"I believe that there is real power in music, and that if we find the best music to listen to—music that is uplifting—it has the power to change us for the better"
Following Lindsey Stirling's hard-worked rise to international stardom, it was time for GMA to take time out to have a chat with such a talented musician in many aspects: creativity, originality and most importantly the ability to challenge the unthinkable. GMA's Rhys Stevenson set to find out what lies behind the violin and the musical genius of Lindsey Stirling.
Hi there Lindsey, I see you are performing in Australia next month, is this your first time performing there?
Yes! Actually I have never been to Australia, so I’m hoping to meet a wallaby and a kangaroo or two lol
So what made you or who influenced you to play the violin?
When I was young my family didn’t have a lot of money, but that didn’t stop our family from having fun! My dad would find all kinds of fun things for our family to do, one of which was going to free orchestra concerts. It didn’t take me very long to notice that the violins were “front and center” and had all the interesting parts. When I was about six years old I started begging my parents to give me lessons. My mom finally found one teacher who was willing to give me a fifteen minute lesson every other week. I’m so grateful to my parents and to my first teacher who believed in me enough to give me a chance.
You mix the classic elements of the violin with dubstep and other alternative genres, what gave you this idea and are you hoping other budding artists will catch onto this genre crossover?
As I got older I started loosing interest in violin, and it occurred to me that it was because I was playing other people’s music. I had an intense desire to create my own, and to share it. In high school I joined a punk rock band called “Stomp on Melvin” and I learned to improvise and create music “on-the-spot.” This is also when I started learning to “move” on stage. I continued to perform / jam with bands throughout college. One day I decided to record myself dancing to “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas and put the video up on YouTube. The video went viral, but shortly after that I decided to serve a full-time mission to New York. http://www.lindseystirling.com/lindsey-blog/in-memory-of-nyc/
Once I returned home, my friends kept encouraging me to try out for America’s Got Talent, so when the show contacted me I decided to audition. During the competition I improvised to several popular songs. It wasn’t until I was “X-ed” lol that I realized that what I really wanted to do was create my own songs… I didn’t want to just improvise over someone else’s music anymore. It was a that point that a friend introduced me to Marco G. He believed in me enough to help me create three singles for what I could afford at the time (which was very little). Together we created “Spontaneous Me,” “Transcendence,” and “Song of the Caged Bird.” I’ve been creating music ever since.
You recently appeared on BBC's The One Show, how was this for you?
SO much fun! Jon and Sian were amazing; I enjoyed the interview and I felt extremely honored to be on the show!
Your self-titled debut album charted at no.1 in Austria, what was your reaction when you learned about this and is there a tour of Europe in your plans for next year given you did one this year?
I was pretty shocked. It is just amazing to me that so many people throughout the world are enjoying my music! It’s truly a dream come true for me. I’m not entirely sure what the plans for next year are yet, but I am pretty certain I will be visiting Europe again in the near future. I will actually be visiting Europe during the next several months for promotional purposes, etc.
Upon Sharon Osbourne commenting: "You need to be in a group. ... What you're doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas." - I guess it's now safe to say you have proven her wrong?
Yeah…basically lol. But at the same time I know that having Gavi and Drew on tour with me has made a huge difference. I don’t think my performance would be quite as exciting if I was on stage all by myself with a synthesizer playing in the background lol, so in a way she was right.
I see you helped contribute to the theme tunes for the Skyrim and Halo video games, was this a challenging aspect in your career and could we see you helping out on any film scores in the future?
I actually don’t play a lot of video games, so yes. My fans kept requesting these, so when I decided I liked the music enough to do a cover I had to listen to the songs quite a bit before I could create the medleys. I also had to research the games, and I did my best to stay consistent with the characteristics and look of the games and the characters in them. “Gamers” can be really picky about those particulars lol.
What advice could you pass on to musicians who idolize you when playing the violin? Do you feel that you can mix and match music genres in different ways without friction between the multiple genres?
When it works, it works. I have always loved ALL kinds of music. There are very few music genres that I don’t like. Within every genre of music I like certain songs and styles. I believe that there is real power in music, and that if we find the best music to listen to—music that is uplifting—it has the power to change us for the better. Alternatively, music can also affect and change us for the worse if we are not careful of the things we choose to listen to.
What are the rest of your plans for the latter half of the year? What can fans expect from you?
I will be touring Asia / Australia for around two weeks in August. After that I plan to work on my album as much as possible in between my promotional visits to Europe, etc. I honestly don’t know how I am going to finish the album by March with all that is going on lol but that’s the goal!
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings, etc you wish to issue to friends, family, etc?
I definitely would not be who I am or doing what I am doing if it were not for my amazing parents. My friends and family have always been a huge support and believed in me. Today I’d like to give a shout-out to my awesome dad, who taught me that anything is possible. He has always wanted to publish a book and finally, after years of hearing “no” from publishers, his first book has been published. I’m so proud of you dad! You did it! https://www.facebook.com/StephenJStirlingAuthor
Readers can check her music out on the YouTube channels below, news via her Facebook page and website.
You can purchase Lindsey Stirling's self-titled album via iTunes (http://po.st/StirlingYiTx1) or online (http://www.shopbenchmark.com/lindseystirling/)
Following on from GMA's review of Eva Jade Landon's latest release 'Evalution' we took time out to sit down with the American musician and find out what really drives her to make her music that extra special. Interview was by Rhys Stevenson.
Hi Eva, so first off what got you into music and specifically the style of rock you play?
I've been into music for as long as I can remember. I don't think there was one event, specifically. I was writing lyrics and recording melodies onto tape decks all through elementary school, picked up the drums in the school band when I was 12, and by the time I was 15 I was fronting my own project. Most of the rock music I write has a 90's grunge influence mixed with punk and melodic pop melodies.
So when you were growing up what artists did you listen to and take influence from?
Honestly, Hole was probably my biggest influence when I was younger. It was the first time I had ever seen a female playing guitar and screaming about something that matters to her. I didn't know that kind of thing even existed. And it turned me on to a lot of other great female musicians that also became huge influences to me (Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, The Distillers, etc). It made me feel like I wasn't crazy for wanting to do something that had almost always been male territory.
Regarding the state of Maryland, are there any rock schools or music colleges that budding musicians can go to?
Well, I know that we have a School of Rock here. A few locations, I believe. But actually, this is the first year ever we will have a Rock Camp for Girls in Baltimore which is really exciting. I've performed at the DC camp a few times, but it's great that they are able to expand more locally and that the camp is growing. A lot of local musicians I know are involved and I actually have been invited to teach a few workshops, as well.
So where in the USA have you played and are there any plans to play outside the USA?
I've been really lucky that I can say I've had the opportunity to play all over the United States. To name a few: Maryland, DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Southern California, Ohio, St. Louis... even made it out to Toronto, Canada. I would love to be able to do a tour outside of the US, just need to find the funding to get a whole band out there. ha.
I notice you own your own label, how did this come about? Was it directly with your music or are there more artists on it?
We have about six artists right now, including myself, and we are always accepting more submissions. It all kind of came about after I had a really bad experience with an independent label I had signed a digital and physical distribution deal with. I wanted to offer artists a way to put their music out there without the risk of having to go through the type of situation I was in.
Regarding your music how do you go about lyric writing? Do you take specific themes or emotions, or something else?
Most of my lyrics come from personal experiences or emotions... it's kind of funny because sometimes you don't even realize what's affecting you at the time until it falls out on the paper.
Looking to the future what plans do you have in 2013 and beyond? Any new songs, releases?
I'm actually planning a lot of collaborations in 2013. I just released a new single called "The Drama" featuring female vocalist Abs Kase of the band Frenamie, and I'm about to go into the studio to do another collaboration tentatively titled "Deja Vu". We are also planning to shoot a music video this summer for the "The Drama", that will feature a bunch of cameo appearances from bands and promoters all over the area. It should be pretty cool. Some of my songs were also recently selected to be part of the soundtrack for an independent film titled "Deadly Punkettes" that's currently in pre-production and is set to release in 2014. It's about an all girl band who's former lead singer comes back from the dead to haunt her replacement.
How popular is rock and metal in the USA given the vast amount of pop, hip-hop and r&b artists there are?
Actually, despite the fact that mainstream radio caters to Top 40 genres, most of the local scenes across the country are primarily dominated by Rock and Metal bands. You'd be surprised. I'm actually the wild card in most of the shows I play.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's and greetings you wish to issue to fans, friends, etc?
Well definitely thank you to Global Metal Apocalypse for taking the time to do this interview with me, to all the musicians and producers I've worked with over the years who have gotten me to this point, and of course to all my friends and fans for their constant love and support! You guys know who you are! Xo.
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