Piers Morgan, way back in 2010 had said the world didn’t need an electronic violinist when Lindsey Stirling competed on “America’s Got Talent”. And just six years later, how wrong could he be! Most of this is due to Lindsey Stirling’s own efforts fighting the odds, putting forth her art and letting the audiences to decide for themselves. Lindsey has since gone on to become one of the world’s biggest YouTube sensations with over 7.7 million subscribers, 1.2 billion views, legions of fans and also a brand new book about her life – “The Only Pirate at the Party”.
In an interview with Glamour.com, Lindsey Stirling discusses overcoming rejection and depression, on her path to stardom. She recalled the intense scrutiny she faced after being harshly criticized on national television during her time on “America’s Got Talent”, and explained how she recovered from public humiliation that was meted on her.
Cindi Leive (Glamour.com): In 2010 you got to the quarterfinals of America’s Got Talent, but Piers Morgan said, and I quote, that your music sounded like “rats being strangled.” What would you say to him now?
Lindsey Stirling: I feel like I owe a lot to Piers Morgan! He gave me a reason to fight. After I had a good cry and pulled myself up by my bootstraps, that hurt and embarrassment turned into extreme motivation—”I’m gonna prove them wrong!”
CL: And you went from America’s Got Talent to YouTube—how’d that happen?
LS: I was very unfamiliar with YouTube; I thought it was the place for dog and cat videos. Then [videographer] Devin Graham opened me up to this world, and I just knew it was what I was going to do. It was like, “I don’t have to wait for someone else to invest in me. I can invest in myself.” And Devin taught me that people don’t just get viral videos; there is a strategy. One of the tools was doing things that are searchable, like cover songs. Because “Lindsey Stirling violin” was not!
CL: It was a big moment for you when you went from YouTube to live performances. Tell me about your first show, at Webster Hall in New York City.
LS: That night still gives me chills. I thought, People will click on my links, but will they purchase a ticket and go somewhere to see me? I was terrified no one would come. And the crowd started chanting, “Lindsey! Lindsey!” That night changed my life.
CL: And now you’re the highest-paid woman on YouTube.
LS: When I saw that, I was like, Really? It was almost a slight identity crisis. It’s so weird to think of myself as this businesswoman. I watched my parents be very frugal; I always knew I’d marry a poor man and we’d scrimp and save together. I still put myself on a budget, but I don’t see myself as this rich woman. I like to imagine that I’m that girl I always thought I would be.
The biggest lesson to take away from Stirling, the self-made star known for her ability to play the violin and dance, often at the same time, is pretty simple. You don’t need others to believe in you, as long as you believe in yourself.
Watch Lindsey Stirling’s “Dying For You”, her EDM collaboration with Otto Knows