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The Fantastically Romantic Reality of Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey Stirling may, technically, be yet another YouTube-sensation-turned-legitimate-musical star, but she’s likely the only one whose aesthetic is equally indebted to modern dance, Mozart, and Nintendo… Her self-titled debut album hit shelves today, September 18th, but there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with her work. After all, she has over 100 million views on YouTube; has sold over 300,000 songs; and even shined out as a finalist on America’s Got Talent. Lindsey’s appeal comes not only from the fact that she uses her violin to produce electronic sounds that usually fall into the realm of hip-hop and dubstep, but that the music is only part of the equation, as she also incorporates dance into these performances… while she’s playing the violin. These postmodern, multi-discipline spectacles that Lindsey produces can be found on her YouTube channel, Lindseystomp.

I recently got a chance to catch up with Lindsey to chat about her debut album, upcoming tour dates (which includes a 9/23 stop at World Café Live), and just what is the demographic that’s digging her sounds so much. “My biggest pockets of followers are dubstep followers and gamers,” she tells me. She’s actually become a bit of an icon in the gaming world, thanks to her interpretations of themes to video games like Zelda and Skyrim. She recently even got a chance to perform at video game convention E3. She tells me that she’s not necessarily surprised by attracting this demographic, as they do tend to be the most tech-savvy: “It’s not that surprising. I get most of my publicity online and who’s online the most? The gamers.”

However, for her first proper LP, she had something different in mind than game theme covers: “I’m really excited that it’s all original music. It’s all electronic style music, which is my favorite kind of music… lots of dubstep.” Her songs play a bit like the journey of a digitized fairy tale… they’re quite inspiring, yet often quite icy. Lindsey is an incredibly calculated storyteller and, even without words, she rarely enables you to leave her tale. She admits that she does appreciate this recent shift in mainstream trends that has posited electronic, instrumental music as a primary genre of pop: “I love that electronic is coming more to the forefront and seeing these huge festivals where producers and DJs are treated like rock stars.”

In fact, 2012 had Lindsey experience some of her first rock star treatment… which was, somehow, accidental. She tells me that the highlight of 2012 thus far was her trip to Italy: “The Italy tour was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.” The trip proved to be much different than what she had in mind. She tells me that she booked all of the shows herself and assumed that the other bands on the bill were famous and she would simply be the opening act… but that’s not quite what happened… She was, in fact, the main attraction:

“I got there and saw posters with my face on them all over town. Apparently they had been promoting the show for six months as being ‘this huge artist from America.’ These people were tricked into thinking I’m like a super celebrity. At the festival people were freaking out and would run up to me and wanted pictures with me.”

While she might not yet be receiving this type of Beatlemania in the states, her tour, which kicks off this Saturday in Connecticut, is selling out quickly (In fact, GA tickets for Sunday night’s show at World Café Live are sold out and only VIP Meet-And-Greet tickets are still available.) These dates will feature a new kind of a show for Lindsey: “I’m gonna have a band travelling with me. Before that I just played with tracks.” She also tells me that her dancing will be just as central to the performances as her music. And she promises that the setlists will all contain covers, originals, and, of course, gaming music.

Although very little about Lindsey Stirling would seem to be “traditional,” aside from her weapon of choice (musically speaking, that is), the origins of her goals and accomplishments are as classical of a romance narrative as they come (or at least enough to rival Zelda): “My dad is a huge inspiration to me; he sacrificed a lot for his daughters. He always read us bedtime stories that were his own movie scripts and I would be like, ‘I want to live a life like yours, with crazy adventures.’ I can now tell him that I’m living those dreams that I wanted to have as a kid.”