How Kina Grannis Walked Away From a Major Label Deal and Became Music's Next Big Thing (Video)

11:16 AM PST 01/12/2012 by Shirley Halperin, Portia Medina

The YouTube star, known for her 288,000 jelly beans-strong "In Your Arms" video, talks music industry with THR.

There is a good chance you’ve heard Kina Grannis’ music -- maybe while grocery shopping or at your local McDonald’s or at LAX. Or perhaps you’ve caught her beautifully innovative and incredibly time-consuming video for the song “In Your Arms,” which turned 288,000 choreographed jelly beans into 4.5 million views on YouTube.

The 26-year-old Grannis first gained prominence by winning a Doritos Super Bowl contest that came with a major label deal at Interscope. But in a move that might stupefy most struggling musicians, she decided to give it up and go at it alone. “Major labels still have a role, but people can just do it without them now,” Grannis tells the Hollywood Reporter.

Indeed, the exposure alone was the greatest launching pad the California native could hope for. “Getting your music video played during the Super Bowl is pretty amazing,” she says. “But the biggest thing going into that, was let me use this as an opportunity to put everything I have into sharing my music during the two months of the contest. That's when I started my YouTube [page].”

And that’s when everything changed and Grannis went from coffeeshop singer to internet star to in-demand live act to potential hitmaker, but it was no shortcut. “I was writing and gigging and getting out there for maybe six years before I ever joined YouTube,” says Grannis who recently finished recording a new album, the follow-up to 2010’s Stairwells. And for the record: her YouTube page now boasts well over 77 million views.

Hear more of Kina Grannis’ thoughts about the music industry and watch a live performance of “In Your Arms” in the videos above and below.

Twitter: @THRMusic

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