The Dancing Violinist - How Lindsey Stirling
Is Conquering YouTube One Video At A Time
Lindsey Stirling plays violin while dancing in outlandish costumes
on YouTube. And it’s great. The internet has given creative types
new ways to take charge of their art and work.
When Lindsey Stirling performed on America’s Got Talent, Piers
Morgan told her she sounded like “drowned rats being strangled.”
I’ve listened to well over a dozen of Stirling’s songs
and not one of them sounds rodent-like, let along like the rather redundant
sound of drowned rats being strangled.
Turns out, network television and traditional music studios were a
bad fit for Stirling, whose unique musical performances never really
took off until she took them to the internet.
“Before I learned of the world of YouTube, I tried the traditional,
non-social media route,” Lindsey tells me. “I feel like
I tried everything. I submitted videos and applications to talent agencies
and TV shows, I drove to Vegas and visited agents, I was on America’s
Got Talent, I played for free at venues in attempts to be “found”
and yet all the experts in the entertainment industry told me that what
I did was not marketable and that I had to join a group or do more traditional
Stumbling on YouTube as a venue for her work was an accident, Lindsey
says. She knew nothing about the online streaming video site until May,
2011 when cinematographer / director Devin Graham contacted her after
seeing a video of one of Stirling’s America’s Got Talent
Graham suggested a trade. He’d film a music video for Stirling
free of charge. The only thing she had to do was allow him to put it
on his YouTube channel.
“We filmed the video
and through it up on his YouTube channel which had an audience of 25,000
subscribers,” Stirling says. “The result was amazing. I
sold more songs on iTunes that month than I had the previous five months
Unlike the short spike of
attention she received after America’s Got Talent, the new YouTube
audience stuck around and began to grow.
Better still, Lindsey has
found that a musical career built around social media and the internet,
rather than through major record labels, has given her a tremendous
amount of creative freedom.
“The beautiful thing
about social media is that no one has to give you the green light signal
in order for you to do what you want to do,” she tells me. ”No
‘industry professional’ has to approve that what you are
doing will be successful.”
The music and music videos
Lindsey makes are hardly traditional themselves.
What first drew me to Lindsey’s
work was her cover of the Skyrim theme song.
Skyrim, the fifth of Bethesda’s
epic open-world role-playing-games, already has a lovely score, but
Stirling’s version is much more dramatic. And the video is epic.