By Kenneth Barilari
Singer Christina Grimmie of Marlton was fatally shot on Friday night after performing at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida. #HipNJ had the opportunity to speak with her childhood friend and next door neighbor, Kristen, about her memories with the singer.
Grimmie started posting covers of popular songs on YouTube in 2009 and quickly gained popularity. In 2014, she auditioned for The Voice with a stunning rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” that made all four judges turn their chairs. She joined Adam Levine’s team and finished the competition in 3rd place.
In February and March 2016, Grimmie opened for Rachel Platten on her Wildfire Tour, where she performed songs from her latest EP, Side A.
Kristen said they both attended Vacation Bible School growing up, where they would rehearse Bible songs together. Grimmie was always performing in their hometown, “whether it was in a basement or a bar,” making it clear that singing was her passion from a young age.
Grimmie attended Cherokee High School, where she sang in the choir and participated in Cherokee Idol, the school’s annual singing competition.
When Grimmie joined The Voice, “the whole town was behind her,” Kristen said of their hometown. She said that the singer received tremendous support every step of the way.
Grimmie has given the world a ton of memorable performances, both on The Voice and on her own YouTube channel. Her cover of “Party in the U.S.A” has become her widely popular on YouTube, with over 12.5 million views to date.
Kristen recalled one song that stood out to her, Grimmie’s cover of David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium.”
“It made me melt. It was incredible,” Kristen said. Grimmie’s cover of “Titanium” now has over 18 million views.
When she first heard the news of Christina’s injuries that would later become fatal, Kristen could not believe it. “I woke up to my phone blowing up with the news. It was devastating. I’m still in shock I cannot believe she’s gone,” she said.
Flowers and pictures have been placed around the Fallen Chief Memorial and Marlton will hold a candlelight vigil in the singer’s honor tonight.
When asked how people that knew Christina would describe her in three words, Kristen responded, “Talented, kindhearted, and independent.” Christina Grimmie’s talent and compassionate heart will be remembered always, and her voice will live on through the memories she gave to both her fans and those who had the opportunity to get to know her.