IF YOU GO
■ What: Lindsey Stirling with AJR.
■ When: 9 p.m. Monday, June 30.
■ Where: Track 29, 1400 Market St.
■ Admission: $22 in advance, $25 day of show.
■ Phone: 423-521-2929.
■ Website: www.track29.co.
■ 2012: "Lindsey Stirling"
■ 2014: "Shatter Me"
"I didn't want to just play the music that had been played for hundreds of year; I wanted to do something new and fun."
-- violinist Lindsey Stirling
Before she's cleared the first of dozens of acrobatic leaps to a persistent dubstep wobble bass, it's crystal clear that Lindsey Stirling is nobody's image of the stereotypical violinist.
After almost 15 years of studious training, Stirling was feeling her love affair with classical music starting to fade. In an effort to fall in love again, she began writing music for the violin that folded in elements of mainstream genres she loved, such as electronic dance music, usually accompanied by enthusiastic dance choreography.
Then, most importantly, she began sharing her compositions online. Over the last seven years, her music videos have made her one of the biggest stars on YouTube with about 5 million subscribers and 671 million views.
When she first joined the site seven years ago, however, the Arizona-based violinist says it was an act of desperation, an experiment to see if the Internet could offer a means of making a name for herself after traditional avenues of promotion had proven fruitless.
"I had tried everything I could think of and read books about how to make it in the industry, and it was so expensive to do," Stirling says in a recent phone interview.
"But then, suddenly, here was this place you could do it yourself. The first video I put up was an experiment to see if people would watch it. I was absolutely blown away by the response you could get just from putting it online."
Since then, Stirling has posted about 150 more videos, including many highly produced and well-received covers of video-game soundtracks and pop-music anthems. She frequently has performed in collaboration with artists such as Grammy Award winner John Legend, "The Sing-Off" reality TV stars Pentatonix and synth-pop group Owl City.
Despite the popularity of her covers, Stirling's most successful upload is a music video for an original piece called "Crystallize" off her self-titled debut album. The dubstep-laced instrumental showcases her nimble choreography and, to date, has about 100 million views. In 2012, it was YouTube's eighth-most-watched video.
This year, Stirling's first album was nominated at the Billboard Music Awards for best electronic/dance release. She's now in the midst of a nationwide tour in support of her second album, "Shatter Me," which was released on April 29 and hit the No. 2 spot on Billboard's Top 200 chart.
On Monday, June 30, her tour will bring her to Chattanooga for a show at Track 29.
Stirling's recent string of successes stands in stark contrast to harsh criticism she received from the judges on the fifth series of "America's Got Talent." Then 23, she made it to the series' quarterfinals before the judges told her she was talented at dancing or playing violin, just not both at the same time.
That judgment stung, Stirling recalls, but it also motivated her to polish her skills and prove them wrong. On May 7, still giddy from the Top 10 release of her sophomore project and in the midst of her second world tour, she received the ultimate vindication of being "devastated and humiliated" on live TV.
"Piers Morgan, who was the judge who was super harsh on me, tweeted at me saying, 'Congratulations. You've proven me wrong,'" she says, laughing. "I'm not going to lie; that was a pretty good moment."
Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...