"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/)
The Alternative music interview page features interviews from Eurovision entries to other non-metal music entities.
Eurovision Song Contest