Posted March 11, 2013 by Jeff in Tunes

Lindsey Stirling: Making music and fans her way

When the judges voted her off the fifth season of America’s Got Talent in 2010, they told violinist Lindsey Stirling she had little chance of sustaining a successful recording career. Undaunted, Stirling, who blends classical music and hip-hop, released an EP followed by a self-titled full-length release that soared to the top of the Billboard charts. Stirling recently phoned in to speak about her success and her current tour.

Talk about your experience on America’s Got Talent.
Oh man, it was quite the adventure to say the least. It was a whirlwind experience. I was thrown trial-by-fire into performing live. In a lot of ways, I didn’t know what I was getting into. It was a really good experience because it gave me thicker skin. I was so inspired by all these other artists I met that were going after their dreams and throwing everything on the line to try to achieve what they wanted in life. Just because I was told no, that doesn’t mean that’s the answer. I wanted to find someone who said, “Yes.” It gave me the passion and drive to prove to myself that I could do it. But also to prove Piers Morgan wrong.

A couple of judges suggested you weren’t ready to perform on a large stage. Have you had contact with any of the judges since?
I have not had contact with them since. I thought it would be fun to be on the Piers Morgan show and sit in the chair and talk with him. Not even in an antagonistic way. I would just want to say something like, “Our paths cross again.” I think that would be pretty funny.

Talk about your background. At what point did you start mixing classical and hip-hop and what initially inspired you to do that?
Originally, I was trained classically. When I was a teenager, I started to get burned out. I used to love it and then was more of a chore. I was just doing it because I had put so much into it that I couldn’t quite. I wanted to make it fun again. I joined a rock band for a little bit. I played with them in high school and started doing talent competitions to try to earn money for college. I didn’t want to bore the audience or just impress them. I wanted them to have fun and I wanted to have fun; that’s the joy of performing. So I started mixing the violin with the kind of music that I liked, which was playing to hip-hop tracks on the radio . . . or dance music. I started creating original music shortly after America’s Got Talent.

What was it like to film the video for “Crystallize”?  Were those real caves of ice?
They’re real. They’re in Colorado. There’s this guy who builds them. It’s a tourist attraction. They used to be in Utah. That’s how I found out about them. It was freezing cold and a very miserable shoot, but definitely worth it.

I wanted [my music] to be something beautiful that anyone from a dubstep-loving teenager to my grandma could enjoy.

One fan wrote that you made “dubstep bearable.” Would you say that is one of your motives?
It’s funny. I like dubstep, even in its raw form. I enjoy it. It’s always been fun to me. My goal was to make it beautiful not just crazy and not just heavy. I wanted it to be something beautiful that anyone from a dubstep-loving teenage to my grandma could enjoy. That was my goal. I wanted to make it beautiful and melodic. I feel like I’ve succeeded with that with both “Crystalize” and “Elements.” It was a fun challenge. I love combining things that aren’t necessarily supposed to work.

Do you do the programming yourself?
I don’t. I worked with several producers. We co-write the beats together and I take the beats when we’re doing with them and write a violin part.

Talk about the live show and what material you’ve been covering.
Oh my goodness. I love performing so much. I still get excited to go onstage every single night. I feel so grateful to say that. Before touring, I wasn’t sure I would feel that way. We’ve done 70 shows and I still love it. It’s a rock show that features violin. It’s really energetic. I dance and run all over the stage for an hour and 15 minutes while I play. My band is extremely energetic as well. They jump and dance and rock out. It’s really fun. I have to smile when I look out and see the entire audience jumping with us or fist pumping. It’s awesome because it’s a violin concert and some guy will be head-banging and another will be twirling glowsticks.  It’s just fun because we get the most diverse crowd I’ve ever seen from little kids to rave kids to gamer fans. You have your couples in their sixties and seventies who just love the violin. To me, that makes it magic and fun and it’s a place where everybody can connect.

Would you ever want to have a show in Vegas?
That would be awesome to someday play in a Vegas show. I’ve thought of it. Not now by any means, but someday I would like to be a mom and have a family and settle down somewhere like Vegas. That would be amazing.

Tour Dates 

Monday, March 11

Tuesday, March 12

Wednesday, March 13

Thursday, March 14

Friday, March 15

Saturday, March 16

Monday, March 18

Tuesday, March 19

Wednesday, March 20

Thursday, March 21

Friday, March 22

Saturday, March 23

Monday, March 25

Tuesday, March 26

Thursday, March 28

Friday, March 29

Monday, April 1

Tuesday, April 2

Wednesday, April 3

Thursday, April 4

Friday, April 5

Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom

Indianapolis, IN – Deluxe

Cincinnati, OH – 20th Century Theatre

Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE

Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall

Pontiac, MI – Crofoot Ballroom

Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues

Buffalo, NY – The Town Ballroom

Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall

South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground, Showcase Lounge

Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre

Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre

Lawrence, KS – Granada Theatre

Omaha, NE – Slowdown

Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre

Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue

San Diego, CA – House Of Blues

Anaheim, CA – House Of Blues

San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom

Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda

Tempe, AZ – The Marquee



Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at