Lindsey Stirling – a unique and original hip hop violinist and dancer

Lindsey Stirling is a young and unique hip hop violinist that not only plays fun original music on the fiddle but also finds a way to control her bow while dancing, jumping, and performing impressive gymnastic moves. Besides being a fantastic entertainer Lindsey also strives to help others.

I’ve really enjoyed watching you perform and for me it is obvious that you are on your way to great things. Can you tell us a little about yourself, your age, where you grew up and where you live? I grew up in Gilbert AZ, and I am now a 24 years old college student. I now live in Utah and I am in my senior year at BYU. I am studying to be a recreational therapist and I want to work with troubled teenage girls. I currently work at a residential treatment center helping teenage girls go through recovery and love it. It is such a rewarding job because I get to be a small part of helping someone rediscover the healthy side of themselves. I have found that music and finding passion in life is very helpful for this.

What gave you the idea of combining intensive dance and playing the violin? When I was a senior in high school I did several talent competitions in order to earn money for college and I got sick of being the boring act. Singers would sing upbeat show tunes, dancers would bring the house down with energetic, pop routines and I felt like I put everyone to sleep. I didn’t want to just impress my audience, I wanted them to have fun with me. So I started to write to beats and I began to choreograph my routines. They started extremely simple but as I have practiced… (a ton!) They’ve evolved.

What came first, dancing or fiddling?  I have always loved dance but my parents couldn’t afford both dance lessons and violin lessons. So my mom told me when I was six years old that I had to chose either dance or violin. I chose violin but I think it’s pretty funny that i went ahead and did both… I’ve actually never had a dance lesson. I learned how to moonwalk, and glide and c walk through looking up tutorials on Youtube, and other than that I just use to go to a lot of dance parties so… that’s where I learned my little moves.

How long have you been playing?  I’ve played the violin for over 18 years

Which style of dancing do you prefer?  I guess all I know is Lindsey Style. Ha ha, I don’t know I only know your basic moves you would use at a dance party but if I could learn any type of dance I would love to learn contemporary.

In your videos it is very obvious that you are extremely flexible and limber. What do you do to be able to bend like that or are you just naturally that way? I’m kinda a naturally flexible person. I don’t stretch at all but the more I do those moves as I practice and perform, the better they’ve gotten.

Most violinists struggle to keep their bow movements controlled with very little or no body movement. How do you keep bow control while jumping?  It’s all muscle memory. I just practice the songs really slowly as I put the choreography with it and my bow arm learns what parts of the song it needs to use more pressure and it learns where it can lighten up.

Do you try to time bow changes and accents with your dance movements?  I time my dance moves to the beat of the actual song so no, a lot of times my violin is on the off beats which makes it even more of a challenge to put the two together. That’s why I always master the violin part, then I make and learn the dance, only then do i put the two together.

Can you tell us a little about your violin studies, teachers?  My parents used to play a lot of classical music in our home on an old record player (that was our only source of music). I can still hear the scratchy sound of the record playing as my sisters and I danced around the couch to Scheherazade. My parents would also take my sisters and I to all the free orchestra concerts in LA. as  result, I begged my mom to let me play the violin. My parents couldn’t afford lessons but finally my mom found a young college student that was willing to give me 15 minute lessons. (No one else would do it because they felt that a child couldn’t learn at that rate) I started taking private lessons when I was 6 and took them until i was 18. When I was 17 I began taking lessons from a very uptight teacher that came highly recommended and he only accepted “the best” students. He had a huge ego and one week I came to my lesson and for the second time in a row, I hadn’t practiced as much as he thought I should have. He hit my music off the stand, and told me “get in your little white car, go home and never come back. you’re not worth my time” That was the last private lesson I ever took but since then I have gone in my own direction and I think he’d be surprised to see where his failure of a student is today. I also played in the high school orchestra and did regionals and allstate multiple times.

Do you write your own arrangements, any original compositions?  I was writing my own arrangements to hymns since I was a kid and now I continue to write all my own arrangements. I have three original songs that are up on itunes and 3 more that will be coming out within the next month. I am going to release a full album by the end of this year.

Your movements appear to me as very original, do you do your own choreography?  I do because I can only use my lower body so I have to accentuate those moves. Twice, dancers have choreographed a routine to my music and then I adapted their dance to fit what I can do.

What is your favorite genre to play?  I love hip hop and trans music just because I can really dance to it

Fiddlerman‘s members are always interested for great etudes and studies. What do you recommend to those members who are interested in following in your footsteps?  Yes yes. The only reason I can do what I do is because I had 12 years of strictly classical training. I always tell people that if you can get a strong classical foundation, you can play anything. You gotta practice the boring stuff in order to do the fun stuff.

Dancing and playing is pretty fantastic and it leads me to wonder if you ever sing or would like to sing while performing as well?  I sing in the bands I play with but only as a backup vocalist. I do not have powerful enough voice to want to sing lead. On some of my songs I am starting to do really light background vocals.

Do you have any fiddling or dancing idols?  I loved Bond as a kid and hearing them was what made me realize that the violin could be fun and crazy. It didn’t have to be so ridged. I also loved Mark o Connor, and Vanessa Mae. All these artists helped me discover my own unique style.

What kind of projects do you have lined up for us all to enjoy in the future?  I will have a cd done by december and for the last month or so I’ve been producing a youtube video every other week. These include fun little videos, live performances and they also include music videos to my original songs. I will continue to do these for sure.

Lindsey Stirling Fiddlerman.com interview picture

You seem well on your way to stardom. What are your goals and dreams and where can you see yourself in the future of entertainment?  I have decided that my violin is going to pay may way around the world. I want to travel to amazing places and do it as a performer. I would love to be a featured violinist on shows such as Glee, the Ellen show, and such, and I absolutely love to perform so it would be awesome to link up with another artist and tour.

Find out more about Lindsey by visiting her website, www.lindseystirlingviolin.com

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