Violinist Stirling tracking new ground
January 27, 2015
In the early 2000s, violinist Linsdey Stirling found herself at a crossroads.
"I dipped my toes into all of these different styles and tried to rediscover myself because I had burned out on classical music," Stirling confessed during an interview with The Park Record. "I tried out many different styles of music and played and toured with a country band. I played with an indie rock back and I even improvised with pop music, because I wanted to make it fun again."
Then she heard "Bangarang" by dubstep artist Skrillex.
"I thought that style was so much fun," Stirling said. "It made me want to move and dance and I loved it.
"I found that didn’t just want to listen to it," she said. "I wanted to write and play it. That made my violin and passion about music come to life again and that’s why I stuck with it."
Stirling, who is making dubstep violin a musical genre, will be performing at the ASCAP Music Café on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m.
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"I’m so excited," said Stirling, who has performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. "I love coming to Utah. Any excuse I can get to come to Utah I’m always super excited about and to be in Park City will be such a cool event."
"I’m looking forward to be a part of ASCAP Café," she said. "My sound [mixer] has run sound for that event year after year and he has told me how cool it is to hear all of these bands, some who are really big, play in this intimate setting."
At first, Stirling thought about doing an acoustic set at the café.
"But I realized that wouldn’t really showcase what my music is," she said. "I will play a couple of stripped-down songs to fit in the intimate environment, but I will perform many of the songs how I normally play them. I do know I will have to adjust to a very small stage, I’m told, but I’ll do that when I get there."
Many people know Stirling as the hip-hop violinist who was on "America’s Got Talent" back in 2010, before releasing her self-titled debut album in 2012. The album was re-released in 2013 and peaked at No. 23 on Billboard 200 album chart.
Last year, Stirling released her sophomore album, "Shatter Me," which featured collaborations with Halestorm vocalist Lzzy Hale and Dia Frampton from the duo Meg & Dia.
"With ‘Shatter Me’ I wanted to dig a little deeper into what I wanted to do with my music," Stirling said. "My first album was fun and upbeat and I was experimenting with this new style of music and trying to see how it worked. So I wanted to write more in depth for the songs on ‘Shatter Me.’"
Stirling wanted to focus on specific themes and feelings in her new songs.
"I think you can hear that," she said. "It’s a little more emotional and the rises and falls are more dramatic.
"I pushed the electronic style envelope as well," Stirling said. "So, for the whole thing I stepped things up a bit."
However, the violinist found that to be a tad unnerving.
"It made the music more personal, so it was little scarier," she said. "I mean if people didn’t like it or tell me they didn’t connect with it, it’s harder for me because I put my past on a platter and these feelings are there for people to experience.
"It was also harder to open up in the studio with musicians I had just met and it was interesting writing with them about something that was deeply rooted inside of me," Stirling said. "However, being all said and done, when people come and tell me they have connected with it or share their experiences with the music, it means so much more, because it’s my soul that spoke to them."
Still, being a dubstep violinist has its challenges.
"Since I’m such a unique artist and come from a different platform and style, I feel like I have to over-prove myself before someone will believe in what I’m doing," Stirling said. "I still see that happen and I always feel that I have to work a little harder to prove this is not a gimmick and what I’m doing is real."
However, the violinist is comfortable with her musical path.
"I feel like I’m navigating through uncharted territory and figuring things out as I’m going along," she said. "It’s like I’m writing my own rulebook.
"It’s amazing to do what I want to and be my own boss," Stirling said. "The fact that I don’t have a record label to tell me what to do or when I can release things is so nice. It’s like being an author for my own story."
Throughout her career, Stirling has worked with an array of artists including the Piano Guys, Sam Tsui and singer Alex Boye.
She loves collaborating and there are so many people she wants to work with in the future.
"I think it would be fun to Hayley Williams [of Paramore], who is one of my favorite singers, or Ryan Tedder from One Republic," Stirling said. "I would also like to work with Skrillex, because he was the one who inspired me to do dubstep with violin. It’s a diverse group, but my music can fit wherever it wants to."
Violinist Lindsey Stirling will perform at the ASCAP Music Café, 752 Main St., on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m. The café is open to Sundance Film Festival credential holders as space permits. For more information, visit http://www.sundance.org . Stirling will also perform Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the Billboard Winterfest at Park City Live at 8 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.parkcitylive.net.