Kat Perkins remembers how slain Christinia Grimmie inspired her
ORLANDO, Florida -- For Christina Grimmie, her fans were everything. The 22-year-old singer did everything possible to interact with her fans as much as possible, including sometimes taking time out of her nights to Skype with them. "Watching her...
ORLANDO, Florida -- For Christina Grimmie, her fans were everything.
The 22-year-old singer did everything possible to interact with her fans as much as possible, including sometimes taking time out of her nights to Skype with them.
"Watching her do that was an inspiration to me and sort of a lesson of how to do that, how to give back to your fans that you are doing this for," singer and close friend Kat Perkins said. "We can't do what we do in our business without the fans."
Grimmie, who with Perkins gained fame on the NBC talent show "The Voice," was fatally shot Friday night by Kevin James Loibl, 27, after a performance inside the Plaza Live Theater in Orlando. Following the shooting, Grimmie's brother, Marcus, reportedly tackled the shooter, who according to police did not know the singer but had traveled to Orlando specifically to attack her. The attacker then fatally shot himself.
Grimme died early Saturday morning. Her brother was not injured.
"I just feel so numb," Perkins said, adding the shooting was "senseless."
"You just wake up and you feel like it's just a dream, and it's not," she said.
Authorities said Loibl had two loaded handguns, additional ammunition and a hunting knife at the time of the shooting. Though patrons had their bags and purses checked for weapons at the venue, there were no metal detectors and the security guards were unarmed, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said. There were about 120 people at the venue at the time of the attack.
Born in Marlton, N.J., Grimmie had first gained popularity through posting videos of herself singing on YouTube.
In 2014, she auditioned for Season 6 of "The Voice," where she first met Perkins, a Minneapolis singer who grew up in Scranton, N.D.
"She was one of those ones everybody was buzzing about, everybody was talking about because she was a big YouTube star," Perkins said.
Like the Miley Cyrus song she sang for her Feb. 24, 2014, blind audition, Grimmie came in like a "Wrecking Ball," turning three of the four coaches' chairs in the first 20 seconds of her audition.
She eventually turned all chairs and ultimately chose rock singer Adam Levine as her coach, the same coach Perkins chose.
They were roommates for a time during the show, and though they competed with each other almost every week, Perkins said she felt like she had known Grimmie, as if they met in a past life, and they connected instantly.
"She was one of the goofiest people I have ever met," Perkins said as she laughed. "She brought light to every single situation, even when things were so intense and so crazy weird."
The two made it to the semifinals before Perkins was eliminated, and Grimmie took third. The women continued to write music, travel on tour for concerts and release albums as they were met with fans across the country.
Still, Perkins said they would text and meet with each other often. They would use the text messages to encourage and inspire each other, Perkins said, adding she would always tell Grimmie how amazing her new songs were.
"(Grimmie) was like, 'Aw, thanks,' but her first question was, 'What are you up to? What are you doing?'" Perkins said as she looked at a text Grimmie sent her a few days ago. "Her last text to me was, 'Please send me your new song because I'm working on a new record right now. I would love to hear what you are doing and the direction you are going. I would love to hear it.'"
For Perkins, Grimmie was such "a force and talent" that inspired the Minneapolis singer to write music and give back to her fans.
It's what makes Grimmie's death even more tragic, Perkins said, because Grimmie was doing what she loved to do: perform and interact with her fans. The attacker, who did not appear to have a criminal record, shot Grimmie while she was signing autographs for fans after she had appeared as the opening act for the band Before You Exit.
"She was in such an innocent, vulnerable moment of giving back to her fans like she did in every single show," she said. "It's just nuts that that would happened during such a vulnerable, innocent time of doing what she loved to do."
Perkins said she wants to honor Grimmie by being a voice for her, whether it is telling the stories of her life or writing songs inspired by her. Perkins said she hopes telling Grimmie's story will help comfort her fans, some of the most important people in her life.
"I want to put as much stuff and content I can with her out there so people can just remember her of who she was and not just somebody on television or YouTube," she said. "Even to the last very moment, she was doing it for her fans and doing what she loved. It's nice and comforting to know that she was living her dream and she was in the moment and she was bursting with energy. That's what she was born to do."
Reuters contributed to this report.