Combining her love of classical music with EDM, hip-hop, and dubstep, Lindsey Stirling is a violinist, dancer, and performance artist best known for her YouTube videos and for competing on the fifth season of America's Got Talent in 2010. Born in Santa Ana, California, Stirling grew up in Arizona and began studying classical violin at the age of five. In her teens, she played in a rock band called Stomp on Melvin and competed in the Junior Miss competition, winning the Arizona Junior Miss title. An active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she studied therapeutic recreation at Brigham Young University.
In 2010, Stirling appeared as the "hip-hop violinist" on NBC's America's Got Talent, in which she showcased her unique performance style of dancing and playing the violin at the same time, accompanied by electronic backing tracks. After finishing in the quarter-finals of the show, Stirling began focusing more on filming videos for her YouTube channel. Working with director/cinematographer Devin Graham, she produced a series of videos featuring her in beautiful, evocative outdoor settings or with striking visual accompaniment; one of her videos, "Crystallize," ended up being viewed more than 100 million times. She released her self-titled debut album of all-original material in 2012 through her own Lindseystomp label. The album sold over 200,000 copies in the United States as an independent release, and was certified gold in Germany (selling over 100,000 copies there), Austria, and Switzerland.
After successful concert tours throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Russia, Stirling signed a deal with Lady Gaga's management firm, Atom Factory, and reissued her eponymous debut album through Universal Music. In 2013, Stirling released a pair of collaborative EPs -- one with Tyler Ward, the other with Ward and Chester See. Her sophomore long-player, Shatter Me, arrived the following year. It was her first to include collaborations with other vocalists (Lizzy Hale, Dia Frampton), and it debuted at number two on the album charts. Along with taking part in several new collaborations (Jesse J, Pentatonix, Joy Enriquez), Stirling devoted much of 2014 and early 2015 to a massive world tour that took her across North America, through Europe, and into Oceania. In June of 2015 she announced the completion of an autobiography, The Only Pirate at the Party, and began work on a new album. Brave Enough, a partially fan-funded production, included the single "Arena." The album featured appearances from Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, Christian rapper Lecrae, Christina Perri, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Her collaboration with the latter, "Something Wild," was chosen as the theme song to the Disney reboot of Pete's Dragon, which was released in 2016. ~ Matt Collar