23 year-old BYU student, Lindsey Stirling took the entertainment world by storm four years ago when she auditioned for NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Stirling wowed the judges with her amazing ability to rock out on the violin to popular hip-hop and rock songs, all while dancing and being lifted up on stage. Stirling’s talent carried her all the way to the quarter finals of NBC’s 5th season in 2010. Since then, Stirling has had incredible success as a professional violinist. Before we get into her incredible success stories, let’s go back to the beginning of her transformation: the Arizona Junior Miss Pageant, 2005.
Although Stirling says she has been playing violin practically her entire life, the Junior Miss Pageant was where she says she got her start as a solo artist. In a youtube video, Stirling recounts that she was named Arizona’s Junior Miss, and then continued on to national’s where she won the talent category of the program. Check out the piece she wrote and performed for the pageant below:
Any time there is a change to be made you have to realize that there is somewhere else you want to be, I wanted basically to be happy. That was far more important than being the skinniest girl in the room.
Stirling hasn’t always been the upbeat person viewers see her as in all of her performances and videos. Stirling has had to overcome many challenges in life. One such struggle was growing up in a family struggled financially. She never let her family’s financial state keep her from following her dreams, and even looks at it as a blessing, not wanting to trade her humble upbringing for anything else in the world. Later, as she began her college career, Stirling struggled with anorexia and her self-worth. As she struggled with anorexia, Stirling relied on her friends and family and eventually came to re-learn of Heavenly Father’s love for her. In her “I’m a Mormon” video, Stirling says:
The only thing that actually lasts is those core beliefs that I have worth. And for me that comes from knowing that I am a Daughter of God.
Aside from personal challenges, Stirling has also had professional setbacks. As a contestant on America’s Got Talent, the judges told her that she could never make it as a performer because she isn’t marketable enough. One judge told her that she didn’t have the talent enough to dance around and play violin at the same time. Once again, Stirling didn’t let that hold her back. Here is her audition for America’s talent show:
This idea that you can express yourself for who you are has completely changed the way my music is because it’s what I wanted to be before, and now I feel like it’s what I truly am.
Stirling made it all the way to the quarter finals before she was voted off and had to say her goodbyes to the America’s Got Talent stage—but her violin career didn’t stop there. Since competing on the show, Stirling has released an album, has begun touring the country, and has even teamed up with celebrities like John Legend. This youtube sensation has received an incredible response to every video she posts. Her music video, “Crystallize,” finished as the eighth-most watched youtube video in 2012, and her cover with with Pentatonix, of Imagine Dragon’s song, “Radioactive,” won Response of the Year in the first YouTube Music Awards in 2013.
From competing on pageant stages to performing with some of the biggest acts in music today, Stirling has not lost sight of her faith in Jesus Christ and still holds true to her values. On her comeuntochrist.org profile, Stirling expresses her gratitidue for the values she has and the clean atmosphere she keeps on her tour bus and back stage.
The music industry has a set of standards of its own. I cannot count the number of times I have been offered drugs backstage, or invited to participate in a number of other activities that could harm me or others. I live the gospel every day as I make decisions that help me stay true to my standards.
Watch more of her videos at youtube.com page.