 MTV O Music Awards.
In 2007, after four years at USC (where she recorded and self-released three EPs) and a brief move to Austin, TX, Kina joined YouTube, made a music video and entered herself into Doritos’ Crash The Super Bowl contest. In the months that followed, Kina began to accrue followers, lots of them, making herself right at home in front of her computer. Her Two Weeks For Kina site traded daily videos in exchange for votes, and while her votes piled up her following grew exponentially. A few months later, her video for “Message From Your Heart” aired during the Super Bowl and its 97-million viewers and Kina had a YouTube following, a Twitter following, a #1 video on Digg.com, a street team and, for a short time, a record deal.
Interestedly, after getting a recording contract with Interscope, Kina Grannis decides to go her own way:
Exchanging creative control for independence, Kina forfeited her record label, determined to record and release the songs she’d been writing for years. In true DIY form, Kina self-funded and independently-released Stairwells in early 2010. The album debuted on Billboard’s Top 200 and #5 on iTunes Pop Chart, and The New York Times and WNYC Soundcheck recognized Kina as one of the top Asian-Americans making an impact in the pop music world (she’s half-Japanese). She released a music video for her single “Valentine,” which has been featured on Yahoo! Music and has accrued more than 10-million views on YouTube. The track would later propel Kina to win Sirius Radio’s Coffee House Singer/Songwriter Discovery of 2010.
“One of the most amazing things that came out of the whole experience was the relationship that formed between me and my supporters online. They were right there on the journey with me, and every bit of success I had was thanks to them.”
To see her in concert, her World Tour schedule is here.
You can find her new album at iTunes here.