Lindsey Stirling

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Lindsey Stirling
Lindsey Stirling.jpg
Stirling performing at TEDxBerkeley in 2012
Background information
Born(1986-09-21) September 21, 1986 (age 27)
Santa Ana, California, United States
GenresElectronic, classical crossover, dubstep
OccupationsMusician, performance artist, composer, dancer
Associated actsTyler Ward, Owl City, Lzzy Hale, Pentatonix
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For the album, see Lindsey Stirling (album).
Lindsey Stirling
Lindsey Stirling.jpg
Stirling performing at TEDxBerkeley in 2012
Background information
Born(1986-09-21) September 21, 1986 (age 27)
Santa Ana, California, United States
GenresElectronic, classical crossover, dubstep
OccupationsMusician, performance artist, composer, dancer
Associated actsTyler Ward, Owl City, Lzzy Hale, Pentatonix

Lindsey Stirling (born September 21, 1986)[1] is an American violinist, dancer, performance artist, and composer. She presents choreographed violin performances, both live and in music videos found on her YouTube channel, Lindseystomp, which she introduced in 2007.[2] In 2010, Stirling was a quarter-finalist on America's Got Talent season five.[3][4]

Since 2010, Stirling has released two studio albums, an EP, and several singles. Her debut eponymous album was a commercial success in Europe, selling 200,000 copies in Germany, winning a platinum certification. Other three certifications were given to her by Austria, Switzerland and Poland. Her debut album was nominated for the 2014 Billboard Music Awards in the section of "Top Dance/Electronic Albums".[5]

She performs a variety of music styles, from classical to pop and hip-hop to electronic dance music. Aside from original work, her discography contains covers of songs by other musicians and various soundtracks.[6][7] Stirling is also a YouTube sensation: her music video "Crystallize" finished as the eighth-most watched video of 2012,[8] and her cover version of "Radioactive" with Pentatonix won Response of the Year in the first YouTube Music Awards in 2013.[9] Lindsey has also sold more than 1 million singles worldwide[10] and on May 2014 her second studio album Shatter Me peaked #2 at the Billboard 200. Her YouTube channel had, as of September 2014, more than 5.3 million subscribers and 735 million total views.[11]

Early life[edit]

Stirling was born in Santa Ana, California. She describes her childhood as being raised in a modest household and stated she "would not trade my humble childhood years for anything else".[12] Due to her family's financial limitations, her parents could only afford to find a violin teacher that would give half lessons.[13] Told by instructors, "a child isn't going to learn how to play ... in 15 minutes a week", her parents persisted and at the age of 5 she began violin lessons.[13]

When she was sixteen, she joined a rock band in Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Arizona, with four friends, called "Stomp on Melvin". As part of her experience with the group, Stirling wrote a solo violin rock song, and her performance helped her to win the state title of Arizona's Junior Miss and claim the Spirit Award in the America's Junior Miss Finals competition.[14] Stirling was also a member of Charley Jenkins Band for about a year.[15]


2010–12: America's Got Talent and debut studio album[edit]

In 2010, at the age of 23, Stirling was a quarter-finalist on season five of America's Got Talent, where she was described as a "hip hop violinist".[3][4] Stirling's performances were dubbed "electrifying" by the judges, and won the acclaim of the audience, but after she attempted to step up the dance level in her quarter-final performance, judge Piers Morgan told her: "You're not untalented, but you're not good enough to get away with flying through the air and trying to play the violin at the same time." Sharon Osbourne commented: "You need to be in a group. ... What you're doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas." In her blog, Stirling confided: "I was devastated at the results ... It was painful, and a bit humiliating; however, I had to relearn where it was that I drew my strength."[16][17] Stirling decided to continue to embrace her unique style of performance, promoting herself on the Internet. In a 2012 interview she remarked: "A lot of people have told me along the way that my style and the music I do ... is unmarketable. But the only reason I'm successful is because I have stayed true to myself."[18]

Shortly after her performance on America's Got Talent, cinematographer Devin Graham contacted her in hopes of making a YouTube video together. They agreed to shoot a music video for her song, "Spontaneous Me". It was filmed the week of May 9, 2011. The video boosted Stirling's popularity, and she began making music videos for her YouTube channel regularly. Graham has filmed almost all of her videos, while Stirling often does backup camera work and assists with his music videos. Stirling's YouTube channel, Lindseystomp, which she created in 2007 and which is named after her first band Stomp on Melvin, is the main repository for her music videos. During 2011, the channel rapidly gained popularity and has over 519 million total views and over four million subscribers, as of January 2014.[19] Her music is featured on Pandora, Spotify, and Last.FM.[20] Stirling also created a second YouTube channel, LindseyTime, in September 2012, in which she posts videos related to her life, vlogs, behind-the-scenes content, etc.

Stirling performing at VidCon 2012

Stirling has experimented in combining violin playing with hip hop and dubstep.[21] Stirling's collaborations with other musicians and singers have included Shaun Barrowes ("Don't Carry It All" – The Decemberists), Jake Bruene and Frank Sacramone ("Party Rock Anthem" – LMFAO), Tay Zonday ("Mama Economy"), Peter Hollens ("Skyrim", "A Thousand Years", "Game of Thrones" and "Star Wars"), Alisha Popat ("We Found Love"), John Allred ("Tomb"), Amiee Proal ("A Thousand Years"), Megan Nicole ("Starships"), The Piano Guys ("Mission Impossible"), Debi Johanson ("River Flows in You", "Phantom of the Opera"), Sam Tsui ("Heads Up"), Tyler Ward ("I Knew You Were Trouble", Thrift Shop"), Kurt Hugo Schneider ("Pokemón Dubstep Remix" and "A Thousand Years"), John Legend ("All of Me"), Chester See ("I Knew You Were Trouble"), and Pentatonix ("Radioactive").[22] She has also collaborated with the Salt Lake Pops orchestra and Alex Boye.[23] Stirling's debut album was released on September 18, 2012 in conjunction with a North American tour that same month.

Stirling completed her first U.S. tour on November 26, 2012. She announced her second tour as well as a "test tour" for Europe on December 3, 2012, which kicked off in January 2013. The tour covered 55 cities throughout Europe, Canada and the US and ended in Arizona on April 5, 2013. On February 25, 2013, Stirling announced her official European tour, which kicked off in Russia on May 22, 2013 and ended in Norrkoping, Sweden, June 29, with a total of 26 cities covered.[citation needed]

In December 2012, YouTube announced that Stirling's song, "Crystallize", was the No. 8 top-viewed video of 2012 with over 42 million views.[24]

2013–present: First World Tour and Shatter Me[edit]

On April 22, 2013, it was announced that Lady Gaga's manager (Troy Carter) inked a deal with Stirling after being impressed by her rise in the media. "By looking at the numbers, automatically you could see this girl knew how to move the needle and understood YouTube was a venue to engage fans both online and offline," Carter said. Stirling, who had previously refused to work with other management companies explained her new deal with Carter: "But with Atom Factory, they were up to date on current things and trying new stuff all the time, and I felt so creatively alive when I met with them."[25]

On June 21, Stirling received her first golden certification for her album, Lindsey Stirling, in Germany[26] and in the next month, she earned golden certifications from Switzerland and Austria. On August 2, 2013, Billboard announced that Stirling's studio album had sold more than 158,000 copies in the United States and that she was the second best-selling artist on the Classical Crossover charts in 2013, behind Andrea Bocelli's album Passione.[27]

In June 2013, she performed at Miss Switzerland,[28] and in July, she joined Nathan Pacheco, The Orchestra at Temple Square and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the 21,000-seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City, UT for their annual Pioneer Day concert.[29] Stirling also announced her first ever tour dates in Australia, South Korea and Japan. Stirling's YouTube channel reached three million subscribers on August 31[30] and on September 4, after almost a year of touring, she completed her world tour with her last appearance in London. On September 12, Stirling performed at the Dreamball 2013 charity gala at Ritz Carlton in Berlin, Germany.[31] Two weeks later, Stirling announced on her official website that she had started making her second album.[32]

Almost a year after its official release, Stirling's self-titled studio album was re-released on October 29, 2013, as an exclusive deluxe version featuring newly recorded versions and remixes of her best-known songs such as "Crystallize", "Elements", and "Transcendence". Target carried four bonus tracks while all other retailers had two additional tracks.[33] Stirling sold 10,000 copies of her extended-version album in the first week of sales, which was a record for her, and her album as it peaked from No. 79 to No. 23, becoming its highest position in Billboard 200.[34] Days before, she had performed on Conan on October 24.

On November 3, 2013, Stirling and Pentatonix's version of "Radioactive" won a YouTube Music Award in the category Response of the Year. Stirling also performed during the live-streamed event.[9][35] On December 16, Stirling announced the first tour dates on Canada and United States of her new 2014 World Tour;[36] some pre-sales were sold out after the first day of selling[37] and the first concert to be sold out was in Portland, Oregon on January 29.[38]

Stirling appeared on several Billboard 2013 Year-End Charts; notably, No. 3 on Classical Album Artists,[39] No. 2 on Classical Albums,[40] and No. 3 on Dance/Electronic Albums (both for the Lindsey Stirling).[41]

At the beginning of 2014, Stirling's self-titled album hit gold on Poland,[42] received its first platinum certification in Germany[43] and later on in Austria.[44] Stirling received her first RIAA golden certification on February 4 for her hit single "Crystallize".[45] On February 26 Stirling released for the first time her debut album in France which entered in number 17 selling 4,900 copies in its first week of sales.[46] On March 5, Stirling performed three concerts at the El Plaza Condesa in Mexico City, being her first time to do so in Latin America.

Stirling performing at the Rivera Theatre, United States, on 6th June 2014.

In 2014, Stirling was nominated for the Echo music award in two categories: Crossover National/International and Newcomer International,[47] receiving the Crossover National/International award on 28 March.

On March 12, 2014, Stirling posted a video announcing her second studio album, Shatter Me, would be released in May.[48] She also created a PledgeMusic account where consumers could buy her new album, signed or not, and also exclusive items, such as signed posters, personalized video and even Skype calls with Stirling herself. At the end of the first day, the signed Shatter Me CD was already sold out.[49] On March 25, Stirling officially released her first single from Shatter Me, entitled "Beyond the Veil", along with its accompanying music video.[50] On April 3, Stirling posted that she collaborated with Owl City for his fifth album. The song, "Beautiful Times", was released on April 8.[51]

On April 23, 2014, Stirling released the second single of her upcoming album: "Shatter Me". The song, the album's title track, accumulated 1.3 million views its first day online.[52] The album was released in the United States on April 29 and in Europe on May 2. In the U.S., the album sold 56,000 copies in its first week and reached No. 2 on Billboard 200, becoming Stirling's biggest sales week ever.[53] In Europe Shatter Me was also a commercial success as it reached the Top 5 on Sweden and Germany and also peaking the first position in Austria. On May 18, Stirling assisted to the Billboard Music Awards where her debut album had been nominated in the category "Top Electronic/Dance Album". Stirling also performed her first single "Beyond the Veil" during the ceremony.[54]

On May 13, 2014, Stirling performed in San Diego, the first show of her second world tour, which consisted of 77 shows in total, 48 in North America and 29 in Europe. This world Tour was in support of her new album Shatter Me and the crew consisted of Jason Gaviati and Drew Steen (which had been part of her First World Tour) plus the adding of two new dancers: Stephen Jones and Pter Styles[55] and the choreographer Anže Škrube.[56]

On July 2nd, Billboard posted that Lindsey Stirling's second studio album "Shatter Me" had been the third dance/electronic album with most sales in the first half of the year (119,000) only behind Daft Punk's Random Access Memories and Lady Gaga's Artpop. In the same chart Stirling's debut studio album was at sixth place with 108,000 copies sold in the first half of 2014.[57]In July 27th Lindsey's hit single Crystallize reached 100 million views, being Stirling's first music video in doing so.[58] Six days later, on August 2nd, Lindsey posted on her Twitter account that she had been nominated for her first ever Teen Choice award.[59] On August 6th, Lindsey came back after four years to America's Got Talent to perform as host, along with Lzzy Hale their single "Shatter Me".[60]

On August it was revealed two collaborations Lindsey would be part of. The first one was revealed on August 13th, and was about Stirling collaboraiting for a second time with the a cappella group Pentatonix for their third studio album PTX, Vol. III on the French song Papaoutai.[61] The second collaboration was revealed nine days later, on August 22nd, when it was announced Stirling had been part of a song with singer Jessie J for her upcoming album Sweet Talker.[62]


From a young age, Stirling had a fascination for dance, and wanted to take both dancing and violin lessons. In an interview with NewMediaRockstars, she said, "...ever since I was a kid, I've always wished that I could dance, but my parents said, 'You [can] choose violin or you [can] choose dance, but we can't afford both', and I chose violin. So this is kind of a fulfillment – it's funny to say, but this is something I've always wanted to do."[63]

She impressed the judges on America's Got Talent, not only by mixing hip-hop and classical music on the violin, but by incorporating dancing with playing the violin, which she also does on her tours and official music videos. On a live-chat Stirling explained: "It is very unnatural to dance while playing the violin. I had to practice so hard to learn how to do it but now it is part of my expression and it comes naturally. I have to know a song perfectly before I can even begin to move. Once I know a song really well I can then have fun dancing." Not only in her performances, but also with her music, dancing made a huge impact: "I loved dance music so I started with that and wrote Transcendence, Electric Daisy and Spontaneous Me."[64]

In October 2013, Stirling announced she would take part in season three of Dance Showdown, a dance competition web series created by DanceOn where the winner is awarded US$50,000.[65] Stirling was the second of three finalists, but didn't win the fifty thousand dollars despite receiving critical acclaim on her three performances with her partner Anze Skrube. One of the three judges, Laurieann Gibson, classified her second performance as "one of the best" in Dance Showdown and the last one as the best she had ever seen.


On October 1, 2013, Stirling teamed with the non-profit Atlanta Music Project to help spread appreciation of music to children who might not otherwise have the chance. The Atlanta Music Project's mission was "to inspire social change by providing Atlanta's under-served youth the opportunity to learn and perform music in orchestras and choirs." For this, Stirling made available two limited edition Lindsey Stirling/The Power of Music shirts. The money collected from the sale of those shirts went directly to the Atlanta Music Project with the combined goal of raising enough to provide music training for 50 children.[66]

On March 22, 2014, Lindsey joined Cirque du Soleil for the second annual One Night for One Drop in Las Vegas.[67] The non-profit organization presented the show in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for the celebration of The World Water Day and to make the message of saving water accessible to all.[68]

Personal life[edit]

Stirling attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah to study film making.[12] She went on to perform missionary work in New York City for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[69][70] A story that she wrote about her mission was later published in the compilation Do Not Attempt in Heels: Mission Stories and Advice from Sisters Who've Been There.[71] Stirling returned home to Provo in 2009 to continue studying at BYU. She then moved back to Arizona, in December 2012, to be with her family. She resides in Los Angeles, California.[72]

For a short time she dated film maker Devin Graham whom both attended the same university and church.[73]The two began dating shortly after the filming of Crystalize and Graham moved to Utah.[74][75] The two have since ended their relationship.[75]

Stirling has publicly spoken about her battle with anorexia. She discovered her disorder while working for a period of time at a treatment centre for troubled girls. Stirling said in an interview with Good Morning America, that her song "Shatter Me" was "actually my story of overcoming my eating disorder".[76] The cover art of the album is a reference to her struggle which showcases a "seemingly perfect-looking ballerina standing in the middle of a cracked glass globe".[77] In 2013, Stirling was featured by the LDS Church in its "I'm a Mormon" campaign in which she spoke openly about how her faith helped in her battle during high school and college.[12][74]

Live band members[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsSalesCertifications


Lindsey Stirling2311211464510
Shatter Me2111354312
  • WW: 400,000
  • US: 200,000[96]
  • GER: 100,000[43]
BVMI: Gold

Extended play[edit]


YearTitlePeak chart positionsCertifications
(sales thresholds)

Dance/Electronic Digital

2012"Crystallize"28172839371RIAA: GoldLindsey Stirling
2014"Beyond the Veil"221Shatter Me
"Shatter Me (ft. Lzzy Hale)"10591
"Take Flight"743
"Master of Tides"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.



Stirling's first tour lasted almost a year with 122 dates around North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The Lindsey Stirling Tour began three days before the CD release of her first album, Lindsey Stirling. Her tour began with dates around the United States and Canada in 2012. At the beginning of 2013, Stirling continued her tour in Europe as a "test tour". Her official European leg kicked off in Russia on May 22, 2013. In August, she continued her tour adding dates around Asia and Australia.[97] Finishing her tour, Stirling added a last date in the UK on September 4. The shows proved to be a success as 46 dates were sold out and on the audience gave a rate to the tour of 4.8 out of 5 stars.[98]


Abbreviated list of music videos
DateTitleDirector(s)YouTube views
May 18, 2011"Spontaneous Me"Devin Graham16,932,786Original video
July 29, 2011"Transcendence"Nathan D. Lee & Erich Cannon9,662,819Original video
September 9, 2011"On the floor take three"unknown8,373,763Medley
September 11, 2011"River Flows in You" (with Debi Johanson)Devin Graham13,069,476Cover
October 11, 2011"By No Means" (with Epicc)Sean Haggel1,850,906Original video
November 3, 2011"Electric Daisy Violin"Devin Graham23,877,914Original video
November 26, 2011"Zelda Medley"Devin Graham17,190,274Medley of Zelda game music by Koji Kondo
December 7, 2011"Silent Night"Devin Graham3,211,419Cover
December 19, 2011"Celtic Carol"Devin Graham3,211,419Original video
January 9, 2012"Shadows"Devin Graham39,625,745Filmed at the Ensoul warehouse in Salt Lake City, Utah
February 2, 2012"Lord of the Rings Medley"Devin Graham20,774,000Music by Howard Shore. Filmed in New Zealand.
February 23, 2012"Crystallize"Devin Graham95,142,569Filmed at Ice Castles in Silverthorne, Colorado[99]
April 3, 2012"Skyrim" (with Peter Hollens)Devin Graham34,001,611Medley of Skyrim game music by Jeremy Soule
May 7, 2012"We Found Love" (with Alisha Popat)Devin Graham20,694,801Cover, with changed lyrics. Filmed in Kenya, sponsored by VenTribe.
June 10, 2012"Starships" (with Megan Nicole)Devin Graham7,936,320Filmed at the Ensoul warehouse in Salt Lake City, Utah
July 31, 2012"Phantom of the Opera"Lindsey Stirling (also edited, and produced)15,958,766Locations: Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City and the Velour in Provo, Utah
August 14, 2012"Come With Us" (with Can't Stop Won't stop)Devin Graham2,311,312Original video
September 5, 2012"Game of Thrones" (with Peter Hollens)FifGenFilms4,296,233Medley of Game of Thrones music
September 18, 2012"Elements" (Original Version)Devin Graham41,076,192Filmed at the Ensoul warehouse in Salt Lake City, Utah
October 23, 2012"Moon Trance"Nathan D. Lee & Katie Schwarz19,096,965Original video
November 5, 2012"Assassin's Creed III"Jace Leroy14,208,191Medley of Assassin's Creed III music
November 29, 2012"Song of the Caged Bird"Nathan D. Lee5,372,498Original video
December 14, 2012"What Child Is This"Scott Winn5,351,594Cover
December 7, 2012"Just Dance 4"unknown4,495,226Cover
January 15, 2013"Thrift Shop" (with Tyler Ward)unknown10,697,050Cover
January 22, 2013"Mission Impossible"Paul Anderson and Tel Stewart3,211,419
Piano Sonata No. 16, K. 545, first movement
The Piano Guys arrangement and original material written by Steven Sharp Nelson, Al van der Beek, Jon Schmidt, and Stirling
March 12, 2013"Radioactive" (with Pentatonix)FifGenFilms73,671,257Cover of the song by Imagine Dragons
May 23, 2013Halo theme (with William Joseph)Devin Graham7,131,017Cover. Video features cosplay by members of
July 21, 2013"My Immortal"Klepticenter Productions7,131,017Cover of the song by Evanescence
October 11, 2013"Elements" (Orchestral Version)NBC44,421,505A video remix for the TV show Dracula on NBC
October 26, 2013"All of Me" (with John Legend)FifGenFilms25,925,636Performance of John Legend's song
November 14, 2013"Minimal Beat"Klepticenter Productions3,779,151Filmed in various cities globally
February 06, 2014"Stars Align"Nathan D. Lee4,804,993Choreography made by Anze Skrube. Filmed in studio with SFX Effects by PlayFight. Premiered on Yahoo Music before YouTube.[100]
March 25, 2014"Beyond the Veil"Everdream5,366,868Original video
April 23, 2014"Shatter Me"Everdream8,292,312 [b]Original video. Concept by Joe Sill & Lindsey Stirling. Featuring Lindsey Stirling & Lzzy Hale. Includes announcement of her new album of the same name.[101]
  1. ^ Additional 5,940,684 views on The Piano Guys YouTube channel
  2. ^ as of May 20, 2014

Awards and nominations[edit]

Billboard Music Awards

YearCategoryWorkResultLost toRef
2014Top Electronic/Dance AlbumLindsey StirlingNominatedDaft Punk[5]

German Echo Music Awards

YearCategoryWorkResultLost toRef
2014Newcomer InternationalLindsey StirlingNominatedBeatrice Egli[102]
2014Best Crossover ActLindsey StirlingWonN/A[103]

Teen Choice Awards

YearCategoryWorkResultLost toRef
2014Choice Web Star: MusicShatter MeNominatedShawn Mendes

YouTube Music Awards

2013Response of the Year"Radioactive" (with Pentatonix)Won[104]


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