Documentary chronicles Arizona Internet sensation, classical violinist Lindsey Stirling
PHOENIX — Only one person can play a particular kind of music and deliver such a unique performance. Her name is Lindsey Stirling.
The Gilbert, Ariz. native soared to popularity by showing her talents as an electrifying violinist to the masses via YouTube, and there’s no stopping her now. Her performances are beyond your typical classical concert.
“I can jump, twirl; I do back bends and kicks,” Sterling said, describing her style as she flawlessly moves while mastering her violin, bow in hand.
Sterling began playing the violin when she was 6. Her parents loved classical music and it quickly enveloped her, too. For the next decade, she devoted her training to being the best at playing the greatest classical music.
“I played and was classically trained until I was 16 and I just got pretty burned out,” she said.
Her passion turned into boredom. She realized that she needed a challenge.
“A light bulb just went on in my head,” she said enthusiastically. “I need to play the music I love and the kind of music I like to listen to, rather than playing what everyone has played for hundreds of years.”
And so she did.
She became a creator — writing and finding a way to express herself. She joined a rock band in high school and soon thereafter, her parents bought her an electric violin. From there, creativity took over.
“I fused all my favorite things: rock and roll, electronica, Celtic,” she explained.
And all of those influences led to the unique, eclectic style Stirling plays today.
Stirling was first introduced to the masses after her appearance on the reality TV show “America’s Got Talent” in 2010. Though she did not win the competition, it opened the door to bigger and greater endeavors.
The 28 year-old later took to stardom on YouTube in 2012 when her song “Crystallize” became one of the top 10 most watched videos of the year, with over 42 million views. Since then, her videos have tallied over 760 million views on YouTube, where she’s amassed more than 5.5 million subscribers.
Her contemporary dance choreography has become a key part of her performance, complementing her compositions and musical talent.
“I remember looking back at when I first started trying to move and play,” she recalled. “I was a boring performer.”
Her style has evolved, from awkward and stiff to instinctive and graceful.
“I feel that I am not true to performing if I do it any other way,” she said.
In 2012, she launched her self-titled first album, selling more than 350,000 copies in the U.S. It reached the top of the Billboard Dance/Electronic Chart and Billboard Classical Album Chart.
Her latest album, “Shatter Me,” debuted in April 2014, at No. 2 on the billboard Top 200 album chart. This time, the tracks include several voices, such as Halestorm’s lead singer Lizzy Hale. She also performs with The Voice runner up Dia Frampton of Meg & Dia.
Stirling has also shared musical credits with John Legend, in creating a video of Legend’s hit song “All of Me.”
On Dec. 9, 2014, Stirling will share more than just her talents with her fans.
At 8 p.m. MST, Ovation TV will premiere a two-part “Song by Song” series featuring in-depth and behind-the-scenes insights from Stirling and the people who’ve helped push her career forward. The second episode will air in the same time slot on Dec. 16.
“I’m so excited for this documentary piece to come out,” she said. “To share the back story of really how I write and how I became the way I am. How my art form evolved.
“The show opens people up to a whole other side of me,” she said.
Stirling is still touring worldwide, as more plans for new videos are in the works.
As for her advice for young artists struggling to keep hold of their particular passion, it’s pretty simple.
“It’s so important to do the boring stuff,” she said. “But then give yourself a little reward.”
For Stirling, that reward was to take a break from classical training and play rock and roll and hip hop.
Stirling’s videos can be seen on her website.