Violinist, singer, dancer, and songwriter Lindsey Stirling skyrocketed to fame thanks to her appearance on America’s Got Talent and her popular YouTube channel, but she's earned a devoted fan base through her consistent musical output and unique style that blends classical, pop, and sometimes even Middle Eastern melodic sensibilities with dubstep and electronic rhythmic components.
Her habit of incorporating dance into performances and music videos has also help set her apart and make her something of an unrivaled force in pop music since her debut album in 2012. One of her most popular releases is 2017’s Warmer in the Winter, a collection of both original Christmas songs and covers that range from traditional to contemporary. The album was so successful that a deluxe edition followed this year, and Stirling embarked on a tour in support of it. That tour brings her to the Johnny Mercer Theater on Thurs., Dec. 20.
Stirling’s unique musical style is something she landed on through the musical discovery and an ambition to write songs early in her career.
“I pull from a lot of inspirations,” she tells Connect. “I feel like I have quite a diverse palette. People ask, ‘Who were your influences growing up?’ and I feel like it was everything from classical music to John Williams’ Greatest Hits album. But I also loved Evanescence so much, so I have this really diverse palette of people that musically inspired me.”
As a college student, Stirling discovered the music of Skrillex - which proved to be a game changer for the young writer.
“I was like, ‘What is this electronic sound?’ and it was dubstep that I was falling in love with. That was the time that I was starting to write, so I tried to figure out how I could infuse my sound with this dubstep thing that was happening,” she says.
As for her Christmas album, Stirling explains that it was something she’d wanted to do for a long time.
“I love the nostalgia that [Christmas music] creates, and that it created for my childhood,” she says.
“I think that’s one thing that I love so much about Christmas music. Even more so than any other music, I think it helps hold on to memories. They’re like little time capsules of memories and traditions, so it was such a cool thought that I could possibly add my own flare to it. Then maybe my Christmas album would become a little time capsule to help people create and hold on to memories.”
Another important aspect of recording Warmer in the Winter was the chance for Stirling to let her faith come through a bit more in the material.
“A Christmas album is a really great opportunity to express faith through music,” she says.
“I do that through a lot of my music, but a lot of it’s instrumental and it’s more like implied faith. But when you’re performing songs like ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ or ‘What Child Is This’ - those songs are about Jesus Christ. It’s about my faith, and about my faith in angels. Not everybody that makes Christmas music feels that way about it. Sometimes it’s just a Christmas album because that’s what people want, but Christmas is a very faith-oriented time for me.”
Stirling has a hard time picking a favorite Christmas song, but says she’s narrowed it down to two that are particularly important to her for a number of reasons.
“One of my favorites is ‘Carol of the Bells.’ If I had written any of these classics, that would’ve been the one I’d have written. It’s in my wheelhouse - I love the minor key, and I love that it’s moody but epic,” she says. “But then also, with the spiritual side of me, I think ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ is my favorite in that way.”
The tour behind Warmer in the Winter, Stirling says, has been garnering great feedback from fans since it began - thanks to its balance of fun, nostalgia, and moving displays of faith.
“The feedback I’ve seen from the show is that it brings people to laughter, and there’s smiling and joy,” she says.
“People also say, though, that they find themselves crying in the middle of it. So it’s really is a very dynamic show, but that was my goal - to create a wide variety of emotions that people experience in that hour and 45 minutes in my little world. It’s been a lot of fun, and I think it’s brought the Christmas spirit to people everywhere we’ve been.”