On Friday night, Voice alum and Youtube superstar, Christina Grimmie was murdered at her own concert in Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida at the age of 22. Sunday morning, in the midst of LGBT pride weekend, at least 50 people were shot dead at the Orlando Pulse nightclub.
I spent most of Saturday listening to Grimmie’s covers on her Youtube channel, which is charmingly called “zeldaxlove64” after her favorite video game, instead of, say, “Christina Grimmie sings,” “Voice Alum Christina Grimmie,” or something more self-serving. Grimmie was an artist whose beautiful covers and interpretations landed her 3 million subscribers on Youtube. The avid Christian with a quirky personality earned 3rd place on the Voice, and went on to leave her record label—in a show of integrity—when the label made risqué requests she refused to accept.
The first song I listened to Saturday after hearing the news about Grimmie is my favorite cover by her. Grimmie turns the “One that Got Away” into a bluesy story of life and wrenching loss, pulling emotion out of this Katy Perry tune like pure magic. The lyrics are eerily fitting for the events of the weekend.
In another life, I would be your girl. We’d keep all our promises, it’d be us against the world.
There’s magic in the bluesy way Christina sings “tattoos,” the full-scalar riff of “the one that got away” that melts like a tear. It’s in her flat-handed, self-trained piano playing. Not afraid of stretching past her capabilities, it’s in her belted F5 note on the lyric “In another life, I would make you stay” –the same, spine-tingling note that Celine Dion pulls out in “All By Myself” – used in a Katy Perry cover.
In another life, I would make you stay / so I don’t have to say you were the one that got away.
Towards the end of the song, Grimmie sings “All this money can’t buy me a time machine / Can’t replace you with a million rings / I should have told you what you meant to me.” The airy notes sparkle like glitter. The overwhelming feeling of loss and strangely appropriate lyrics are not lost on me.
Can’t replace you with a million rings / I should have told you what you meant to me.
I don’t know the more than 50 men and women shot on Sunday morning. I can only talk to how Christina Grimmie and her music affected me in hopes that multiplying that sentiment by 51 starts to help us imagine the great loss we’ve encountered this weekend. There’s really nothing that I can say to help heal the family, friends, and people affected by these losses, but I hope Grimmie’s music can help.