It's interesting how everything you learn in life plays a part in what you become. It's funny, the same things I loved doing in high school are the things I do now for a living. - Lindsey Stirling
YouTube sensation Lindsey Stirling is perhaps the first – and only – artist in the world to blend classical violin, modern dance, and pop into to one amazing confection.
On September 18th, Lindsey will be releasing her self-titled debut album, "Lindsey Stirling," coming off the heels of an incredibly successful presence on iTunes. With 10 original tracks, the album will showcase Lindsey's signature violin-electronic-dubstep style – opening with "Crystallize," her most popular piece. Lindsey has already sold over 300,000 songs, several of which have hit the iTunes Top 100, as well as the top of the digital electronic charts. Lindsey also has plans for a follow-up album of covers, putting her unique twist on everything from existing video game themes to pop music.
Are you ready? Here is the incomparable Ms. Lindsey Stirling!
MS: I am so blown away by your take on the "Phantom of the Opera" theme song!
LS: Oh neat! I was so excited about doing it!
MS: Well, I for one am totally in awe of your talent. I've never seen anything like it in my estimation; ask anyone, I don't gush easily.
LS: That's so awesome! Thank you so much, Michael!
MS: You really took to the violin.
LS: Well, I was drawn to the violin as a kid because ever since I was little I had this center stage syndrome. (laughs) My parents took me to all the free orchestra concerts in town, and it was very obvious to see who the stars of the orchestra were. (laughs) At the beginning of the concert the violinist comes out and plays an "A" note for the orchestra and I was like: "Wow, they are the stars of the orchestra". I started taking lessons when I was five, because I thought they were beautiful, fast and fun!
MS: The passion when you play the violin is so overwhelming.
LS: Generally I do it so much, so I have to love it, it has never gotten old.
MS: You utilize it in other mediums; expand on that.
LS: Well, in high school there were a bunch of guys who were in a rock band. I had a crush on every single one of them. They were all older than me, but I played the violin and I offered to play with them one time – and they had me play a song at one of their concerts. So, it's like, oh my gosh, a dream come true for me because all of these boys are so cute! From there I ended up becoming part of the band and we went on this little rock band tour. I was sixteen, it's a really fun memory, but looking back we were not really very good. (laughs) But it opened my eyes to how the violin could do all different types of music. They all left on missions so I was left without a band and I started writing music to my favorite radio hits, like Hip-Hop.
I explored different types of mediums because I was kind of getting burnt out on classical music. Writing radio hits is what got me onto "America's Got Talent". Then I decided I wanted to start writing my own music that I like. I started looking for producers. I always want to keep a fresh style so I do everything from rock to trance music, it's fresh and always new. Even with no vocals, people seemed to be entertained the whole time.
MS: Even with no vocals, with your "Phantom of the Opera" video I was enthralled. Very few people have ever attained that.
LS: Oh, thank you!
MS: I've heard you are biting at Taylor Swift's butt on YouTube. I hear you're only four thousand hits behind her.
LS: Wow, I didn't know that. I should check that out!
MS: Being a YouTube sensation, I read that you also learned how to dance on there.
LS: Yes! (laughs) I've always loved dancing, it's the most beautiful thing. I love watching it and everything. When I was on "Americas Got Talent" I basically just knew how to jump around as best I could when I played the violin. I was like, "oh, gosh, I really have to step this up" when I was preparing to go on. Once I made the show, I started looking at YouTube tutorials on how to Moonwalk and how to glide. I also watched uploads of "So You Think You Can Dance". So I would watch and learn. So, yeah, YouTube was my dance instructor. (laughs)
MS: You direct and produce your own videos, correct?
LS: Yes. "The Phantom of the Opera" was the biggest one I think I ever conquered. I oversaw the costumes, I got all the props myself and even the snow that you see falling in the venue. I couldn't find anywhere selling snow because it was out of season. So I went and bought tissue paper and I cut all that snow myself. Everything in that video from the extras to the orchestra members I did myself. It takes a ton of work, but I started out in film school. It's interesting how everything you learn in life plays a part in what you become. It's funny, the same things I loved doing in high school are the things I do now for a living.
MS: It's always obvious to me the people who are in the business who love it and the ones who are in it just to make money.
LS: Honestly, I don't think any soul would go into music with the idea they were going to make a ton of money. It takes so much work and the success rate is very low, especially for the YouTubers. You have to work for free for so long. You work ridiculously long hours for so long and you don't see anything from it; and then, finally, it starts to grow. Now I'm getting shows and people are buying my music. I'm getting all kinds of cool opportunities. YouTube is such an awesome medium. Everyone I have met that is a YouTuber are only doing it because they are extremely passionate about what they do and they are hard workers. I love the artists that come from YouTube.
MS: You did a unique and fun cover of "Starships" by Nicki Minaj with Megan Nicole on vocals. You're not the first person I have interviewed that has covered it; what made you want to cover that song?
LS: I really learned a good lesson from "Starships". I look at that video and I really wasn't that passionate about that song. For me I was like: oh, wow, this is kind of a funky tune, it's popular right now. It fit well with Megan Nicole's demographic and I though they would really like it, and it was something new for me. I don't ever think I will do a project again because I think it will do well, I enjoy working on projects so much more when I am doing it because I love the music. That's what all my songs are except for the Nicki Minaj one. (laughs)
MS: My thing that I liked about it, in terms of you, is that it showed your versatility with the violin and it looked like you were really having fun!
LS: Oh, I did have fun when we filmed it. Megan Nicole is so awesome! But it is my least favorite song that I have done. But that's beside the point, I guess. (laughs)
MS: When you initially did your YouTube videos, your goal was to be on the "Ellen" show. I hear you still want to be on her show.
LS: Oh, my gosh, it's so funny. Someday I will make it onto that show.
MS: I know you will.
LS: It's funny, before I knew YouTube was a medium for anything but cats and dogs, I uploaded this video of myself playing violin and dancing around the living room with the intent to be on the "Ellen" show. Looking back on it, the video was pretty bad. (laughs) I submitted it to the show's website and nothing ever came of it. That video ended up going viral, and that's how I got contacted to be on "America's Got Talent". But, I know it is going to come full circle someday.
MS: You'll get on "Ellen," I can feel it.
LS: Well, thank you for that vote of confidence.
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