Last Thursday night a crowd built up in Downtown Los Angeles, gathering to see violinist Lindsey Stirling. Touring in support of her album Shatter Me, the artist’s associations to EDM and dubstep have gained her a major following, evidenced by the variety of people in attendance. From seven to seventy, dressed in outfits ranging from business suits to belly dancing get-ups, dates, friend groups, families and single folks on the lookout for new prospects – you name it and it was there. Stirlings’ assorted mix of classical violin training, Celtic folk sounds and energy of electronica is a source of fascination for many types of people. And if playing a fast beat on violin isn’t impressive enough, she dances across the stage like an ice skater while she performs.
In 2007 Stirling introduced her talent to the world through her YouTube channel, Lindseystomp. Three years later Stirling competed on the fifth season America’s Got Talent and made it all the way to the quarterfinals. Though she was voted off the show, Stirling continued to make videos for her channel, with a bigger following than ever. After releasing her debut studio album in 2012 she toured extensively in the U.S. and gained yet more recognition when she was featured in the Church of Latter Day Saints’ “I’m a Mormon” campaign. In it, Stirling talked about how her faith had helped her get through her adolescence with anorexia. But her biggest break yet came when Stirling was signed by Troy Carter – Lady Gaga’s manager – in 2013.
Carter’s influence is acutely felt in Stirlings’ live performance; the entire show was full of quirky, creative pauses. Between songs she carried out mid-speech costume changes, had the audience members introduce themselves to the strangers beside them and showed a slideshow of her childhood self. She even spent the second half of the show dancing around the stage barefoot.
It was the second year anniversary of Stirlings’ first performance with her band, and it was obvious that there was an electric energy on stage and in the crowd. Stirling never had a still moment. She moved around like a ballerina turned rave-fairy and to add interest she had two impressive (and gorgeous) hip-hop dancers shadowing her. The peak of the performance came during her hit song “Shatter Me” when Lzzy Hale joined the band on stage for a vocal performance that matched Stirlings’ showmanship to the letter.
Stirling had originally wanted to become a therapist, and though her fans are eternally grateful she did not pursue that career path, she stayed true to her nurturing nature: in the middle of the show she gave a pep talk to those who felt alone and encouraged them to reach out if they felt desperate. This act of kindness added even more depth and heart to an already powerful and moving performance that puts her in a class of her own.