How Lindsey Stirling Became an Internet Sensation
In 2013, Lindsey Stirling joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for the annual Pioneer Day Concerts. She was performing as a guest artist in the 21,000-seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she had been to watch performances in previous years. She was a star in her own right, but before the huge arenas, millions of YouTube views, awards, and screaming fans at her sold out concerts, Lindsey Stirling was doing everything she could to make it in the music business, without much luck.
In speaking about the years before being discovered on YouTube, Stirling said, “I tried all kinds of things; I drove to Vegas and handed out resumes, and I was on America’s Got Talent. I did all different kinds of things to kind of try to get through different doors and I got told ‘no, no, no’ over and over again. [People said] ‘What you do is not marketable.’ I never got callbacks from anything so finally I just decided to start doing it by myself. It’s amazing that YouTube is a world where there are millions of people and there’s an audience for anything."
In a Fox News interview from 2012 Stirling marveled, “It was amazing to me that there was an audience for this very random thing. Since I wanted to keep it fun, I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to do specifically what I love, even though it’s crazy, weird and random.’ So it really shocked me when there was an audience for that.”
She does indeed have “an audience”—she has almost 6 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, and her videos have been viewed over 800 million times. In an interview with AOL Sessions, Stirling explained how she was always told she was “too different” to succeed. “I just think it’s so ironic that the very reason I was told I would never succeed is the reason that I am able to live my dreams,” she mused.
All of this was done without the help of a record label. Stirling told AOL Sessions, “You can put your art out there for everyone to see with the click of a mouse. . . . YouTube was my path to success. I was so excited that here was finally a place where I didn’t have to wait for someone else to tell me, ‘You’re ready, O.K., you’re good enough, you fit in.’ I didn’t have to change anything about who I was and I could do it myself, my own way and I could do it now—I didn’t have to wait.”
During the 2013 rehearsals for the Pioneer Day Concert with the Choir, Stirling was interviewed by award-winning news anchor Ruth Todd during a Google Hangout.
Todd asked her how she got started and gained so many millions of views on YouTube. Stirling said, “I remember I was writing this music and I was really excited to get it out there, but in my mind I was like, ‘Who’s ever going to hear it?’ It’s been amazing; I started working with other people on YouTube and their fans started jumping over. I got posted on some really huge blogs and before I knew it I just kind of realized, ‘Oh my gosh, I think this is going to be my life.’ It blows my mind sometimes when I actually think about it.”
Todd also asked Stirling if it ever crossed her mind that one day she would be one of the artists featured with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a 21,000-seat arena. Stirling answered, “I have to say I’m a big dreamer and I remember just hearing them and feeling the power; they’re so incredible. [I remember] just thinking, ‘To be able to play with them would be absolutely incredible as a musician.’ I never thought it would actually happen though, even though it was like a little wish list. . . . I couldn’t be more excited!”
Watch Lindsey Stirling and the Choir perform a medley of "Scotland, the Brave/Simple Gifts."