Anyone with a video camera and a version of “Harlem Shake” can score a few watches on YouTube. But reaching more than 250 million total views—as violinist, composer and choreographer Lindsey Stirling has done on her channel—requires hitting a few octaves higher up on the talent scale.
With 20 years of violin playing, choreographing and dancing behind her, Stirling, 26, has achieved nine-digit views on YouTube and sold out national and international tours by infusing her classical-violin skills with the warbling bass and heavy electronic overtones of dubstep—a style she describes as “rave-rock.”
“I was burnt out on [playing] and wanted to make it fun again,” Stirling says. “When I started creating my own original music, I took all the influences [Vanessa Mae, Passion Pit and Skrillex] that were my favorite and combined them into my own style.”
Stirling began writing original compositions while attending Brigham Young University. Then she began posting videos on YouTube and furthering her pursuit in creating her fusion-centric sound with breakthrough singles released beginning in 2010, on which her influences can be heard. “I didn’t realize what a huge genre it was,” Stirling says, at first overwhelmed by the whole prospect of dubstep. Living in Provo and, previously, in her hometown of Gilbert, Ariz., she hadn’t really been exposed to the unfathomable enormity and various stylings within dubstep, she says.
But now, with a few years of experience, she’s hit her stride, aided by collaborations with various artists. The most notable was with cinematographer Devin Graham, first on “Spontaneous Me,” which launched her career. Next, the “Zelda Medley”—where Stirling’s attire and moves reflect the video game’s characters—with Graham solidified her as a cult favorite in the gamer world.
These collaborations and their outcome have encouraged her to push her art. “When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel so much like work,” Stirling says. “I can write music all day and work on videos nonstop, because I absolutely love what I’m doing.”
Stirling is the chief choreographer and director for these heavily trafficked videos, some of which were shot along the Wasatch Front, providing a stunning, localized backdrop. Each video—with her quirky dancing, manic violin-playing and intricate costumes complemented by her pixie hairstyle—tells a personal story.
One of her first, “Transcendence,” is about breaking free from the confines and restrictions placed upon us by today’s expectations, Stirling says. That taps into one of the genuine, humble and original artist’s core beliefs: “I try to share the idea that you don’t have to be inside the box and you can be who you want to be.”
In the Venue
219 S. 600 West
Friday, March 29
$20 in advance, $23 day of show