Vi­o­lin­ist Lind­sey Stir­ling talks suc­cess, ‘Harry Pot­ter’

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Arts & Culture - BY MATT RIEDL

Lind­sey Stir­ling, the en­er­getic vi­o­lin­ist who has amassed mil­lions of on­line fol­low­ers, is bring­ing her hol­i­day tour to Wichita this week.

Stir­ling, who first burst into the pub­lic con­scious­ness by re­leas­ing hip hopin­fused vi­o­lin videos on YouTube, is now a suc­cess­ful record­ing artist. She ap­peared on “Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent” in 2014, and since then her pop­u­lar­ity has only grown.

She’s tour­ing now off her most re­cent al­bum, 2017’s “Warmer in the Win­ter.” Last fall, she ap­peared on “Danc­ing With The Stars,” where she fin­ished in se­cond-place.

The Ea­gle caught up with Stir­ling via tele­phone on Wed­nes­day to talk about her up­com­ing tour, among other things.

Re­sponses have been lightly edited for length.

Q. So you’re about to start your Wan­der­land Tour, which is stop­ping in Wichita next week. What can peo­ple ex­pect to see?

A. I mean, it’s a

We’ve had a great time putting the show to­gether. Peo­ple will be thor­oughly en­ter­tained. There’s ev­ery­thing from ball­room


danc­ing to pointe bal­let to songs that will make you feel the warm fuzzies of Christ­mas and songs that are go­ing to make you want to get up and dance. It’s re­ally got so, so much va­ri­ety. It’s the­atri­cal, with set changes, cos­tume changes and props. I’m re­ally proud of it.

Q. Will it be mostly mu­sic from your al­bum, “Warmer in the Win­ter?”

A. Yes.

Q. On that al­bum, you take tra­di­tional Christ­mas songs and per­form them in your trade­mark style. How do you take those songs and put your own twist on them?

A. It’s a chal­lenge to take Christ­mas mu­sic and put your own spin on it, I feel, for two rea­sons. Peo­ple love th­ese songs so much and they don’t want them to change a lot, and peo­ple are very at­tached to Christ­mas songs. That’s a chal­lenge try­ing to keep it true but also mak­ing it your own. ‘Silent Night’ has been done how many thou­sands of times? ‘Carol of the Bells,’ all of th­ese songs have been done by so many dif­fer­ent artists in dif­fer­ent medi­ums. That’s al­ways part of the fun of it, try­ing to reimag­ine them. ‘Carol of the Bells’ was one of my fa­vorites Ad­mis­sion: In­for­ma­tion: I did, for sure.

Q. Go­ing back a bit, a lot of peo­ple first stum­bled upon your mu­sic by watch­ing your early YouTube videos, where you play video-game songs and a lot of cov­ers. How would you say you’ve grown since then?

A. Gosh, I’ve grown in so many ways. I’ve al­ways had th­ese vi­sions of what I wanted to be­come. The first tour I ever did, we were play­ing th­ese lit­tle 300-seat clubs, my band and I, and yet I still brought this big-screen TV with me and I would put it on stage every day and play th­ese videos I had made on the screen be­hind us as I would play the songs. I love putting pro­duc­tions to­gether. At the time, I had no bud­get and no money for big pro­duc­tions and didn’t have a big enough stage to do ev­ery­thing. Now it’s been amaz­ing to see th­ese lit­tle baby ideas I had back then be­come big ideas. I get to cre­ate this re­ally beau­ti­ful pro­duc­tion. I used to sew all my own cos­tumes, and now I get to work with stylists, and oth­ers who help make (my dreams) into re­al­ity. It’s pretty amaz­ing to see that growth in my­self and the show as I imag­ined what it could be.

Q. Are there any of those fan­doms that you’re es­pe­cially par­tial to? Say, “Le­gend of Zelda,” or “Lord of the Rings,” or any of the other mu­sic you’ve played?

A. My fa­vorite fan­dom — and I haven’t ac­tu­ally done a video of it yet — is by far “Harry Pot­ter.” I will do a song for “Harry Pot­ter” at one point, it just hasn’t hap­pened yet. I’ve read all the books mul­ti­ple times, seen all the movies. I love Harry Pot­ter World, and I’m a Gryffindor.

Q. So we’ll see you in Wichita for the first time next week. What are you do­ing to pre­pare for your visit?

A. We’ve been re­hears­ing non­stop. I mean, I’m in my house right now sit­ting next to my vi­o­lin. It’s like get­ting in shape again. It’s a dif­fer­ent kind of play­ing, a dif­fer­ent kind of phys­i­cal­ity it takes to go on tour, a dif­fer­ent mind­set. I have to get my­self in that mind­set again. I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to it — I love per­form­ing and I love putting on a show. Every night’s show feels dif­fer­ent, be­cause you get to see it for the first time from the eyes of the au­di­ences. That makes it so ex­cit­ing.

CARA ROB­BINS Cour­tesy photo

Lind­sey Stir­ling is be­gin­ning a na­tion­wide tour. The tour will stop at Wichita’s In­trust Bank Arena on Thurs­day.

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