Lindsey Stirling: Debuting Her New Album and Shattering Expectations

/ Apr 25, 2014

Eric Ryan Anderson_LStirling-57

Entering the premises, one immediately takes note: There’s thunder in the halls of YouTube Space LA tonight.

It’s a Tuesday, and the corridors of the digital platform’s creative HQ are reverberating with the strains of one wickedly precise violin. We’ve gathered at the Space to celebrate the release of Lindsey Stirling’s new album, “Shatter Me,” as well as the debut of her latest music video of the same name, which was also shot at the Space. The main hall is decorated in honor of the superstar, and her music is shaking the rafters, providing an electric energy throughout the room.

Stirling, whose meteoric rise in the world of music recently saw her nominated for a Billboard Award alongside the likes of Lady Gaga and Daft Punk, is the definition of an artist whose work transcends platform. After being summarily overlooked on “America’s Got Talent,” the young artist turned her YouTube channel into a proving ground that has launched an explosive career.

When I sit down with Stirling before the evening’s events kick into full gear, she is reverent of the impact YouTube has made on her life. Furthermore, the artist leaves no doubt as to why she chose to have her release party at the Space. For Lindsey Stirling and YouTube, it’s a celebration that goes hand-in-hand.

Stirling Party 3“It’s kind of surreal to come here tonight and see everyone preparing, knowing it’s all for me,” Stirling tells me. “It’s been everything to be able to be a YouTube artist. I was the artist that got told, ‘No, no, no.’ I was told, ‘You’re not what we’re looking for, you need to change.’ It’s amazing that through the social media model, you get to do it your own way, in your own style, and in your own time. You don’t have to wait for somebody to tell you’re ready. You can start by making videos in your bedroom, which is what I did. You can build a following up through social media, through hard work, and through collaborating. It’s a very community-based platform. It’s family. We all support each other. This new album says a lot about me and who I am, and I’m excited to be here at YouTube, the place that supported me and gave me the ability to live my dream.”

Because Stirling has had such crossover success from YouTube into the world of traditional media, talk inevitably turns to the fading stigma of the “internet personality” in the traditional world. We both recall a time, not so long ago, when mainstream media kept those whose success was found online at an arm’s length, treating it as a very different entity. However, thanks largely to artists like Stirling, who show that talent transcends space, these opinions are vastly changing. We’re seeing a culture emerging where art is more important than platform, and it excites Stirling to no end.

“I think there is still a little bit of a stigma,” she says, “where ‘YouTube artist means this and this is the real world artist,’ but that stirling party 4line is starting to be blurred. That crossover is happening, and it’s exciting. The rules are changing…we’re almost to a place where there are no rules. Last year, my goal was to be one of the artists to bridge that gap, and it’s been really exciting to see my friends and myself being a part of that change.”

With her album’s aforementioned attention from the Billboard Awards, there is little doubt that Stirling is a definitive cog in that change, and each passing endeavor bridges the gap. Furthermore, for the attention that her work has received, there is a whole generation of fans who are looking to the violinist to continue breaking the mold. Since her previous efforts have had such a significant impact critically and commercially, I can’t help but ask Stirling what her fans can expect from “Shatter Me.” True to character, the bubbly star seems set to exceed everyone’s hopes.

“With this album I think I pushed the envelope a little more,” Stirling tells me. “My first album was like tipping my toe in the water, mixing electronica with classical. This time, I feel like I really went in hard and in your face. I tried more styles. I think my fans will like it, but I also think electronica fans will relate to it, as well. Thematically, this album is all about discovery and breaking free. I hope that people can sense that in the melodies. The lows are more stressful and the highs are more victorious. I hope people feel that story and feel like I’ve took them on a journey.”

Self-discovery, I find, is a theme that is very important to Stirling. When we expand on the topic, she reveals that it’s not just something she wants to communicate via her music. Stirling is committed to helping her fans understand the importance of celebrating themselves in whatever way possible, because she knows how detrimental it can be when the world tells you otherwise.

“I love to do motivational speaking for teenagers,” Stirling says. “I love to share with them that ‘You’re the person who says who you are.’ We so often get told who we are, what we can do, what we can’t do. When I was on ‘American’s Got Talent,’ I got told I would never succeed. I love showing that video to people, because who really is anyone to tell you what you can or can’t do? The ball is always in our court to make our history happen.”

Certainly, Lindsay Stirling has not just taken the ball into her own court, she’s rewritten the rules of her game. It’s a story that many can look to and aspire toward. But, the superstar isn’t the type to slow down now that she’s achieved her dreams. In fact, she tells me, this is merely impetus to reach that much higher. As we part ways, I ask her what could possibly be next, and she proved, as Lindsay Stirling does, that she’s not only dreaming of success, she’s going to shatter the boundaries to get there.

“I have a tour coming up in a couple months, which I’m really excited about. I also want to start collaborating with traditional media artists. I’d love to do collabs with Zedd, Avicii, or Paramore. Collaborating is what creates the chemistry of YouTube, and I want to do that elsewhere, too!”

Header image: Eric Ryan Anderson

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  • Anita Varrati

    I had the opportunity to attend the YouTube video launch. I agree that Lyndsey Stirling is a talented and exciting new artist. I am a fan.

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