What-a-Woman: Kina Grannis

Kina Grannis {The Little Market}Photo by Valorie Darling

Kina Grannis is a singer-songwriter and actress from Los Angeles, CA. You can find her on Instagram at @kinagrannis, subscribe to her YouTube channel, and follow her on Spotify at Kina Grannis. Her song, “Dear River,” was featured in The Little Market’s video about Lauren and Hannah’s trip to visit artisans in Guatemala.

How long have you known Hannah? What is your favorite memory with her?

Hannah and I met 10 or so years ago, really early on in my music career. Not long after that she reached out and offered to help put together my first official photoshoot — which, if I’m not mistaken, was not something she was involved in at the time — but for whatever reason she felt like helping out. And she ended up putting together a really talented team and creating a super memorable experience for me. I was blown away that someone I’d just met cared enough to help me out in this way for no good reason at all except that she just cared. Hannah has always been incredibly supportive and generous in that way.

Coco Striped KItchen Towel {Marisa Vitale - The Little Market}Photo by Marisa Vitale

Which items from The Little Market are in your home?

I have the striped kitchen towel (in coco) and two of the classic hampers (silver with white dots), and I’m pretty much obsessed with them.

Is there a product from The Little Market that you have your eye on?

Yes! The brown Adventure Duffle Bag. I’m all heart-eyes over that thing.

Who are your favorite musicians?

It’s an ever-growing, ever-changing list, but some of my all-time and current favorites are: Bon Iver, The Japanese House, Imogen Heap, Sigur Ros, James Taylor, K’s Choice…

What is it like working with your husband?

It’s pretty amazing how Jesse and I have been able to work together over the years. Whether it’s getting an opinion on a lyric or melody, having someone to hunker down with and do some brainstorming over the best way to release an album, or having a built-in opening act when I’m on the road, it’s a really unique and special thing to completely understand and share in each other’s worlds, creatively and from a business standpoint as well, and it’s something we both really treasure.

What is your favorite song to perform?

It depends on the day, my mood, and the vibe of the crowd, but lately I’ve been really loving performing my song “Little Worrier.” I generally tend to prefer singing the sad/feely-type songs. 😉

Where is your favorite place you have performed?

There have been so many memorable nights that it feels almost impossible to choose, but if I had to, some of the shows that have stood out to me were Toronto, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and London.

What music video was the most fun to make?

The most fun has to be the video Jesse and I made for his song “Forever On Your Side” with Hannah’s brother Jacob and our friend Yoni. We basically frolicked around Kauai, jumping off of waterfalls, hiking through the jungle, etc. It was a dream. The most fun video I’ve made (though the making of it was pretty arduous) would be “In Your Arms” — a stop-motion animation video I made with my friend Greg Jardin that we shot over the course of 22 months, using a quarter of a million jelly beans. It was pretty insane.

Who is your dream musician to collaborate with?

Imogen Heap. Her production has such a magic to me.

What do you love most about what you do?

Definitely the feeling of connection. I grew up pretty shy, so it was always difficult for me to share and connect with other people, and through music I get to do that with people all over the world. I love meeting them, hearing their stories, and learning how very much alike we all are. It’s pretty amazing.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to walk, read, cook, eat, do yoga, hike, hang with family, friends, Jesse, play with animals…

What is your favorite song?

I am typically really bad at picking favorite songs, so I’ll just say that at the moment I am loving anything by Billie Marten.

What is your favorite place to travel to?

If there’s good food and good company, anywhere.

Where do you want to travel next?

Brazil, Italy, and Korea are a few I have yet to travel to and would love to see!

What do you always travel with?

My pillow 🙂

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My day to day, my dreams, my friends and family, strangers on the street, nature, the best of times and the worst of times … everything, really.

What words of wisdom could you provide to others?

Always strive to keep growing and learning, find things and people you love and give them your time, embrace struggle, confront your fears, stop caring about what other people think, go on walks, focus on the positive, try to give back whenever possible.

What does empowering women mean to you?

To me it’s about women firmly believing that we can accomplish anything, and truly owning that and letting it fuel us. It’s also about lifting each other up in a world that often pits us against each other and makes us feel like we’re in competition. Too often, societal norms dictate roles that women feel pressured to uphold, and though we’re slowly breaking those down, there’s still so much room to grow. It starts with each one of us making the decision to believe in ourselves — to believe we are capable, strong, beautiful, and then showing that same love and support to the women around us and around the world.

Who are the most important women in your life and why?

My mom and my sisters. They encourage and inspire me to be better every day. They’re the best!

Do you have a favorite product that you want to tell us about?

I am particularly in love with the hamper that I got from Little Market. It’s one of the classiest looking things in my house, and it makes me happy that buying it supports the women who made it (from grass and recycled plastic!) in Senegal. Pretty cool!

Silver with White Dot Classic Hamper {The Little Market}

Which causes are you most passionate about and why?

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the American Cancer Society have always been causes near and dear to my heart. My mom was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer when I was a freshman in high school and seeing what my mom and my family went through in the years following this had a large effect on my life. I’d love to live in a world where people didn’t have to fight against their own bodies for their lives. (My mom is doing really well now, by the way!)

What is your favorite memory since getting involved in The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society?

Back in 2008 I ran my first marathon, the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, in support of LLS, and of course, my mom. A marathon is obviously a pretty overwhelming and emotional experience, but the fact that every person there was running for LLS was something that really moved me. It definitely ranks among the top experiences in my life. It later inspired a project of mine called “Run Team Kina” where I encouraged fans around the world to join me in a two-fold goal. The first was making a promise to yourself about how to better live your life and take care of your body and health. Many of us trained for races, some promised to eat more veggies, some committed to a daily walk, some promised to try to love themselves a little bit more. The second goal was to raise money for LLS. After a few months of this campaign, we ended up raising $72,000 and were able to fund a research grant in my mom’s name.

What is your favorite Instagram account?

For being in love with nature: @chrisburkard

For inspiration and perspective: @humansofny

For amazing animal photos: @joelsartore

For fun cooking videos: @tastemade_japan

Do you have a favorite quote?

A recent favorite: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” It helps me slow down when life feels crazy and overwhelming and be present.

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  • I ❤ the quote. It’s like, with patience anything can be accomplished. Let nature take it’s course. For with time, a seedling will eventually blossom into a beautiful flower with the nourishment from Mother Earth and the Sun. I dig that. From The Singing Bridge… 😜

  • Enjoyed this interview! How about those words of wisdom from Kina Grannis? And the charity causes leave such an impression on so many who have to (family & friends) contend with cancer. Best regards the best for you and all who read this interview.