If you’ve never heard of Lindsey Stirling before, you’re certainly in for a treat.
This spunky girl is a musician like no other. She’s a dancing violinist, meaning she literally dances while she plays the violin. And we’re not talking classical music here, no–her violin chords are mixed with dubstep, electronic beats, and sometimes vocals or other instruments to give it a uniquely contemporary flair.
You might recognize her from America’s Got Talent. Back in 2010, she made it to quarter finals but was told by Piers Morgan that her music sounded like rats being strangled, and that was her last performance on the show. In the cover booklet for her first, self-titled CD, she wrote, “Piers Morgan (bless his heart). When I was on America’s Got Talent, Piers’ comment humiliated me and made me wonder if I’d ever have the nerve to step on another stage. My self-confidence was briefly shattered, but my desire to prove him wrong gave me the motivation to believe in myself again. Overcoming that experience made me stronger than ever.”
Boy, was she right. She came back stronger than ever and proved that there was indeed a place for a dancing, hip-hop violinist in the world. Her latest album, Shatter Me, hit #1 on iTunes and she’s toured all over the world. From a music standpoint, she’s got lots of talent and has done something very impressive with said talent.
Her success even prompted a response from Piers Morgan (kudos to him!).
I first came across her music maybe a year ago, when I found her Zelda Medley cover on YouTube. I loved the sound of it (I’ve always loved violins and appreciate me some good LoZ tunes) but remember thinking at the time, The dancing’s a little much though, isn’t it? But then I started sniffing around some of her other stuff, namely her cover of the Skyrim theme, and then of a Lord of the Rings medley, and began to adore the beauty and passion of what she was doing.
I then took a chance listening to her original stuff, and by the time Shatter Me came out, I was hooked. Then, when I found out she was including Canada in her tour, I knew I had to go.
When I walked through the venue door, I was just a girl inspired by some awesome violin music. When I walked out, I was a girl inspired by the story of an incredible hero.
The concert was incredible. The anticipation was nearly unbearable as I thought of the inspiring songs I was about to hear, and when the first violin chord cut through the air, the waterworks began. Just seconds into the concert and there were already tears rolling down my cheeks.
There is something about the violin that just speaks to me. The tenor, the sound, the emotion–it’s the instrument of my soul and I certainly felt it that night. There were certain songs I just couldn’t bear without crying. They had such an impact on me, reverberating straight through, that I felt my own emotions–my gladness, desire, sorrow, and hope–rising and falling with the voice of the violin.
I’m pretty sure Lindsey’s violin was equipped with my heartstrings, because that’s certainly what it felt like.
But as I said–it wasn’t the music that ultimately inspired me, it was the story.
She definitely told a story that was personal, heartbreaking, and uplifting, all at once. One part I loved was when she showed home videos of herself as a little girl, getting told by her dad, “Next time you touch that, you lose your fingers”. It was a piece of her heart that she shared and it reflected her own ability to love who she is and where she came from.
Then there was Take Flight (listen to it while you read the paragraphs below).
I have no words that can accurately describe how much this song means to me. I actually hadn’t heard it before the concert (I didn’t buy her albums till after), but hearing it live for the first time was just amazing. The song itself, of course, is wonderful, but the story is what got me most.
The original inspiration for the song was from a young fan of Lindsey’s, still in elementary school, who had been bullied so badly, he tried to commit suicide. Heartbroken that someone could feel so hopeless, she was compelled to write Take Flight to try to express that, though the road can at times be dark and we can’t even see the light at the end of it, there are people around us–friends, family, even a god–who are there to help. On her tour, she happened to meet a young boy named Hunter who had been diagnosed with cancer and one month left to live. Her show would be the last he ever saw, but he was full of optimism, hoping to leave his last marks of positivity in the lives around him with what time he had left.
At that point, I was truly sobbing. That story isn’t just the elementary boy’s story, or Hunter’s story, or Lindsey’s story–it’s my story too. I endured despair when my best friend moved away, when I thought I’d never write a good story ever again, when I’d had a bad day that was just a little too much to handle. I’ve fought to find hope, to keep myself fighting, to take flight and soar. This story is everyone’s story.
And that wasn’t even the last story. The last story (and the last song before the encore) was the message behind Shatter Me.
Shatter Me is all about breaking free from the expectations of others. Letting your inner spirit out to shine for the world, even if it isn’t what the world thinks it wants. It’s about being tired of lying to yourself, tired of just going through the motions, tired of your glass prison. Even if you shatter, you won’t be destroyed. You’ll just give your inner light that vital chance to escape. After all, our greatest strength can come from our moments of greatest weakness.
This is another story that touches me deeply. It’s hard to be who I am sometimes, to be a girl who believes in magic, who believes inanimate objects have a spirit, who believes in a beauty that not many others may see. But it’s hard too to be a dancing violinist, isn’t it?, and look at how well Lindsey’s done. When it comes down to it, we all have those unique, burning spirits inside us that we keep secret because we fear what the world would do with them. If only we can find the courage to shatter and be free.
Lindsey Stirling is truly my hero. She is the first non-fictional hero of mine whom I don’t know personally, because I feel like I do know her personally just from the stories she’s told. She is an enormous inspiration to me, in the music she plays and the life she lives, and I hope that I may one day find my courage and take flight the same way she has.
So that was what completed my weekend of tears, and as you can see, it was a good weekend indeed. I am so happy to have such great heroes, the fictional Hiccup and the true Lindsey Stirling, who inspire me to such lengths that I feel the desire to embrace my soul and live my life fully. And I sincerely hope that you have found the same in your lives.
I will leave you will one last piece of Lindsey inspiration. I hope it speaks to you as it did to me :) And I 100% recommend you go look up more of Lindsey’s work. She’s an incredible human being.
Do you have a hero who inspires you to find yourself?
May your soul be full of music, hope, and courage.