INTERVIEW: Electric Violinist Lindsey Stirling

The American dynamo brings her high-impact violin show to Prague for a series of engagements at Forum Karlín starting tonight

String instruments aren’t just for performing classical music—dynamic American-born violinist Lindsey Stirling, is living proof of that.

Her performances incorporate myriad musical styles, such as dub-step and hip-hop, into the distinctive violin riffs and spectacular choreography that give her live shows immense appeal.

Stirling’s popularity skyrocketed during her 2010 appearances on America’s Got Talent where she made it to the quarter finals; these days her YouTube channel is nearing 1.7 billion views with a massive following which dwarfs that of more widely known musicians like Justin Timberlake and Kanye West.

Stirling will perform in Prague (February 28-March 1) at Forum Karlín in support of her newest album Brave Enough, which critics say could land the performer the larger audience she so richly deserves.

Due to a popular demand you’ve added another show. Why do you think your music resonates so powerfully with Czech audiences?

I don’t know, that’s my question! I mean, it’s really crazy, I’m a girl from Gilbert, Arizona a small town, I’ve started putting videos on YouTube and it’s crazy that I’m in the Czech Republic doing a multiple shows here. My Czech fans, every time I came to the Prague they’ve been so awesome, so vibrant and full of energy. So passionate.

Is there something you especially enjoy about the Czech Republic?

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One of my favorite days on tour ever was spent in Prague, we had a day off and we rented (I know they don’t do this anymore) a Segway and had a Segway tour. And we, the crew and I, got on the Segways, rode around, and your city is absolutely, stunningly beautiful, people were so nice. We ended the night in the main square, got ice cream, it was a really magical, perfect day.

You’ve created a genre of its own, classical and electronic music blended with visual spectacle. What were the milestones which got you here?

Phew, one of the first milestones, I think, was when I released my video “Crystallize” and I remember up to that point, I’d been doing YouTube for like six, maybe eight months and my videos got maybe 100,000 views a week. When “Crystallize” got a million views in one day I remember thinking that…it can’t be real, but it was! And in that moment my life just changed. 

Another milestone was when I went on my first tour, it was a big risk, I didn’t have a label, didn’t have funding, so I was paying for the buses, trailer, all the gear. Just a really big expense and my agents were a little worried. None of us really knew that anyone was actually going to show up to see the show. And the tour sold out and it was then when I’ve realized I’m gonna be touring a lot, I love this. I love being on stage, meeting my fans.

Many aspiring violinists were inspired by you and it can be said that you have made the violin more appealing to a broader audience. Why do you think that is?

You know, I love when I see people come to me and share with me, just like you did, that they play the violin now and picked it up because I did and that means so much to me as an artist. [I was] in my lessons, orchestra classes and playing the same music, the same way it has been played hundreds of years ago and I thought, music evolved, music changed, why do I have to play the violin like composers, who I respect and love, but why can’t there be another side to it as well? I paired it with my favorite kinds of music and made it something new that’s appealing to people who never thought that they would like violin. 

Are you in contact with your Czech fans?

There is an awesome Facebook group from the Czech Republic they they’ve done the sweetest things for me. They’ve adopted a red panda from the zoo…and sent me a little video of my panda. Who thinks to do that? To donate to society and also do something sweet for me, it’s really thoughtful and…a long time ago my Czech group, they went to an orphanage, I believe, and donated toys and food. They are wonderful.

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You’ll be performing pieces from your newest album Brave Enough. What message do you strive to convey to your audience through it?

The idea of living Brave Enough means different things to every person like what is it that you need to do in your life that will help you live bravely and if you were brave enough what would you want to do and what would your life be like, and through me I realize I had closed off my heart through so many years. I was so afraid I wasn’t brave enough to open my heart and this album was about me learning to open up.

And lastly, is there something we can especially look forward to during your two Prague performances?

I would say it’s my favorite show, this tour is my favorite one that I’ve ever put together. I’m so proud of it. It is completely different from my last show and it will take them on a journey. I hope that they’ll laugh, cry, be excited and feel everything.


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