Music & Culture

In Memory of Christina Grimmie: Honoring the Way She Lived

By: Kerry Gallagher//

In the summer of 2009, 15-year-old Christina Grimmie uploaded a video of herself playing the keyboard while singing to a Hannah Montana song from her bedroom in New Jersey. Although she didn’t know it at the time, what she considered a hobby would soon launch her into becoming one of YouTube’s most well-known stars and create the foundation for her impressive musical career that would land her in third place on NBC’s The Voice and carry her even farther.

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Fans in Orlando held a vigil for Christina at The Plaza Live on the anniversary of her death with candles, flowers, music and balloons. Credit: @CVGUpdates

Fast forward eight years later to the summer of 2017 and the singer’s family, friends and fans all over the world are mourning the one-year anniversary of Christina’s violent and unexpected death in Orlando. 

While the loss of Christina was senseless and without question untimely, the impact she made during her short 22 years is immeasurable. She left this world the same way she walked it…with her arms wide open, even to the troubled man who would end her life. 

Though, she didn’t just leave us with three albums, two EPs, 8 music videos and countless superb YouTube covers. She vulnerably left her heart, faith and the center of her entire core laced between electronic synthetics and powerful lyrics, which should leave us all with one question. Are we walking through our journey on this planet with a purpose and are we doing it with love like Christina?

The late singer was obviously musically inclined and had vocals that surpassed impressive, but she didn’t gain nearly four million YouTube subscribers on that alone. Her kindred spirit and dorky, yet charming, personality is what drew her fans to her.

Christina made herself accessible to her fans, whom she called Team Grimmie, and always made them feel like they were just as much a part of her life as her friends and family. She constantly interacted with them across all her social media accounts and often thanked them on YouTube after every milestone she hit in her career for being the reason she’d made it that far.

She not only spoke confidently about her faith in Jesus, but shared it with her fans in her music with songs like “With Love” and “I Bet You Don’t Curse God”, something many musicians stray from in fear of losing a wide audience. Christina experienced the opposite. She opened discussions for her fans to share their faith with her and in turn, her audience grew in size and loyalty. 

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Credit: Angela Weiss

The musical catalog Christina left behind is impressive, but the legacy she left shines even brighter and is unwavering. She left behind a way of living many people are too afraid to pursue. She was unapologetically herself and didn’t conform to trends in her music or YouTube videos in order to make sales. Her work reflected who she was and spoke a truth that is rare to find in most mainstream music today.

We should all strive to live like Christina did. Honest with ourselves and others, practicing our craft until we master it, loving others so wholeheartedly it leaves a mark and most importantly finding something to believe.

There aren’t many words to describe the weight that comes along with today. This world lost an incredible light last year, but I encourage you to find someway to make it brighter and celebrate who this talented being was. Listen to our playlist dedicated in her memory, visit her YouTube channel or do something as simple as telling someone you love them so Christina’s voice will remain forever heard.

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