In January 2009, 15-year-old Christina Grimmie uploaded a cover of Hannah Montana’s “Don’t Wanna Be Torn” to YouTube under the username Zeldaxlove64. The video, made in Windows Movie Maker, was the beginning of a shining career that landed Grimmie over 3.2 million subscribers, took her to 3rd place on the hit TV show The Voice, and got her a record deal with Island Records (other artists on the label include Demi Lovato, Bon Jovi, and Fall Out Boy).
The video itself has nearly 1 million views, and some of her collaborations such as the “Just A Dream” cover she did with fellow YouTuber Sam Tsui has reached over 17 million views on her channel and over 100 million views on others.
Grimmie was a rising star, but on June 10, 2016, whilst signing autographs after an Orlando concert, she was shot and later died of her injuries. She was 22 years old.
Grimmie was an avid Zelda fan, stating in an interview with JoonBug in reference to Ocarina of Time,
“My brother is a year older than me, and we’re literally best friends, so when he started playing video games when he was 5, I would watch him because i was too young to understand what to do (haha). I’ve loved video games ever since I was that young. But Zelda…I remember it was my favorite game to watch my brother play. But I would constantly have nightmares about ReDeads and freaky things in the game, so my mom sold the game and me and my brother were so upset! We got it back a few years later and when I tell you I played it all the time, I PLAYED IT ALL THE TIME! It has such a great story and it will never get old to me.”
Her YouTube channel name throughout her career was Zeldaxlove64, an homage to her favorite game Ocarina of Time.
It wasn’t unusual to see her in a Zelda shirt or to see a Zelda poster behind her in one of her many videos. She also posted a video of herself singing popular songs accompanied by Gerudo Valley.
Her death has ricocheted across the internet with multiple celebrities taking to Twitter to share how shocked and grieved they are at the tragic news. The Voice’s official account has tweeted:
There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul with an amazing voice. Our hearts go out to the friends, fans and family of @TheRealGrimmie.
— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) June 11, 2016
Upon this loss of such a talented and inspiring individual in our community, we wanted to say a few words.
On a personal level, Christina is what inspired me to upload my own music to YouTube, and in doing so, inspired more confidence in my performances and life in general. I am shocked and heartbroken at this news, but I am grateful to be a fan of her, and to have her in the Zelda community. Rest in Peace Christina. you will be missed.
Christina Grimmie’s management team has set up a GoFundMe page for donations to her family.
I remember surfing through the internet around 2010 as a teenager and stumbling upon a YouTuber under the name of zeldaxlove64. The username belonged to a singer/songwriter named Christina Grimmie, who was involved in a collaboration with Sam Tsui where they performed “Just A Dream” by Nelly. It was while listening to that cover that I fell in love with Christina’s voice and began following her journey as a musician through her YouTube videos. She always had such a bright and upbeat personality in her videos, and her talent completely flourished as she grew older.
When she entered The Voice in 2014, I was so excited and I rooted for her every step of the way. As a singer myself, I looked up to how humble, genuine, nerdy, and talented she was and I became more inspired as a performer by watching her dominate the stage week after week.
It’s been so difficult to process that Christina Grimmie is gone. She has left such a beautiful mark on the world, and my heart aches for her friends and family during the painful time. Right now, I believe that it is important to remember to spread kindness, live boldly, and always pursue what you’re passionate about, just like Christina. Rest in the sweetest peace.