With just her violin in hand, Lindsey Stirling has accrued over 8 million followers on YouTube. The former America’s Got Talent contestant gained fans through her fantastical covers of video game scores like Zelda and Pokémon that afforded her the opportunity to work with John Legend and Celine Dion and embark on a 77-show world tour last year. August 19th, the superstar violinist is releasing Brave Enough, an album packed with star-studded collaborations. Below, Stirling talks to DuJourabout waltzing in the desert with Dancing with the Stars’ Derek Hough and collaborating with some of the best in the business.
What can fans expect from your new album?
It was really exciting to try to do something that walked a fine line between new and different, but at the same time was cohesive with my previous work and that my fans will recognize and relate to. I think I was able to find a pretty good balance. I’ve got some collaborations, but at the same time you’ve got your instrumental tracks that are going to make my fans feel like they’re listening to the Lindsey they’ve been following for years. I think it’s a really good mix.
What’s your artistic process like when you’re in the studio?
I work a lot of different ways and I have to be kinda flexible because I’m a very different artist. I say 90% of the time I will go in the studio with just an idea or thought like my gosh I want to write a Bollywood track today, or I have a quote and I want to make a song that fits the theme of it. Or sometimes I’ll even think of a great video idea and I’ll go in the studio and tell the producers the idea. I’ll sit side to by side with them and they’ll create the track and I’ll write the music over it.
You collaborated with Christina Perri on the album. How did that come about?
Love Christina. She is such a classy gal full of depth and heart. We met as our tours crossed paths in Dubai and we didn’t reconnect for several months until last fall. Through social media she saw that my band member/best friend had passed away and she reached out offering comfort and empathy. We were practically strangers, but in that moment I realized she had a heart of gold. This song was written in honor of my friend who passed away. He had such a huge heart and he bravely opened his heart up and shared love without boundaries. That is what the song is about. I wrote the song with Christina in mind because her voice is the perfect blend of vulnerability and strength and also because she showed me love and support when I lost my friend.
Your new video features you dancing in the desert with Derek Hough from Dancing with the Stars. Was it hard keeping up with him?
It was a really fun video to shoot. It was crazy, Derek was kind of on and off the road and I was finishing my album, so we only had two small practice sessions to learn all that choreography. But he’s such a good teacher and dancer he was really able to just coach me through it. The whole process of making this video from front to back was really exciting. I’m very involved in my videos. I was up late the night before it came out, color correcting to make sure the color palette fit into a Mad Max world. So when it came out it was like Christmas morning. I love creating new worlds— an alternate reality viewers can get locked in is the ultimate goal.
What was it like creating original music for Disney’s latest fantasy film, Pete’s Dragon?
I have always been a huge Disney fan! I can beat almost anyone at Disney quotes games and I auditioned not once, but twice to be a character at Disney world. So needless to say I was ecstatic when they asked me to play on the score of Pete’s Dragon. Andrew McMahon and I saw the movie together and immediately wrote the song after leaving the Disney lot. We were both really inspired by the unbreakable spirit and bravery of this little boy who had to redefine himself in a new world without losing himself. It is a story of loyalty, friendship and courage and embodies the idea that we will find ourselves if we trust our inner voice which, in this song, we refer to as “something wild.”
Photo Credit: Andrew Zaeh