How Lindsey Stirling's Violin Made Her a YouTube Superstar

Violinist Lindsey Stirling is one of the biggest musical artists on all of YouTube, and once you've seen one of her gorgeous violin videos, it's easy to understand why. Lindsey has managed to take one of classical music's stuffiest instruments and turn it into an instrument of pop. Lindsey spoke with us to share why what she does is so important to her.

Which female icon do you look up to most?

Lucy from I Love Lucy has always been one of my favorite female icons. She's just so cute and funny!

Who's your favorite violinist character from movie, TV or books?

I used to watch a DVD my mom got me of BOND all the time. I actually auditioned for that group years later and was runner up for the spot. They asked me to come back and audition again soon after but I didn't feel good about it. I was keen on having my own act, as risky as it seemed to go that route at the time. But I pursued it anyway. For a long time after that I wondered if I shouldn't have taken that gig with BOND because things didn't seem to be working out for me, but eventually thing did work out.

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?

I'd love to collab with Ellie Goulding, Amy Lee, and David Guetta. Wish Michael Jackson were still here.

What's your dream meal?

Definitely my mom's homemade beans on a warm tortilla. With sharp cheddar cheese and salsa.

What album defined your childhood?

Borodin's Polovtsian Dances. My sisters and I used to run and dance around the couch in the living room listening to that and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.  Both were LPs…our family didn't get a CD player until I was like 8. 

Do you have any kind of pre-show ritual? If so, what is it?

I always warm up somewhere private. I like to meditate to clear my head, and then I gather everyone together to pray before every show.

What's the last song you had stuck in your head?

"Shut Up and Dance" – Walk the Moon

What's your favorite guilty pleasure movie?

Our family watches A Christmas Story and eats Chinese food. Every. Year.

What's one simple thing that always makes you smile?

There's nothing like a cheesy joke or a cute puppy.

How exactly did you stumble upon your talents for pop violin? Was is scary to venture away from classical music to try it out? 

I wouldn't call it scary at all. I was literally burnt out on classical so I started looking for ways to enjoy violin again. I loved pop music, so I started gravitating towards that and learned to improvise to popular songs on the radio. The opportunity came to join a local rock band, and I was totally stoked about that. The guys I performed with encouraged me to smile and dance a little bit for entertainment value, so I started experimenting and pushing the boundaries in those areas. It all came pretty naturally, and I just kept expanding and experimenting with all the "crazy" ideas I had in my head.

What made you decide to eventually share those talents with the world through YouTube? How do you think being part of the YouTube community has changed your life?

YouTube was a fairly new thing when I really discovered it back in about 2007. It was a place where people uploaded videos about their pet cat, or their kid's talent show performance…nothing very professional. I had been experimenting with dancing and violin playing for awhile, and then I got the crazy idea in college to choreograph and perform to "Pump It" by the Black-Eyed Peas.

To my astonishment, the video went viral. Shortly after uploading that video, a lot of tempting opportunities presented themselves, including an offer to be an animated character in L.A and I even got contacted by the people from The Ellen DeGeneres Show (two things I still want to do but have never done). Problem was, I had committed to serve an LDS mission in New York, so I chose to turn down the offers. Honestly it wasn't the easiest choice to make! When I got home 18 months later, I auditioned for America's Got Talent. And shortly after that, Devin Graham (devinsupertramp) contacted me and helped me shoot my first professional video. That's when everything changed for me.

What advice do you have for other aspiring musicians who want to venture into the unknown and try something no one else has one before? 

That's really the only way to do it… do something different. People aren't really interested in seeing or hearing what has already been done before.  We live in a society where people are always looking for the next cool thing, so when you have a crazy idea, consider it. It might not be so crazy after all.

What are you working on next?

After tour I'm going back to L.A. to work on another album.  I'll probably be doing some touring to promote my autobiography/memoir that's currently up for pre-sale. 

 Love Lindsey Stirling? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and check out our 2014 interview with Lindsey in the related news!