I was going to write a blog post (for the first time in months) about my Flag Day and my birthday and a cute flashback story about the cancelled Flag Day party my brother was planning at 6 years old, but I decided to write about Christina Grimmie. I was shocked when I read about her murder. A few days later, her death still brings me to tears (as well as the 50+ lives taken at Pulse Orlando).

I first heard Christina Grimmie’s powerful voice in a cover of Nelly’s “Just A Dream” with YouTube stars Sam Tsui and Kurt Hugo Schneider, and quickly became a fan (Sam Tsui has already covered the song again as tribute to her). She’s pretty much my age, and she was a fellow Zelda fan!

However, you may not even know this, but Christina Grimmie was a woman of faith, and I may not have really kept up with her music recently, but I truly look up to her.

“She holds her faith so closely to her… I think it’s not about religion and it’s not about good deeds, it’s just that she had faith,” said superstar Selena Gomez, when she paid a tribute Christina Grimmie. They were old friends, and Selena’s father was also Christina’s first agent.

As part of the tribute, Selena sang “Transfiguration” by Hillsong Live:
“Lead my longing heart to the high ground, to the clear view
And in awe I’ll be there beholding You
The only song my soul can find to sing is:
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, my King”

Justin Bieber paid tribute to Christina as well, holding back tears as he sang “Grimmie, can you hear me?” during the performance his single, “Purpose”.

“Thinking my journey’s come to an end
Sending out a farewell to my friends, forever peace
Ask you to forgive me for my sins, oh would you please?
I’m more than grateful for the time we spent, my spirit’s at ease…
…And you’ve given me the best gift that I’ve ever known
You give me purpose everyday and in every way.”

Christina Grimmie found a way to re-connect Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber (if only for a little bit)… and the entire music industry. In the past few days, artists everywhere were paying tribute to Christina.

Charlie Puth sang See You Again for her. Drake Bell  (love that she’s a huge Drake & Josh fan). Fifth Harmony. Meghan Trainor. Pretty much everyone else.

Christina had a phenomenal voice. It took less than 15 seconds for Usher and Shakira to choose her in The Voice, and later Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, all legends in their own musical genre. Levine said about her not the show: “you turn around, and you see how engaging and passionate.. you’re more comfortable than I am when you’re up there.”

But what makes her so special is that she always had a chipper attitude and valued the people and the things that she loved the most. After her audition on The Voice, Adam Levine asked her after her audition, “…what do you love, who inspires you the most?” Christina responded, “my mom, she’s had breast cancer three times… I love my mom and I’m happy I get to do this for her.” She chased her dream. She was young (only a year older than myself) and her road into the music industry wasn’t necessarily easy (always putting up YouTube covers, participating in The Voice, opening for Selena Gomez, etc.) Through all that, she kept her identity Christina was often vocal of her faith, which is definitely not the most popular thing to do in the music industry. Also, she always boasted that she was a huge geek, a huge fan of Nintendo’s “Legend of Zelda” (her YouTube name was “zeldaxlove” and she never changed it), which isn’t exactly something most female pop stars brag about. She was so certain of her identity, and it’s almost evident that it comes from her faith.

But Christina herself provides hope in what seems to be a devastating, hopeless, and terrible last couple of days in the U.S. (I have barely even mentioned the 50+ people who’s lives were taken this past weekend in Orlando… all wonderful, everyday people who were loved by their families. #QueerLivesMatter) All you have to do is listen to her rendition of “In Christ Alone” which she says is: “one of my favorite songs.. like ever.”

Right around 0:56 in the video is more than adorable. The way she hesitates and messed up her keyboard chords is a sign that she really means what she is singing.

The lyrics say it all:
“No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ of in me
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand
Till he returns, or calls me home, here in the pow’r of Christ I stand
-“In Christ Alone” by Keith & Kristyn Getty

As she ends her video, Christina cheerfully says: “see you guys another time… bye!”

Indeed. See you another time, Christina. Rest in peace, and may your story always inspire others to love those who matter around you, to be themselves regardless of what the world says, and through it all to have faith- to confidently sing regardless of how desperately confused and hurt regarding the disaster happening around us: “till he returns or calls me home, here in the pow’r of Christ I stand.”

grimmietribute(photo taken by me! I still incorporated some photography into this blog post @narcol_optic_photography)