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Christina Grimmie on video: A natural YouTube star offered a bounty of musical styles

Christina Grimmie on video: A natural YouTube star offered a bounty of musical styles
Christina Grimmie, who was shot and killed in Florida on Friday night after a concert, performs Ed Sheeran's "Give Me Love" in a YouTube clip. (YouTube)

“A fun, spontaneous Ed Sheeran jam session happened the other day in my room with some friends,” reads a caption to open Christina Grimmie’s YouTube clip of her performing the Brit singer’s song “Give Me Love.”

As in many of her YouTube performances, Grimmie, who was shot to death on Friday while signing autographs after an Orlando, Fla., concert, wears a joyful expression while singing the acoustic song. That look, coupled with that voice, helped propel Grimmie to popularity long before she landed on “The Voice” to perform for national audiences.

Her optimistic enthusiasm was on display in the hours leading up to Friday’s concert in Orlando. Grimmie was an active Twitter user, and documented her life both on tour and in her practice space. She expressed excitement at playing in Orlando, and promoted Friday's concert by inviting her followers to party with her.

The magnetic Grimmie attracted her fan base through that openness. Her YouTube uploads show an entertainer who can talk to a video camera like she's talking to her best friend, and who can perform to an invisible audience as though she were at a campfire song-swapping session.

Christina Grimmie performs Ed Sheeran's "Give Me Love"

For example, in 2010, a young Grimmie was still in her teens, but that didn’t prevent her from uploading a video that’s now surpassed 100 million views. Along with Sam Tsui, the pair tackled St. Louis rapper Nelly’s late-era hit “Just a Dream.” 

Christina Grimmie and Sam Tsui perform Nelly's "Just a Dream"

The song below is barely related to her pop-oriented material, so when Grimmie cranked along with Skrillex’s “Bangarang,” the playfulness was contagious. 

Christina Grimmie tackles Skrillex

Sitting in front of a keyboard just off the screen, Grimmie might be getting ready to drop a Coldplay or Lady Gaga cover. But, no, early last year she headed down an EDM wormhole to cover the massive hit “Lean On,” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake.

Christina Grimmie performing "Lean On" by Major Lazer and DJ Snake

Does anybody remember the Harlem Shake? Long before she won Adam Levine’s heart on “The Voice,” Grimmie was working along with her fans to celebrate the dance fad. Though not really a cover, it’s a blast to watch Grimmie and her posse going crazy when the bass drop arrives. 

Christina Grimmie and friends do the "Harlem Shake."

Sitting in an empty room save for a grand piano, Grimmie delivered a confident take on Rihanna’s “Stay” in 2013. Unlike most contestants plucked from anonymity on “The Voice,” the singer successfully started gathering her tribe years before Adam Levine took an interest.

Christina Grimmie covering Rihanna's "Stay"

As a result, her bounty of devotees were hardly fickle followers whose fandom ended after the season finale.

Through Saturday afternoon, those admirers had been flooding her YouTube page and individual clips to bid Grimmie farewell and celebrate her short life with thousands of comments. However, for reasons unknown, comments have been closed for all of Grimmie’s uploaded videos. Instead, fans have taken to Twitter and Facebook.  

Wrote one fan in mourning: “They shot you down, but you will never fall. Forever in our hearts. #RIPChristina.”

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