Today, getting eliminated from a television reality show can sometimes be a great career move.
Winning a competition-based series like “American Idol” or “So You Think You Can Dance” doesn’t always translate into real-world success. And for those former contestants with enough determination to succeed, the exposure gained from performing in front of such a large audience might be just the lift they need to continue the pursuit of their dreams.
Take for example, the case of Lindsey Stirling. Branded as a “hip-hop violinist” during her 2010 stint on the program “America’s Got Talent,” Stirling was able to make the show’s quarter-finals. However, after leaving “Talent” the young musician has gone on to even greater success releasing two critically-acclaimed albums and completing multiple global tours.
Northeast Underground recently got the chance to catch up with Stirling via e-mail just prior to the release of her second record Shatter Me, which she’s currently promoting with a worldwide tour. Read below to check out highlights from the conversation.
Underground: First off, what led to your study of the violin? What is your musical background?
Stirling: Though not musicians themselves, my parents were both avid music enthusiasts. The moment any of us expressed any kind of interest in an instrument, my mom especially encouraged us and helped us in working towards whatever endeavors we wished. My sister Brooke picked up the cello and Jennifer still plays trumpet professionally. I was attracted to the violin because when I was young, my dad would take our family to free orchestra concerts at the park. It didn’t take long for me to figure out who the stars of the orchestra were! Then one day I saw Itzhak Perlman on Sesame Street and I was sold! At six years old, I started begging my parents for lessons.
What was your first impression of performing live?
As a child I loved the attention I got from playing at recitals. In high school I craved the “high” of performing on stage and started playing in a band called “Stomp on Melvin.” My first major solo performance was for the America’s Junior Miss Pageant. In an attempt to impress the judges, I wrote my own “rock” song and added dance moves for added appeal. Well…it worked (I won!) I absolutely loved it; couldn’t wait to get on stage again.
How would you describe the experience of performing solo concerts now?
Touring is a dream come true for me. I absolutely love the energy that comes from having a live audience; I feel like that energy brings out my best. It’s euphoric; there’s nothing like it. Granted I always get a little nervous right before I perform, but once I’m on stage there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
How would you characterize the audience reaction to your music and shows?
Every show is a little different, especially when comparing continents haha. But I have to admit, I have some of the most genuine, energetic, Best. Fans. Ever. It still blows my mind that enough people are excited and willing to pay to come see me perform, and that they keep coming back. I’m so very grateful for their support and for the energy that they bring to my shows.
What goes through your mind when you perform?
When I’m in “the zone,” nothing haha. Just pure joy and appreciation for what I am able to do, what I am able to give, and [the] exchange of energy between myself and the audience. It’s a beautiful thing
What do you think about collaborating with other artists? You’ve worked with Pentatonix, John Legend, and more. How do these collaborations come about?
I have always felt that collaborations were important. First of all, they are SO much fun! I’m a solo act, so whenever I get to duet, etc. with another artist I absolutely love it. I love people, love meeting people, love making new friends. Secondly, it was absolutely critical to my success early-on as a musician. Collaborating with another artist meant that I would be seen by their fans, many of whom would become my fans too. And vice versa. It’s a win-win all around.
Watch Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix perform a cover of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” here:
What is your personal songwriting process like? How does your process differ when you work with others?
Some artists are super easy to collab with. When I really click with an artist, it seriously feels like we are reading each other’s minds as we exchange ideas and write haha. Normally when I work with producers, I like to go into the studio and then we start throwing out ideas/working together to create a track. If I can’t get into the studio, sometimes a producer will send me a bunch of ideas, I pick ones I like, and we go from there.
What’s it like to dance while performing music? Do you prepare in any special way to keep fit for your shows?
Haha...yeah. Actually I just started rehearsing for my upcoming tour and WOW. I realized how outta shape I am. Soooooo I bought myself some running shoes :P
How do you feel now about your time spent on “America’s Got Talent”? How did you feel about your time on the show during its filming?
At the time I was excited to be on the show; taking it all in. I was anxious, nervous, excited, shocked…it was a huge learning experience, and I’m so grateful for it. The rejection was devastating, but it ultimately fueled my desire to prove them wrong.
What do you make of your role in the realm of social media? Your use of YouTube has had a noticeable impact on your career.
Social media has made all the difference. I didn’t have a manager or TV promotion or an agent or money or…anything. Starting out, I was totally self-promoted through YouTube and through the collaborations I did with other artists, starting with Devin Graham. He helped me create my first music video and promoted me on his channel. His fans became my first fans. And everything snowballed from there.
How would you describe your current sound?
EDM, electronic, dubstep, classical crossover
How has your music evolved?
My biggest challenge in creating my second album was making it sound “different” without losing “my” sound. I worked with several different producers on this album as well as several collabs. This album is the first time I have ever done any original songs with singers or lyrics. My music has always had a message/meaning, but being able to spell out exactly what I’m trying to say has been a very unique experience for me.
Watch the official video for “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling and featuring Lzzy Hale of Halestorm here:
What might audiences expect or not expect at a typical Lindsey Stirling show?
You can expect to see a dancing violinist, Drew [Steen] on drums and Gavi [aka Jason Gaviati] on keys, I’ve got several backup dancers lined up, awesome lights, an amazing set, stellar music (if I do say so myself). Can’t miss! :D
What are some future projects or recordings you have planned?
I would love to do a Christmas album and possibly release a “covers” album in the near future. I’d love to collaborate with some of my favorite artists like Ellie Goulding, Hayley Williams, Amy Lee, David Guetta…
Anything personally you would you like to talk about or maybe elaborate on?
What are some final thoughts you would like to share with the readers of this article?
Thank you for taking the time to read this article about me haha. Hope to see you on tour!
For more information on Lindsey Stirling please visit www.lindseystirling.com.
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