Scanning the lineup of N.Y.C.’s Panorama Festival, set to take place this weekend, reveals the usual big-tent reunions (LCD Soundsystem), huge, hook-oriented pop (Sia) and subwoofer-shredding bassheads (Major Lazer).
Oh, and one Mormon violinist who combines classical music, dubstep and contemporary dance.
That would be Lindsey Stirling, whose unique, boundary-crossing music has made her a hit with the YouTube set. (And Europe – more on that later.)
Stirling grew up in Arizona and started learning violin at the age of 5. Eventually she became Junior Miss Arizona and won the Spirit Award in the America’s Junior Miss Finals. In 2010, she made it to the quarterfinals of America’s Got Talent, but faced harsh feedback from judges Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne.
Stirling has written about how hurt she was by the experience, but it opened new doors, too. Cinematographer Devin Graham got in contact with her, and the pair began making videos together, which they posted to Stirling’s YouTube channel.
Fast-forward a few years and Stirling’s YouTube channel has 8.2 million subscribers, who’ve viewed her videos a collective 1.4 billion times. Her video for “Crystallize” was the eighth-most-watched clip of 2012, and her cover version of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (performed with Pentatonix) took home the response of the year award in the first YouTube Music Awards in 2013. Her self-titled debut album went platinum in Europe, and her second, Shatter Me, won top dance/electronic album at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.
Now, she’s touring behind her third album Brave Enough, which is due out Aug. 19. Catch her at Panorama or at one of her other stops this summer.