Skip to comments.Lindsey Stirling, dancing dubstep violinist, is the prototype of a fully interactive pop star
Posted on 06/24/2013 7:36:00 PM PDT by Rebelbase
The violin was the start of modern music celebrity - Lindsey Stirling is following in the footsteps of Paganini, Nigel Kennedy and Vanessa Mae.
Great visions of the future have always had their anachronisms. H G Wellss time machine was made of brass. The starship Enterprise had a receptionist. This is not to say that Piers Morgan was overlooking some invention of genius when he told Lindsey Stirling, on Americas Got Talent, that the world had no use for a dancing dubstep violin player but it clearly did, judging by how her signature tune Crystallize has racked up over 62 million views on YouTube.
She has fans across the United States, Europe and Asia, mostly aged between 14 and 25, many of them the obsessive kind, connecting with one another in a virtual world. The classically trained Mormon musician from Arizona, a talent-show reject, seems to be the model of a pop star from the future, right down to her fiddle.
Below me at her sell-out show in Shepherds Bush, west London, on 28 May, a teenage boy pogos, one fist in the air, to a mash-up of songs from The Phantom of the Opera. Stirlings dance onstage is kind of freestyle: she moonwalks backwards and regularly thrusts one leg out to the side. She is encumbered by the instrument, as the TV judges pointed out, but this adds tension to her act she is no virtuoso and, impressively, you never hear the bounce of her bow on the strings, even when she jumps off an amplifier. The overall effect is vaguely inspirational, like those albums on which Beethovens Fifth is set over a beat or an orchestra plays the music of Queen. Clearly, light music is no longer the preserve of those over 70.
In her cosplay-like get-up of stripes, tutus and sneakers, Stirling looks like shes walked out of a computer game. In effect, she has. After her defeat on TV three years ago, she took refuge online and built a career there. Her supporters, many of them gamers, began requesting cover versions the theme tunes of the video games The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy, the music from Game of Thrones and she recorded them in her unique style.
A few months ago, she started uploading her own compositions: lyrical, Celtic-tinged anthems with a dance backing that varies from mainstream dubstep to vintage trance. Her internet success got her a gig on Dancing with the Stars (the American Strictly) and brought the record companies sniffing (it all happens backwards, these days). Last month, Stirling was signed to Lady Gagas management company. Yet she still has no record deal in the US.
The violin was the start of modern music celebrity. Niccolò Paganini was the first shredder. Johann Strauss IIs waltz business was a branded enterprise as tightly controlled as Rolling Stones Inc. Nigel Kennedy and Vanessa Mae (perhaps Stirlings closest antecedent) attracted crowds for the way they looked as much as their high-wire playing. Now that music is watched more than it is listened to and the variety show is once again the cutting edge of entertainment, how well you play is less important you just have to be doing something else at the same time. This explains, in part, the phenomenal popularity of André Rieu, who can fill the O2 twirling on one leg, raising an eyebrow, conducting his Johann Strauss Orchestra and fiddling away simultaneously but it still doesnt quite explain Stirling.
Her online community is her power base. Imogen Heap and Amanda Palmer have proved you can get your Twitter followers to stump up cash for tours and recording studios nowadays in return for constant personal contact. Stirling offers meetngreets, à la Justin Bieber, for about £75 and shell cater to every craziness, pose holding a box of cereal or wearing an orange glove, if you ask her to. Like all new female pop stars, she has her alter ego but its no Sasha Fierce instead, its a geeky, bespectacled girl called Thelma who is wait for it Lindseys biggest fan. Thelma runs round the streets of whatever town Stirlings performing in, filming people and telling them to come to the gig, then beams the movies up that night onstage in a surreal, postmodern wormhole of self-promotion.
Shes taken the inspirational speeches of Taylor Swift or Gaga march to the beat of your own drum, be yourself, and so on and made them more meaningful, using her humiliation at the hands of Morgan to explain her success: He said, You cant play well enough and you cant dance well enough. I thought, in that case, Ill learn to do them both better. For once, the TV talent shows usually a good source of the nebulous You are special mantra forced down the throats of teens are presented as the enemy, restricting individuality rather than promoting it.
Stirling and Rieu are signed to the same label in the UK, Decca, which also houses the German virtuoso David Garrett (who got his first Strad aged 11 and doubles up as a male model). Saturday night TV loves them all: instrumentalist pop stars allow even more focus on the body, the pose, the ego, than people who sing. Rieus audience still buys CDs so his sales are phenomenal, while his live show a musical juggernaut of crinolined ladies, scatological tuba players, mime artists and living dolls is bigger than AC/DCs.
Its about as corny as you can get but its a very healthy source of traditional music revenue. Stirling, meanwhile, is the prototype of a fully interactive pop star who, connecting directly with the geeks of the world, is also more convincingly human than Gaga. Itll be interesting to see if she can develop the act. Which brings us back to the old sci-fi advancement mismatching thing:you may be spacefaring or cybernetic but youre still reliant on some old methods of communication, of which the Celtic-pop fiddle may be the strangest yet.
Electric daisy Violin.
That’s all I need to say. Watch anf be amazed. And yes, she really does play like that live.
Most refreshing new music I’ve heard in years.
Good stuff. Just another nail in Piers’ epic wrongness coffin.
That is incredible!
Goosebumps on my arms, thank so much for sharing it.
Here’s a guitar cover of Electric Daisy Violin. I love seeing how the violin translates to guitar.
Refreshing, at least. I had the same kind of response when I first heard Paganini’s Caprices, many years ago.
Rare talent, well executed. Deserves a listen...
“Good stuff. Just another nail in Piers epic wrongness coffin”
Very satisfying indeed.
Vanessa Mae is a pretty hot violin player as well.
She should get together with Melo-M and make some music. They are head banging cellists.
The Final Countdown
Mission Impossible theme
But if you want some good dubstep this is the man.
Remote Kontrol dance crew
I had the privilege of seeing her in Columbia, MO in the previous fall. I wish there were more musicians like her.
It’s wonderful watching somebody have so much fun. “Shadows” is pretty cool.
But the synth and drum machines are really annoying after about 5 minutes...would love to see her with a great sessions band behind her. Call me old school, but nothing beats real instruments.
She’s great! Thanks.
I discovered her about a year back when she still had youtube hits in the low 5 figures. I am a metal/89s guy that loves Iron Maiden and thinks Bruce Dickenson should rule the world ;) But I literally spent 3 full days listening to her music after first hearing it, totally enraptured. Now I don’t go more than a couple days without giving her channel a go.
Agree. See prior post to Sara.
He totally nailed it. Awesome playing!
No such thing as good Dubstep ;) Kidding aside, the Crystalize song is as far as I can go. I have listened to Delta Heavy/Skrillex and some older stuff and some of it is pretty amazing. But the scene is awash in copycat sameness. IMO of course. FOr EDM type stuff I gravitate more to (yes I am this perverse ;) the muxh reviled Rank 1 style Supersaw Megatrance, AKA “Airwave”
She’s great but the music reminds me of John Tesh.
Her rendition of Phantom of the Opera was really good.
Dub step is the child of trance with a bit of techno thrown in it. My kids were listening to trance 10 years ago so I’ve acclimated and am less annoyed and even tolerant of it in a reasonable dose.
Stirling’s background vibes are tame compared to the pure versions of those styles.
I probably wouldn’t mind it but so much of it is just copies of copies made by kids on laptops with loops and cracked copies of Waves. it’s just horrid.
Rusko did some interesting stuff a while back, Delta Heavy has some OK stuff too. but it just all sounds the same now. And utterly formulaic.
Without Sterling’s playing’ Crystalize is only about average background music IMO. And completely interchangable with a literal million other tracks on Beatport.
Her music is great but the accompanying videos are bogus.....they’re nothing more than violin lipsyncing........
Unless it’s a live show, most all music videos are lipsynched.
Here’s live, she’s capable of playing and dancing at the same time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFhuhEliWVM
That's much better, thanks