Music Features

Interview: Lindsey Stirling

By Oliver Lippert Apr 24, 2013, 16:25 GMT

Interview: Lindsey Stirling

(c) Universal Music; The dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling

I recently had the change to do an interview with famous dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling. She talked about how all started, how the world wide web help her, inspiration and much more. Hope you like this one as much as I do. Wish you a nice read.

Please introduce yourself and tell our readers how you got into music and what first sparked your interest in music.

My name is Lindsey Stirling, I am a dancing violinist, and I love cereal  ?  How did I get into music?  Neither of my parents were musicians, but both had an intense love and appreciation for the arts.  When I was young, every other family had a CD player, but our family listened to music on an old record player.  My dad had a library of classical LP’s he would play for my sisters and I, and we would dance and run in circles around the couch because we loved the music so much!  We never had a lot of money, but my dad was aways able to find free local orchestra concerts.  It became very obvious to me who the stars of the orchestra were!  When I was six, I begged my mom for lessons.  She was able to find ONE college student who was willing to rent me a violin and give me a fifteen minute lesson every week (because that is all she could afford).  I knew that it was a huge financial sacrifice for my family, and that unless I practiced they could no longer justify the cost of lessons, so I did (practice).  I have been playing nearly every day since!

You're very popular on YouTube and different other channels. Many people are wondering how a violinist came to dancing and not just standing more or less still like many other artists do. What inspired you to do this and mixed up with your playing?

When I was in high school I started playing with a punk rock band.  The music definitely was NOT classical and it would have looked silly rediculous for me to perform without moving around on stage a little.  During my senior year of high school, I entered a pageant to earn money for college.  I wanted my talent to „stand out,“ from the rest, so I added a simple dance routine in an effort to impress the judges.  It worked!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIp_Q4DQ8uU  Encouraged by this, I later released a video of myself doing a dancing routine to „Pump It“ by the Black-Eyed peas.  It became my first viral video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=janXm1thRhM
 
On your self-titled album are electronic / dub influences. What sparked your interest to do just that?

Honestly, it was my producer, Marco G’s idea.  I knew it was a popular genre, but I was a bit nervous about the project and worried that it would be criticized by „dubstep enthusiasts.“  But to my suprise, „Crystallize“ became my most popular single, by far!

You competed on the America’s got talent. Please tell us more about this experience.

I entered the reality-TV series with the idea that it was simply a talent show.  I had high hopes that I could actually win the thing.  I was devastated when I was cut out of the competition at the end of the quarter-finals.  At that point, I had to decide if the judges were right…did I really sound like “rats?”…should I find a “band” to play with?...or did I believed in myself enough to prove them wrong?  Ultimately, the experience gave me the determination and the strength to try again.  During the first few months following the show, my success was minimal, at best.  No one was interested in me.  I was told that I was “unmarketable.”  I tried everything, talked to everyone, and nothing was working out.  It wasn’t until I met Devin Graham and he helped me start my own YouTube channel that I started finding success.


Did YouTube made your dream possible? What do you thin was / is the promotional tool for you?

Absolutely.  If it weren’t for YouTube, I would still be playing for weddings and business conventions around the US (neither of which are my favourite) and begging for managers to look at me.  The great thing about YouTube is that anyone can use it, and if people like what they see, they share it.  The views speak for themselves.  No one can tell you “no” because you can do it yourself!  Of course, other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. have made a huge difference.


What are your tips to people who'd like to learn to play a violin? Is it easy, is itpossible to learn it without a teacher or do you suggest a guiding person to learn fast and that tells you what's wrong etc?

The violin, like any instrument, is not easy to learn.  But anyone, any age, can do it.  It has taken me 20 years to get to where I am now.  If you start now, you can do what I do in 20 years (probably less than that if you are dedicated).  I definitely do not recommend teaching yourself.  There are too many bad habits that can be learned and if not caught early, can become a real hindrance to your progress.  If you can’t afford lessons long term, I suggest investing in at least a couple months’ worth of lessons so that you can ensure a good start.


How was your experience in German while you were on tour here? Did you had the chance to see much of Germany besides the location you were playing?

I have absolutely loved being in Germany!  As much as I love the United States, the landmarks are relatively new.  Germany and Europe in general has SO many amazing landmarks and history behind them.  I was even able to visit the Berlin wall https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=559992430699615&set=a.227761060589422.61772.132255980139931&type=1&theater
The people here have been so amazing and fun to work with.  I can’t wait to come back!


What violins are you using and does they differ when it comes to studio recordings and live performances?

I play on a Roth Violin for most of my studio recordings.  When I perform with my Roth I use an LR Baggs pickup (which I love!)  I stopped using the Roth during my live performances because I sweat so much when I perform (eeeew lol!) and the excess moisture was starting to ruin the wood.  So I purchased a Luis and Clark carbon fiber violin and have been using it for my live performances ever since.  I also used it in my latest YouTube video collaboration with Pentatonix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE2GCa-_nyU  I call him “Nero” ?  I bought both violins from Robert Cauer Violins in Hollywood, California.  They are extremely knowledgeable and ship to all over the world.  I have several other violins, including my dear “Ingrid.”  I bought her on ebay for $40 and use her for many of my “dangerous” YouTube videos like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf6LD2B_kDQ  I also own a “Viper,” which I love!  Unfortunately, because of the way it straps on, I can’t dance AND hold it properly, so I am currently only using it for videos like “Phantom of the Opera”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCL94-MsxYc

If you can choose 3 dream violins for you use as a violinist – what would they be and why?

I think every violinist dreams of owning an original Stradivarius!  Obviously that’s out of my price range, but I can always dream, right?  I can’t say that I necessarily condone one violin or brand over another.  It’s like in Harry Potter when he was told that “The wand chooses the wizard.”  When I go to find a new violin, I go to Robert Cauer and try as many violins as I can get my hands on.  I spend hours comparing until I narrow my search down to one.  It honestly feels like the violin “chooses” me, because it just feels right, almost like it was made just for me.

Any famous last words to your fans / our readers?

Don’t let the world tell you who you are or what you can do.  You are the only one who can decide that for yourself.  Take inspiration from people you love and admire, and then make something great of yourself.  Love yourself and be the best you can be.  You are worth it.



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