Hip violinist is a Youtube star

Youtube stars are a dime a dozen, but only a few become successful independent artistes.

Lindsey Stirling is one of them, gaining fame with a violin, some dubstep and electronic music, and unique dance moves.

The petite 26-year-old Calfiornian, who got booted off reality show America's Got Talent (AGT) in 2010, now tops the Billboard charts.

Although pairing the violin with choreographed dance moves to pop songs like Kesha's TiK ToK got her noticed on AGT, judges Piers Morgan and Sharon Osboune deemed her not good enough to win.

Three years later, Stirling is more popular than Taylor Swift on YouTube, with three million subscribers to Swift's one million.

Last September, Stirling's self-titled debut album of original compositions topped the Billboard's Dance/ Electronic Albums chart and ranked No. 81 on the Billboard 200 - an impressive feat for someone who started out with no record label representation. Disappointed

"I remember being disappointed (after AGT)," Stirling told LOUD over the phone last month from Manila, where she was performing.

"I thought I had blown my chance and I wondered if I should listen to the judges and give up.

"But I'm so glad I didn't. I knew I could do it. That experience taught me to fight for my passion."

Stirling, who picked up classical violin at the age of five, had always been interested in melding classical music with contemporary. She wrote her first violin rock song when she was 16.

After AGT, she returned to composing, combining classical violin with dubstep and dance music, a formula which became a hit with YouTube audiences.

"I was playing over other popular songs, but I wanted to create my own," she said.

"I worked with different producers to create a new sound because I wanted to make something inspiring, something that makes you go: 'Does it make me want to think more?'

"That's the goal of my music."

Stirling still does pop covers and has collaborated with other YouTube stars like rocker Tyler Ward, The Piano Guys, Sam Tsui and a cappella group Pentatonix.

Her music has gained her a loyal base of followers, who flocked to packed shows on her US tour last year and her European tour which ended in June.

Stirling has also won herself some famous fans.

She shot a video with US R&B singer John Legend for a remix version of one of his songs, which will be released next month.

In May this year, Lady Gaga's manager Troy Carter signed on to be Stirling's manager.

"I'm still trying to figure that out," she said.

"I'm so used to doing everything myself, so I'm learning how to include other people.

"But it's been very helpful (to have a management team) because they take care of all the business stuff so I can concentrate on the creative stuff.

"I still do all my music videos myself."

She also does her own choreography, dance moves that set her apart from other violinists.

But she was not always so graceful.

"I was very bad at moving while I played," she recalled with a laugh.

"My teacher would tell me, 'Sway with the music, you look like a statue'.

"At 18, I wanted to try and incorporate a good amount of movement.

"Now, I can't stand still when I play."

julrasul@sph.com.sg


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