Monday, February 24, 2014

Lindsey Stirling and the Classical Crossover Artist

Lindsey Stirling is a up and coming violinist who first achieved fame when she made her debut appearance on season five of America's Got Talent back in 2010. She called herself a "hip hop violinist" and during her performances would dance while simultaneously playing her violin. Unfortunately, she only made it to the quarter-finals and was eliminated from the competition. Shortly after, she was approached by Devin Graham, a cinematographer, who was interested in making a music video from her own song, "Spontaneous Me" and posting it to YouTube. Years later, that same video, now on Stirling's own YouTube channel, has over 15 million views. Lindsey Stirling is what some people call a "classical crossover" artist. What that means is that she is considered a classical musicians who has become so popular that she has ranked on popular music charts. Other examples of this kind of artist are the Three Tenors and Mario Lanza. Regardless, Stirling is also well known amongst the electronic and (more specifically) the dubstep musical community. She has worked Shaun Barrowes of the Decemberists, The Piano Guys, John Legend, the Pentatonix, Alex Boyé, and even the Salt Lake Pops Orchestra on various musical works. In December of 2012, Stirling's music video for her song "Crystallize" was the No. 8 most viewed video having over 42 million views. Her only studio album Lindsey Stirling (originally realsed in September 2012 ad re-released this past October) peaked at No. 23 on the US Billboard 200 as well as hitting No. 1 on both the US Classical and US Dance charts. Stirling has played everything from "Silent Night" to "Thrift Shop" and shows no discrimination to any genre that she comes across.

In this day and age, it is difficult for a classical artist to compete with the likes of pop artists. Go up to anyone you find on the street asking them first who Katy Perry is, and then who Joshua Bell is. I guarantee that more people will know the first artist better then the second. Of course, this should really come to no surprise. The average classical artists does not see the same media exposure that most pop artists receive. What ends up happening is that the classical artists end up performing for just a niche market while the pop artists enjoys the attention of the majority. There is however a small majority of classical artists that get comparable attention; these are the classical crossover artists such as Lindsey Stirling. By playing music and becoming associated with many genres and markets, Stirling has gotten a lot more exposure than most classical artists her same age. She has diversified her talents and it has paid off for her immensely. She is a classical musician, performance artist, dancer, and composer that has expanded to more than just the classical repertory. She has not only survived be is flourishing in the environment she has created for herself. Aspiring artists in any genre of music would do well to take notice of this genre mixture. The more diverse an artist can be, the higher the chances they have of succeeding in the musical world.


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