Super-sweet songs from Kina Grannis 

click to enlarge Kina Grannis and her creative team used more than 200,000 jelly beans in her video for  “In Your Arms.” - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Kina Grannis and her creative team used more than 200,000 jelly beans in her video for “In Your Arms.”

Video may not have killed the radio star, but it nearly defeated quirky California folksinger Kina Grannis, who spent 22 months with director Greg Jardin filming a stop-motion animated video for her single “In Your Arms” — using 288,000 jelly beans.

For more than 2,300 meticuous frames, she posed on a plexiglass table, with elaborate bean scenarios spread beneath her.

“We’d spend over an hour building one frame, then I’d come in, lie on the glass, and he’d take one picture,” she says. “So most days we’d get less than a second of footage completed.”

Everyone attending Grannis’ “In My Arms” world tour — which hits San Francisco on Thursday — will receive free jelly beans, compliments of sponsor Jelly Belly, which donated the multicolored candy the video project required.

The exotic-featured artist — who calls herself a “half-Japanese, half-European mutt” — first tapped into visual energy back in 2007, when she got a YouTube account and began posting home movies of herself crooning her increasingly complex originals.

“When I made my first video, it was just for fun, and YouTube at that point was just a video-hosting site,” says Grannis, who initially filmed with her laptop, then gradually went more hi-tech via Flip cameras, Canons and studio-quality microphones.

When that featurette, “Message From Your Heart,” made it into a Dorito’s Crash The Super Bowl contest, she says, “I had to ask people to vote for me online for two months straight, so in exchange I thought I’d make a video every day — that’s when I realized I’d stumbled onto something really powerful.”

Indeed. She won the contest — plus a contract with Interscope Records — but waived it to stay indie with her recent fourth effort (and “Arms” parent album) “Stairwells,” just reissued in a deluxe two-disc edition.

Originally, she asked Jardin to direct her lissome “Valentine” ballad, but he proposed the minor-chorded shuffler “Arms” instead.

“When Greg said ‘Jelly beans! Are you in?’ I said ‘Of course!,’ thinking it might take only a month,” says Grannis, 26. “And being independent, the budget was very small — basically whatever I had in my pocket — so he wrote up a pitch to Jelly Belly, and they loved it.”

To date, more than 6,500,000 fans have watched the singer wend through her sugary backdrops — even become a bean creature herself — on YouTube.

Grannis is justifiably proud of her breakthrough video. But she’s also relieved it’s finished. “Because there was a part of me that thought, ‘This may never end!’” she says. “This could be the rest of my life, just lying on glass in uncomfortable positions!’”

If you go

Kina Grannis
Where:
The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Tickets: $28.50
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.livenation.com

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Tom Lanham

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