YouTuber Spotlight: Lindsey Stirling, the "Hip Hop Violinist"

It occurs to me that I’ve been talking about a lot of male YouTube stars in my YouTuber Spotlight series, so in this edition I decided to focus on a very talented woman. Her name is Lindsey Stirling, and she’s an American violinist, performance artist and composer running the YouTube channel  lindseystomp.

Stirling’s rock-influenced style of playing the violin, combined with her dancing skills, makes for a captivating collection of videos. It helps that she partners with cinematographer Devin Graham for some jaw-dropping camera work, but there’s no question that Stirling’s kinetic style and positive attitude are the real attraction.

I only happened across her channel yesterday, but didn’t take much time to browse through her earlier material and get a sense of where she’s coming from. Online bios explain she’s been studying violin since she was 6, and spent years playing the instrument in the way we all think of it: solo or orchestral classical performance.  When she was 16, however, she started exploring how it could be used in hip hop and electronic music, and a unique musical act was born.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxIOUJ7by6U]

Like any current musician worth their salt, Stirling has an EP and some singles available on iTunes. She also competed on America’s Got Talent in 2010. There’s something to be said, however, for Stirling’s YouTube channel, because it allows you to not only queue up her songs, but take in her impressive dance moves. These include Stirling playing the violin while bending over backwards (limbo-style), or fiddling while standing in a ballerina-like pose on one foot.

On her channel, Stirling primarily posts videos for the original music she produces. She supplements these with videos for movie and video game medleys and occasional vlog-style glimpses into her life. It was actually through her most recent video, a Lord of the Rings medley shot in New Zealand (where else?), that I discovered her channel. I found it on one of my go-to movie news blogs, and I immediately had to share it with my followers. Check it out here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQiNVk_u0po]

As you can see from the Stirling videos I’ve embedded here, Devin Graham’s cinematography is a major draw. Graham is perhaps better known for the extreme sports videos he posts on the channel Devin Super Tramp, but the vibrant colours and sweeping shots he uses in his own videos are definitely on display in Stirling’s posts. It was interesting to see what Graham did with Stirling’s video “Shadows”, which had a more grounded feel, using light and shadows (and a bit of clever editing) very effectively.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGCsyshUU-A]

Admittedly, I’m already a fan of violin music, whether it’s in classical or Celtic arrangements. I come from a Canadian province (Newfoundland and Labrador) that’s fairly well-known for its fiddle music. One of the province’s biggest musical exports at the moment, the rock group Hey Rosetta!, uses the fiddle much the way Lindsey Stirling does, so my appreciation of Stirling’s work perhaps came easier than it would for some.

I doubt, though, that anyone could really find fault with Stirling’s work. After all, her sunny disposition in pretty much every video she posts is kind of infectious – it’s clear she absolutely loves performing, and she transfers that joy to the viewer. I highly recommend checking out Lindsey Stirling’s channel and subscribing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to hear that Lord of the Rings medley again…

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What do you think of Lindsey Stirling? Does she have a future as a mainstream star? Or is her act too “niche” to do well outside of YouTube? Sound off in the comments section below. If you’re new to my YouTuber Spotlight series, you can catch up on the other stars I’ve profiled by following these links:

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Rhett and Link | Julien Neel (Trudbol) | EpicMealTime & FPSRussia | Philip DeFranco

Freddie Wong | Toby TurnerJulian Smith | MysteryGuitarMan

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