With an individual style that combines traditional violin and dubstep, Lindsey Stirling is one of a kind. Nominated for a Billboard and Teen Choice Award, Lindsey features on the new Jessie J album, Sweet Talker.
It’s a far cry from America’s Got Talent in 2010, when judge Piers Morgan told Lindsey the world had no place for a dancing dubstep violinist. But being voted off at the quarter-finals turned out to be the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
With all that in mind, we introduce you to Lindsey’s second album, Shatter Me, which she released on September 1. It’s her first to include collaborations with others. The title track is a duet between Lindsey and Halestorm lead singer, Lzzy Hale.
We’d like to thank Lindsey for letting us have this exclusive interview.
Do you think growing up in Arizona influenced your musical taste and style?
Definitely. When I was in high school my favorite bands were The Format and Jimmy Eat World, both of which were bands formed in Arizona. My own high school rock band was Stomp on Melvin and we took a lot of inspiration from them.
Your music videos are beautiful – Shatter Me is no exception. Do you have creative input into how they are made, do you come up with the ideas for them?
I come up with my music video ideas. For me that is a huge part of my art. I was a film major in college and the music is not complete to me until I pair it with visuals in a music video. Sometimes I think of the video concept first, and then I’ll write the song to fit the idea. That was the case with Shatter Me, Shadows, V-Pop, and Roundtable Rival.
How did the collaboration with Lzzy Hale come about?
I wrote shatter me knowing that I wanted a strong female vocalist like Amy lee or Hayley Williams to song it. So I started looking for a singer in that world and when I found Lzzy, I knew she was perfect.
You’ve featured on the albums of several well-known international artists. Do you feel this experience has been beneficial to your own development as a musician?
Absolutely. I love collaborating because it makes me stretch the limits of my musical style but also, collaborating is a huge part of how I’ve been able to grow my audience. When no one knew who I was, I reached out to a variety of different YouTube artists and that’s how I originally grew an audience.
How does a classically trained violinist find their way to dubstep, and manage to successfully combine the two?
I had gotten burnt out on classical music. I just realized that I didn’t love playing any more. So rather than quitting, I thought: how can I make this fun again? I realized that I needed to play the kind of music I loved (like dubstep and dance beats) rather than just playing the music that has been played for violinists for hundreds of years. I wanted to make the violin for me rather than make me for the violin.
Do you believe your experience on America’s Got Talent was a help or a hindrance to your career?
I think it helped. It made me slightly recognizable but if I hadn’t worked relentlessly to continue after the show, I would have been completely forgotten.
In hindsight, would you advise up and coming artists to take the talent show route?
If you have a thick skin and if you can take criticism. Also you need to see it as a first step of your career and not a make or break moment.
Your second album, Shatter Me, was released on 1 September. How would you describe it to anyone who may not have heard you perform before?
It is a very cinematic and diverse album, that combines a fusion of classical and Celtic violin, electronic dance music, dubstep and even some rock. Wow, that’s a mouthful but those are the influences that went into all the different songs.
You have a huge online presence, and have amassed over 600 million YouTube views to date. How do you feel the internet has changed the way artists present and market themselves?
It’s really cool that the tools are there so that anybody can be an artist. There are no longer gatekeepers who decide what and who is worth investing in; you can invest in yourself. If you have talent, creative, and are willing to work hard, you have a chance to make a career for yourself.
How important a part do you consider social media (including your phenomenal YouTube presence) has played a part in your career?
It’s been everything to my career. For the first two years I used YouTube and social media as my sole marketing campaign and with that I sold 500,000 copies of my debut album. Prior to that no record label would take me.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far, and how do you see your music developing over the next few years?
I would say it’s the little moments when I realize how blessed I am. Looking out at a sold out crowd that is smiling and cheering and realizing that they all bought a ticket to see… Me. Wow. Or I was dressed in a steampunk western outfit, filming a music video that I designed and I just thought, I can’t believe that this is my job.
If you had your time over again, what would you do differently?
Ya know there really isn’t much I would change. I’m not perfect but I’ve learned from my mistakes, I’ve learned how to pick myself up from falls. Being successful is determined more by how you react to failure than how you react to success.
Lindsey will be touring with Shatter Me, and has included 3 Irish/UK dates. You can catch her in London on 6 November, followed by Manchester the following night, rounding it off with Dublin on the 8th. Tickets and further details are available from Ticketmaster.
Shatter Me is now available on iTunes.
Watch Shatter Me: