LINDSEY STIRLING's spectacular Wanderland journey yet
Lindsey Stirling and her violin have been blessing us with her talent for years. Her experimental, bold, and positive music productions have been her trademarks but one should not discount the layers of emotions embedded in her music. Like her music, Lindsey is beautifully complex yet beaming with light and positivity.
In this interview, multi-hyphenate Lindsey Stirling opens up about her influences, her journey as an artist, and her processes in production.
Using her talents, creativity and positivity, discover how she masters the seamless harmony of dance, sound, emotions, music, media, and art.
Who or what do you think shaped your musical style?
Goodness…so many things.
I guess it started with my upbringing. My parents were both very passionate about music, and my dad in particular loved old favorites like Simon and Garfunkel, The Beatles, old country songs, movie musicals, and the classical orchestra. One of my favorite memories of my dad is watching him deliberately pulling out an LP from his collection and delicately placing it onto our old record player.
This often preceded one of my favorite three-year-old pastimes, which was to run around the couch as music blasted from the speakers. In my later childhood years I remember listening to my dad sing along to his favorite pop songs; he was always so theatrical about it! I honestly think that his primary motive in doing this was to make my mother and sisters and I laugh. And I believe that’s where my love of music came from.
Music, to me, meant joy. Creating joy is the biggest motivating factor for me when I create my music.
Laughter, they say, is often the best medicine, and I believe that music has a similar ability to heal. If I can get people to smile; if I can bring them joy and make them happy…there’s no greater reward than that.
Personally, how would you describe your style?
I’ve played with a lot of different styles because I don’t want to be that artist who creates 100 songs that all sound the same. If I had to choose one genre, I’d probably put myself closest to the classical crossover and/or EDM category. I’ve done some dubstep, orchestra movie-theme-style music, quite a few medleys/covers, pop, and even some rap.
Though my music is somewhat diverse, the one thing I try to keep consistent in all of my music is the “light” in it.
I want my music to be powerful…whether it’s calming, motivating, tear-jerking, or just the kind of song that makes a person smile from ear to ear. If I can get my listeners to react emotionally to the music I create, I count it as a win.
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
Some of my biggest inspiration has come from working with other artists and other YouTubers. Devin Graham (devinsupertramp) was the first person who truly took an interest in me and taught me the ins and outs of YouTube. I’ve learned something new from each collaboration, especially early on in my career. When I was a young and budding violinist, it was violinists like David Garrett and Vanessa Mae who broke the classical mold and made me believe that I could do the same.
Several pop artists I’ve fallen in love with over the years hold a special place in my heart: Weezer/Michael Jackson/Pink/Ellie Goulding/Avril Lavigne. Most predominantly, the influence of my life experiences and all of the people, emotions, struggles, and triumphs that come along with it has had the biggest impact on the music I create.
So many of my “best” work has been “born” through strong emotion and difficult circumstances…like a catalyst. I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ (Mormon), and was taught to rely on God, especially when life hits hard. So when catalysts (trials) hit, I do my best to allow God to take the reins and lead me where I need to go next.
Ultimately, we create music together along the way. I’m glad He’s willing, because the resulting masterpieces end up being a whole lot more epic than anything I ever could have come up with on my own ;)
Can you walk us briefly to your creative process? Are you usually hands-on with every step of the way in production?
When I first started out as a career musician and performer, I did pretty much everything myself: planning, costumes, writing, production, editing videos…I was seriously wearing myself out. My manager, Adina, finally insisted I hire some extra help and delegate the work. Trusting other people to do what I’d always done for myself was a SERIOUS struggle for me…but she was right. I was killing myself trying to do it all. Slowly but surely I did let go of some of the control and found people who I could trust to help me who were also willing to allow me to be part of the creative process.
To this day, I still come up with a lot of my costume designs and then allow designers to make those designs a reality for me. I come up with most of my own ideas and work cooperatively with my directors and managers before and during production for my videos and tours. I prefer to work together with music producers in the studio to create the backtracks for my songs. The one thing I still like to do myself is editing my videos - for a lot of reasons.
My videos are my babies.
Is there a particular favorite from all the videos that you edited yourself?
I have several favorite videos:
“Roundtable Rival”- It’s just so much fun, the costumes and set were awesome and it was just a blast to create that story.
“Lost Girls”- It was so beautiful, I thought the story was well told, and it told a powerful metaphor that meant a lot to me personally.
“I Wonder As I Wander”- I loved the contrast of the dark verses light and the visuals complemented the music perfectly to create a powerful feeling.
Why do you think visuals, movement and dance have been constantly present in your works?
Ever since I was really little I’ve loved to dance. Being a modest child (ha!), I wanted both violin and dance lessons, but my parents insisted I choose one or the other. Ultimately I chose the violin, but this didn’t stop me from studying professional dancers and figure ice skaters from the Olympics and practicing their moves in my living room.
In later years I used YouTube as my primary dance lesson reference. Media was a big part of my upbringing, as my dad wrote screenplays and stories and dreamed of one day being a famous writer in Hollywood himself. He gave up that dream in lieu of a more “practical” career…so that he and my mom could pay for things like my sisters’ and I to have music lessons. Regardless, I loved listening to his stories, and from him I learned to create my own.
As a teenager, my friends and I passed the time by filming and editing music videos and showcasing them to our peers. When I entered college at BYU, I started as a film major.
I guess the bottom line is that I’ve always had a love for all three of these things (visuals, movement/dance, and music), and I’ve never quite had the heart to leave one behind or focus on just one of them…so I found a way to implement them all.
What’s your recipe for success and how do you stay relevant and successful throughout the years?
Staying true to yourself and what you believe and having a deep-seeded respect for yourself and others - I believe that that’s the foundation of any successful person or venture.
You have to be 100% committed to and completely in love with what you have to offer. Being flexible, teachable, brave, willing, and adaptable are important. And enthusiasm is contagious! If you believe that your ‘product’ is worth it, others will start to see and believe in it’s worth as well.
Teaming with Evanescence this summer on tour was probably my biggest dream collaboration made reality. Other dream collaborations would be producing a single with Ellie Goulding, being co-actress in a movie with Chris Pratt, and I would be tickled pink to be on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
Top 3 music in your playlist?
I'm in Christmas mode so I am listening to Jordan Smith’s Christmas album lately.
What can fans expect from your upcoming The Wanderland Tour?
I seriously can’t wait to get back on the road! If you haven’t seen a show before, my tours are a lot like my YouTube videos: awesome music (if I do say so myself), amazing dancing (shameless plug for my incredible backup dancers), artistic video and powerful lighting that will make you feel like you’re right there experiencing everything with me. I’ll try my darn best to make you laugh, and maybe even make you cry a little bit. Expect a lot of Christmas music from my new album and a few classics as well.
Any advice you can give to any upcoming artist out there?
Be patient. There’s a right place and a right time for everything. Keep your moral compass straight and don’t allow anyone or anything, no matter how lucrative it may seem, to steer you in a direction you don’t feel comfortable with. Consistent, relentless belief…with time…becomes reality. You can do it!
If you were a book, what book would you be and why?
I would have to say The Only Pirate at the Party becaaaause I wrote it :P Apart from that, I’d say Lord of the Rings because it’s the most epic adventure of all time. It also brings back memories of my dad, who taught me to live life as an adventure.
Lindsey is currently touring the U.S. until December 22, 2018.
For more details on her Wanderland Tour, check out her website!